In July of 2011, the mission team was present for the dedication of a high volume water filtration system, installed in the church in the village of Esperanza in San Pedro de Macoris. The water is sold at cost so that this service can be sustainably provided to the community for years to come.
In much of the Dominican Republic, people do not have access to affordable clean water. So, when they're thirsty, they do what anyone would do: they drink the water that looks clean but is actually contaminated with bacteria and parasites. The parasites in the water can cause malnutrition, which inhibits the development of infants and children and generally decreases the body's ability to fight off illness-- not to mention being a disgusting and painful infection!
The impact of these parasites is widespread: sickness lessens the value of educational time (if a child goes to school) and it inhibits the ability of adults to be productive to their full potential in their community.
We continue to provide parasite treatment medications to the families of those who come to the medical clinics, looking forward to the day when water-borne illnesses are a thing of the past.
For many Dominicans, public school is free. However, many poor children born outside of hospital did not receive birth certificates, and therefore have no proof of Dominican citizenship. Because of this, they, along with Haitian immigrants, are denied access to public education.
Church-sponsored schools, such as the one in Esperanza, seeks to serve these undocumented citizens and immigrants. For several years now, our American mission partners have provided funding for these schools. In particular, donors provide meals for the students at the school in Esperanza all year.
The gifts of many generous individuals have provided full scholarships for students in engineering, dentistry, teaching, and medicine. The Dominicans who received this support were already in service to their community, but have now pledged to use their education to help others be educated as well. In this way, we hope to foster the growth of educated community servants who are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and lack of education.