These past two weeks have been incredible! There have been quite a few groups coming through Casa Pastoral, however I spent most of my time with a youth Rotary club from Michigan and a ROW team from Tennessee. The bateys we visit continue to endure harsher and harsher living standards, but seem to thrive and become happier people through togetherness in their communities.
The youth Rotary club was quite interesting to say the least. An eclectic gathering of individuals from all over Michigan came together to provide service for a single project; water filtration. They spent the majority of the week installing single home filtration systems that were made from plastics and PVC, called Hydraid bio-filters. The system itself houses three layers, one layer of a coarse rock, one layer of a fine rock, and a layer of sand over it all. As water passes through it’s entirety, a bio-layer begins to form on the top layer of sediment. The bio-layer catches 97% of the water-borne bacteria, and a few drops of chlorine neutralize the last three percent. It takes the system twenty minutes to sift through egregiously dirty water to “Dasani” drinking quality.
As efficient and simple to install as these Hydraid systems are, there seems to be a single outstanding problem; the user consistently uses the same bucket for both the dirty water and the clean water. As we went from home to home in the bateys performing yearly check-ins with the systems, we asked the residents to show us exactly how they used their Hydraid filter on any given day. All but one consumer used a dirty receptacle to collect clean water from the spigot on the filter. Although this can be corrected by re-teaching the correct technique, there simply isn’t enough manpower to send out to the villages here.
The ROW teams that come into La Romana usually impress me with politeness and common courtesy. The team from Murfreesboro, Tennessee was no exception to this rule. A team of thirty-five individuals powered through the week, doing both construction and Vacation Bible School. The church at La Lechoza has come along beautifully in the past weeks, and that’s partially in thanks to this teams wonderful can-do attitude about their team mentality. We hung the enormous wooden doors inside the gates, finished the tiling, sanded and stained the new pews, and put an incredibly large dent in the ten foot concrete wall that’s being erected around the perimeter. The people of the barrio in La Lechoza will soon have both a beautiful place to continue worship, and a safe area away from their lean-to’s in times of horrible storms.
God’s love is truly at work here in La Romana. Although there can sometimes be a language barrier between the teams and the locals, the language of God’s Almighty love is overpowering. I continually experience people coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ, gathering under His roof, and acting through the people here to create a place of righteousness in a place of utter despair. Dios es Amor. God is Love.