Report from the Dominican Republic

A Report from the Dominican Republic
By Julius Ariail
Posted October 11, 2013

The green check marks show the two houses that our team worked on in June 2013. This photograph was taken in October 2013 while standing on the roof of the church and school building in the village.

A big “Thank You” to everyone who supported my recent trip to the Dominican Republic with prayers and messages of encouragement. I was there from September 28th until October 8th, and worked in five locations to photograph for the website and other publications of the Dominican Development Group and to visit our friends in El Pedregal, where our June 2013 mission team worked on two houses in addition to knitting/crocheting classes and other projects. In addition to visiting El Pedregal, another highlight was traveling with Ana Maria Quiroz, the medical clinic administrator in El Pedregal, from El Pedregal to the city of San Pedro de Macorís on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic to join up with a medical mission team from South Carolina to work in a small village, Angelina, that was very similar to our mission location of El Pedregal. Another highlight was accompanying the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, on his annual pastoral visitation to a congregation in the village of Las Carreras near the city of Azua. This congregation has been meeting for decades in a back yard or inside a member’s home since they do not have a permanent church building. Two congregations in the Diocese of Georgia, St. Patrick’s Albany and St. Anne’s Tifton, have adopted this project for their mission work, and are in the process of building a church in Las Carreras. After I photographed the Bishop’s visitation, I was able to photograph the current state of their construction site and record a message from Padre Jesús Mosquea, the vicar of this congregation, to send back to the Albany and Tifton congregations for use in planning their 2014 mission trips to this location.

I will report more in detail later about those other projects that I worked on during this trip. For now, I would like to post quickly some before-and-after photographs from the two houses that we worked on in June 2013. I was able to visit both families who live in these houses, and am pleased to be able to report that they are doing well and are extremely happy with their reconstructed houses and are so, so grateful for our work there. One of the family members wrote a message of thanks for me to bring back home, excerpted below:

I am very happy with my house. I mean my family too. Ever will I be grateful to you and the other Americans for helping me to make it my dream…. I hope that you visit here [again, so I can] be with you. I wish that everybody is well, with much love. [Note: original message in Spanish; English translation above is by a teenager, a member of this household]

Below is a sequence of before-and-after photographs of our two project houses. For the sake of convenience, I am going to refer to the two houses by the first names of the homemakers, Moriama and Luz:

Moraima's house, at the start of our mission trip in June 2013.

Moraima's house, October 2013.

The interior of Moraima's house in June 2013, looking from the front 'living room' area toward the back.

The interior of Moriama's house, October 2013.

One side of Moraima's house, June 2013.

One side of Moraima's house, October 2013.

Luz's house in June 2013, at the start of our mission trip.

Luz's house in October 2013.

A bedroom in Luz's house in June 2013.

That same room in Luz's house, October 2013.

Moraima's family members who were at home during my visit in October 2013.

Luz's family members who were at home during my visit in October 2013.

When our team left El Pedregal on June 21, another 30-member mission team from Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport, Connecticut, arrived in a few days to continue these two projects and prepare the houses for occupancy by the two families. The photographs I have posted here reflect the results of the work of both teams. The Connecticut team also worked on three more houses in the community and conducted Vacation Bible School for the children.

More updates to come, including posted albums of these and other photographs.