Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We Had a Great Summer!

We had a great summer here in Munoz! We had four volunteers who were here the entire summer, as well as several others who came and went. They have now all left and we hope they can return again one day!

The summer was great, but there were some great challenges for the community as well. In June, a fire broke out in one of the three bateyes and burnt 62 houses to the ground. We were able to distribute many donations our wonderful supporters and volunteers gave to help out families in this time of extra need. The government has shared plans to rebuild but nothing has commenced yet. In conjunction with Sewing My Future run by Julie Baker, we received a donation from The Dewe Foundation to make school uniforms for the fire victims and are working on that currently. 

This summer was a bit of a crazy time for all Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, as there was something going on by the Ministry of Interior Policy and Foreign Affairs called Regularization. June 17th marked the deadline where people without proper documentation were able to register their identity, and then given 45 more days to submit certain required documents such as a background check, commercial reference letters, notary acts, etc. Those who did this were to receive a residency card, and those who did not were to be deported. We were able to reserve some spots for community members during the last few days as many put it off to the last minute and were standing in line and sleeping outside of the office for days, trying to get a chance to register.

This summer, one volunteer, Kiki, especially immersed herself and engaged with the Munoz community. In her free time after camp, she took kids to the beach, led them in recycling activities, and just shared her time with them, getting to know them and their families. 

Ashley and Kayla led a dance class two days a week for the girls. Ballet, tap, and jazz is actually a
foreign form of dance where the norm in the batey is provocative dirty dancing tied to the high percentage of involvement in prostitution. They even rounded up donated tap shoes. 

We ran two weeks of English immersion camp during the month of July. Simultaneously we ran a five week camp in the other community where we work called Padre Granero. AB conducted research on the success and methodology of the camp. You can view stats from her research on the camp program's blog in the very near future. 

We also had a visit from the Berryville Baptist Rascals who put on an awesome puppet show one Friday morning! The kids and community members thoroughly enjoyed it!

We also had a sad loss this summer. Jimmy, one of our artists and a skilled electrician who had just done some work for us in the school in Padre Granero passed away in a motorcycle accident in July. His wife Miranda is also an active artist in the shop. They have two children ages 5 and 3. If you would like to support his wife as she really needs it during this time, please consider purchasing one of her bracelets

One last bit of news is that the cacao project is developing a bit! The Northeastern University students who joined us over Spring Break have done some fundraising toward the project and plan to come back during Spring Break 2016 to get started planting some seedlings! 
Joseph Jostine and Caitlin

School began on August 17th. We had a great two weeks of teacher training before the start of school. We are happy to welcome Joseph Jostine as our new director. 

Stay tuned for more updates to come!