Max McEvoy ’15 and Maddie Moon’ 16 provide a recap of their day and reflect on society and government in the Dominican Republic.
7:00 Wake up
8:00 Get on the bus but wait for Gral (Sheryl) and Jose for 30 minutes
8:30 Leave hotel and stock up some chicken for lunch
8:45 Arrive on site
8:50 Group leaders (Jackson and Kaitlyn) tell us the plans for the day, which are as follows: begin making the structure for roof and fill holes with concrete and rocks
Charito and her friends start preparing lunch
12:30 Lunch: Rice and sweet peas and chicken
3:30 After laying blocks and filling holes, we are done for the day
3:40 Stop by multiple Cambiando Vidas houses built by Deerfield students in previous years
4:15 Arrive back at hotel
While visiting the various Cambiando Vidas projects, José took us to a small community that did not have any running water. The people had to go down to the river if they ever needed water. José showed us a water reservoir system that was not yet completed. The purpose of the reservoir would be to gather and pump water out to the 108 homes that were in the area. Unfortunately José still needs funding in order to finish the job. But José did tell us that the government had been planning to make a similar structure, albeit 20 years ago. He also said that he purposefully made the walls of the reservoir very rough and bumpy so that politicians could not post their advertisements.
Although we have been here for just two full days, the disparity of wealth is vast, and those at the top are government officials. We as a group have found it strange that the governor’s house in San Juan is just a mile from the three-room house at our worksite that is home to four families. On the highway we noticed banners for the 2016 presidential election; all of the candidates were white. We have witnessed firsthand the social inequality of the Dominican Republic. The average citizen is not represented in the government, and the government only seems to care about its own pocket.
This being said, we are all struck by the joyful exuberance of the Dominicans. From ages 10-59, all of them have worked tirelessly to build the house and prepare the food. The kids are often playing games or bringing us to the mango trees, and the adults are joking with us and themselves (Kaitlyn – VACA, Maddie – MOOSE).
We are working in tight knit community and these few days have been special.