Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dominican School

Every day I am more and more convicted about our opportunities to help others. The more places I visit, the more I experience, the more I learn about other cultures, I realize how MUCH we have here in Canada. How blessed we are, even when we think we have it "rough". We have been talking a lot about this with our children and trying to find hands-on ways to share other people. And it certainly doesn't have to always be in another country. There are lots of ways to help right here. But, I also think it's important for us to experience other cultures (especially since we are a multi-cultural family) and to keep in mind that other people do not have the luxuries we have, let alone basic necessities.

Besides keeping up-to-date on the orphanage needs in Alyssa's area, our family has also decided to help out a local school in Dominican Republic. When Chris and I decided to take a vacation to DR last year, we decided to see who we could find to show us what "real" life is like for Dominicans, not just the luxury resort life! Through various contacts we found Punta Cana Mike - he is originally from Ontario and has been living in Domincian for some time. He loves to help the children and families as much as he can.

When we met up with Mike last year, we asked him to take us to a school that could really use some help. Those of us who traveled down on the trip took suitcases filled with school supplies and medicines. Chris and I visited a village school and immediately knew we wanted to do more for them. We were able to visit the village, meet some of the students and their families and see the school first hand.

The school is non-profit - every teacher and helper is a volunteer! There is a morning school and an afternoon school so more children can attend. They have plastered the outside walls of the schools with learning materials so the adults in the community can learn too! We loved this! We loved the passion the village had for their children and for learning, even if the conditions were very, very bare! The school had just recently gotten running water but there is no electricity. There are 3 small classrooms. But the children LOVE to attend. They can go to this school even though they can't afford school uniforms. (In DR, students have to have shoes and a uniform to attend school)

When Chris and I visited the village we noticed how little there was there. Very tiny (shack size) store, some huts, rusted out buses that were made into homes, a small church and the school. There were many children around but really nothing for them to do. We thought it would be so fun for them to build a playground - not just as something to do for the school but something for the WHOLE community. A place where kids could go together and socialize, where parents could take their children and play, a place for teens to hang out....The school is right in the center of the community so if children are playing there, the adults can see them from their homes while they work.

We are heading back down to visit in April and are hoping to get things going with the playground! We are using our Annual Kids Carnival this year to raise money for this playground. I am also using part of my commission from Silpada to raise money. I can't wait to see this done for the children in this community! They are going to love it!

This is the school - I'm with Punta Cana Mike and he is telling me all about the school and how great a playground would be there!

This is the spot we want to build the playground. The community is all around the school . The locals are more than happy to build the playground themselves if we can purchase everything that is needed. I love their commitment and passion for their families!

One of the classrooms in the school.

One of the precious, amazing village kids. He was too cute! I couldn't resist a kiss!

This is a "bus village" located just beside the school - many children and their families live in these buses as they have no other home.