Surprise: travelling with a lot of luggage and passing through customs with no problems into the Dominican Republic is possible on a public holiday, I discovered. It seemed that all the customs officers were absent when I arrived on this day, therefore I was able to walk through with my five suitcases without problems.
This trip was characterised completely by the construction of the new school for the Colegio Asher. For this reason, Erik and Hassan from the stichting Colour4kids travelled with me to Sosúa in November. Colour4kids wants to make a contribution to the construction.
During the heaviest rainfall in Sosúa for 50 years, I had to cross the main street that had been transformed into a wide swirling river. I reached the other side on the arm of a tall young boy and up to my waist in the reddish-brown muddy water with pieces of wood floating in it, and I realised that without his help I would not have managed this. Judith and Roberto’s shop where we had our meeting was completely flooded. Soaked through, I returned to the Casa Marina hotel, where I am always so warmly and royally received and have now become part of their ‘family’.
Through customs with all the fabrics in one piece!
That was indeed rather tense, but thanks to the watchful eye of an airport employee, all the humanitarian goods in my five suitcases came through intact, without being so-called "confiscated". Thanks to Arkefly, I could take this much extra luggage free of charge. There I was again then, back in my beloved Sosúa, where I am always so royally received in the hotel Casa Marina that it's just like coming home. And so to work.
I knew that local elections were being held in the Dominican Republic, but apparently the exam period for schools had been shifted from June to May and very few people knew this well in advance. From Thursday to Tuesday, the school buildings were being used for the elections, banks were closed, ATM cash dispensers were empty, shops closed, and an alcohol prohibition applied in cafés and restaurants.
However, everything went off quietly and afterwards there were parades of cars honking loudly with lots of music and enthusiastic people waving flags.
The schools could not be visited during the last week because of the exams.