Trip report may/June 2013
From my splendid, trusted base, the Casa Marina hotel in Sosúa, I visited our projects once more and this time managed to keep my feet dry, with one exception! In the mountains, where I was then, it often rains, whereas the sun shines in Sosúa.
Judith Terrero, from the Colegio Asher, told me that the Ministry of Education in the DR has recognised the evening classes of her Colegio Asher, which also means that the Ministry will pay the salary for one teacher for these evening classes with effect from August 2013.
This is the first step in the right direction, and should mean that more could follow in the future
However, during the past seven years I have now learned not to expect too much immediately. Although the political party that is now in power wants to do more for education, after elections another party will suddenly stop all help again. Including the evening classes, the number of students will increase to almost 400 in the coming years, where we started with 60 pupils in 2006. Fortunately there is also help from Canada that enables all this to be funded.
Our new “project Camu” is being launched. In the poverty-stricken village of Camu, more than fifteen minutes drive from Sosúa¸ our foundation is giving some 25 underprivileged children all they need to be able to go to school. This project costs approximately 1,000 euros a year and we are aiming to maintain this for six years. We still badly need the help of the Sosua Kids Ass. from Sosúa. Of that extra money we gave to that organisation for this, those 25 children will soon be able to go and get the required school uniforms, shoes, rucksacks and school materials with the vouchers from the Sosua Kids Ass. I visited Camu twice with Dave from that organisation. Our contact person on site there is the Dominican lady Ms. Belgica.
We expect to be able to provide more information from her in the future about the school results and personal circumstances of our 'Camu children'.
Together with Tania, the Dominican lady who also helped us in November, we visited the Tesoro de Dios orphanage again and took them school supplies and T shirts. This orphanage will now receive larger-scale help from Canada, so we decided to look for another orphanage that needs more help. Tania found “Hogar Luisa Ortea”, an orphanage with some 30 girls that is located next to the school with the same name. The building looked clean and well maintained, and the management appears to be well organised.
Tania, her girl friend Digna and I brought a lot of school things and food. I badly needed the help from these strong and sociable ladies. The Colour4kids foundation had also given us some money for this and time and again it seems that apart from anything else, it is particularly food that tops the wish list of an orphanage. One hot meal a day is already something that is really not always possible for many Dominican people. It has happened to me several times already that I was talking at the end of the day to someone in the DR who had still not eaten anything all day. You don’t always notice that immediately. Nowadays, if I suspect it, I ask about it and then suggest going to get something. However there is an art to doing this without injuring someone's pride. But practice makes perfect ….