Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feb 12/11

     Oh my! It has been a while since I last made a post. My life has been a whirlwind what with the return of one brother from Afghanistan on Dec 4 and the engagement of the other brother that same night, holiday mania and getting ready for my most recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Nope, not your typical resort vacation although we were housed at Casa de Campo near the city of La Romana.
    My Rotary district had partnered with the Rotary Club of La Romana Incorporado in a clean water project so 13 of us traveled there to help install water filters in the bateys. A batey is a village out in the sugar cane fields where the Haitian sugar cane cutters are housed by Central Romana, the sugar company. The filters consist of a large blue pail, two layers of gravel, a layer of sand and a layer of biologicals at the top that kill of pathogenic bacteria.

Here I am post-installation of a filter in one of the homes with the mother of the house, her son and Wascar, one of the young men who work with the project in La Romana. Most times, the water being used for drinking and bathing at the bateys is piped from a nearby river with no treatment whatsoever. Diarrhea and skin infections are not uncommon as a result and it has been found that these filters significantly reduce the incidence of these maladies.
    When not installing filters, my time was taken up with the children of the bateys. I uploaded 837 pictures upon my return and probably 600 of the pictures are of the children like these three little amigas who held my hand while we walked around when they were not making funny faces at my camera!

The weather was amazing in the DR, especially compared to the snowstorms that were battering the East Coast while I was away. Having a tan made shoveling my driveway a little more bearable when I came home, but only just a little!