Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
41Trip End Apr 06, 2008
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How is everyone doing? I hope this finds everyone healthy and happy. I had a great visit with Mom and Dad, despite the fact that their trip happened to coincide with Tropical Storm Noel. We were in my campo a few days longer than planned due to being on Peace Corps lockdown, but luckily my part of the island was not one of the hard-hit areas. While in my site they got a chance to see some of the stoves and water filters, learn to play dominoes, and spend time with my host family. We finally made it to the beach for a few days of rest and relaxation before they had to take off. We saw a lot of storm footage on the news and many places in the south and western parts of the country were devastated. People lost their homes, their crops for the year, everything. I once heard the saying that poverty is living without a safety net. Imagine if you lost your home and most/all of your belongings in a flood and had no insurance coverage on any of it . . . you would be at ground zero and have to rebuild everything all over again with no resources. In addition, crops being wiped out means that many people will have a hard time feeding their families and/or lose their principal source of income. So although I feel lucky that my town did not suffer, I feel so badly for all of the people who lost so much.
On a lighter note, I have some good news on the project front. The stoves are going well and we have 10 done so far, or 25% of our total!! I made a little stove-o-meter and taped it to my wall so it gives me great satisfaction to fill in the bars and watch them inch ever closer to the top. I wrote a Peace Corps partnership grant to get funds to make a few more stoves than we originally planned and to cover the costs of our existing stoves, since the prices of cement and cement block continue to rise, and I just found out that it was accepted. A Peace Corps partnership allows friends and family from home - namely, all of YOU - to donate to volunteer projects. The information is posted on the Peace Corps website for you to find out more and/or make a donation to the project. The catch is, if I don't meet my goal and get ALL of the money, I don't get ANY of the money!! All donations are tax deductible and 100% of the money goes to fund the project in my community. So, I am asking all of you to give it some thought and, if you are able, make a donation! Any amount, small or large, is greatly appreciated. If you are unable to donate at this time but you know anyone else who may be interested, please pass along the information to them. You can copy and paste the following address into your browser, or go to www.peacecorps.gov, click on "Donors" then on "Donate to Volunteer Projects" then "Caribbean" to link to my donation site.
Thank you in advance for your donations. You can rest assured that they are going to a good cause and you are making one Peace Corps volunteer a happy girl.
I also found out that the Rotary Club will be able to donate 15 more water filters to my community, brining the total up to 45. I am excited because there were more families who wanted to participate than we had filters for, so in this round I will be able to install filters for all of the families who originally signed up for the project, plus the two local schools. I am letting my Domincan counterpart agency manage and organize the second phase of the project since they learned the process in the first phase, so I am excited to turn them loose and let them take responsibility for the project from start to finish.
So, all is well here in the DR. I am looking forward to coming home at Christmas and catching up with people and relaxing. Then when I come back down here in January I am in the home stretch! Take care of yourselves, and stay in touch!