Posted on 03/28/13 5:59 pm by Cody Williams
Posted on 03/28/13 5:56 pm by Cody Williams
Well it has been a few weeks now since we returned from the Dominican Republic and I figured it was time that I post some extended photo galleries from the trip. You can watch for them to come along shortly.
Also, many of you may not have known that we had an artist with us on the trip! Barry Phillips created several watercolor paintings during the trip and I will be posting those as well.
Posted on 03/14/13 10:46 pm by Cody Williams
Hopefully the additional pictures I was able to upload yesterday made up for no other post! I was able to find free wifi last night, which allowed me to upload the pictures. Days have been pretty long and taxing during this project and I elected for an extra hour of sleep over providing an update! :)
Yesterday we were able to finish all of the latrines in the first community and bring the families together afterwards to teach them about hand washing and present them with the items we had purchased. I am told it was a very moving event, but I was back at the construction site loading the parts for the latrines in the second community. I will try to get someone else that was there to write a post tomorrow.
After getting the truck loaded, we headed to the second community where we started delivering the pieces at each site. The bus met us there and the rest of the team helped finish the distribution. Once we were finished it was time to call it a day and head home to get ready for dinner.
That night we joined our host club, the Rotary Club of Santiago Monumental, for their meeting and dinner. We were able to see a presentation of many of the projects they are involved with or have recently completed. I was very impressed with all that they do for their community. Our team was able to present on the project and our progress and experiences thus far. Overall, it was a great meeting and a time of fellowship with all of our hosts.
Today we jumped right into working in the next community and were able to complete all but a few of the sixteen latrines before breaking for lunch. This community is very spread out compared to the last, which made it a little more challenging, but fortunately many of the Rotarians from our host club were present to help move us around to locations.
While most of the teams headed back to wrap up the latrines in this community a few went to the community center to meet with the families and facilitate the hand washing lessons and present the gifts. I headed back to load up for the third community that we will be working in tomorrow. I will try to include today's presentation in a post tomorrow as well.
We were able to load the final ten latrines and head into the last community today. This time the bus didn't make the commute across the city to help unload, but the families and community members jumped in to assist. Come to find out the rest of the team made it home about an hour and a half before us for a much needed rest!
We ended the night with a group dinner consisting of our team and all of our host families! Our host families have been so amazing to us and I think many of us may miss them most of all when we leave.
Below is a link to a local newspaper article as well:
Posted on 03/12/13 11:05 pm by Cody Williams
Posted on 03/12/13 11:03 pm by Cody Williams
Today we started off working to finish the remaining walls so that we would be able to head into the first community after lunch. With a goal in mind we quickly wrapped up the building and loaded up the truck with 18 sets of parts for the latrines. After breaking for lunch, we piled in the bus and made our way to the first community.
No sooner had we parked, than we were surrounded by eager recipients of the latrines. Each more than willing to help unload and carry the materials to the sites. While we all took instruction on assembly of the first latrine, many of the locals watched on as well. Once we broke into our teams and started assembling the latrines, we each had additional labor that we were happy to accept.
Many of the young men in the community had watched how we assembled the first latrine and though they knew very little English, it was amazing how they knew exactly what needed to be done. You could tell how excited they were to be receiving the latrines and took pride in helping to assemble them.
We were able to finish installing six of the latrines today and meet many of the families that would be benefiting from them. Tomorrow we will be returning to the same community to finish installing the other twelve latrines. We will also be delivering the various gifts and supplies that we purchased for each family and attempt at teaching them the importance of proper hand washing.
Once we left the site and headed back into the city, we had to quickly make our way to each host house to wash and dress as tonight we were guests of the Rotary Club of Santiago Gurabito for their meeting. After enjoying a delicious traditional Dominican dinner, we listened to a presentation from a group of college students from Purdue University. They are here on spring break working on a feasibility study for a community water project.
Our team was also asked to speak on our project and we shared a song that we had worked on in Spanish. From there, the meeting broke out into sing and dance when the members of the club wanted to perform for us. There was even an accordion! We had a great time meeting the Rotarians from this club and were thankful for them inviting us to their meeting.
After another long and full day, we all headed back to our host families to get some rest before tomorrow!
Posted on 03/11/13 10:57 pm by Cody Williams
Posted on 03/11/13 10:50 pm by Cody Williams
Today was our first work day and we started it off at a construction site run by one of the local Rotarians. He had setup a shop for this project so that we would be able to construct the walls of the latrines all at once and then transport them into the communities.
Quickly after arriving we were setting up work stations so that we could start building the back walls of the latrines. We had four teams building and one cutting wood and i'll have to say I was amazed at how four groups could all have unique approaches to building the same walls from a template. Nonetheless, we ended up with forty-four walls that turned out great!
While most of us were constructing, we also sent a few from our group out to purchase the items that we will be delivering to the families that are receiving the latrines. So far we have been able to purchase mosquito nets, soap, balls and toilet paper. Now we just have to find books and a few other goods before meeting the families.
Back at the construction site, we had started on building the side walls. These went much faster and easier than the back walls. That could have been because there was less to the them, but I'd like to think it is because we had become experts on latrine walls by this point. We ended up running low on supplies to finish the sides, so we transitioned into building the fronts and doors at that point.
After just the first day of construction we seem to be running ahead of schedule. If all goes well, tomorrow we will be able to finish the sides and fronts before lunch and then head into the first community to start assembling the final product. We will also get to talk with the families and teach them about the importance of hand washing after using the latrine.
We have another long day ahead of us tomorrow, so just a few pictures coming next and then it is off to bed!
Posted on 03/10/13 9:26 pm by Cody Williams
Posted on 03/10/13 9:06 pm by Cody Williams
Posted on 03/10/13 8:56 pm by Cody Williams
We all arrived safely last night around 9 pm and were greeted by many of our Rotarian hosts. We were quickly shuttled to one of our host's house where we were able to meet many of the members from the Santiago Monumental Rotary club.
This morning we started off bright and early with a tour of Santiago. Our first visit was to the monument, where we learned about the history of the Dominican Republic and their journey towards independence. Next we visited Centro Leon, where we learned about the country's cultural background.
After our tour, we headed further out in the city to a farm where we had lunch, learned about a hand washing campaign the club is undergoing and tested our skills at dominoes. I, for one, was excited to see that a "barbecue" here does in fact include pork!
From here we all headed home with our respective host families to have dinner and get some rest before we report for duty bright and early tomorrow morning.
Posted on 03/08/13 12:33 pm by Cody Williams
District 7710 Rotary Dominican Republic Latrine Project