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In January a group from FPC traveled to Dominican Republic. Here is their report and a photo of the group.
There must be an unwritten rule that no FPC mission trip is complete without at least one flat tire. We had three! Phil Hart, Penny Arnold, Mike Zold, Dick and I just returned late last night from the Dominican Republic where we finalized plans for a LWW water purification system installation and health and hygiene training.
The Dominican Republic is a land of many contrasts:
- Beautiful country side yet terrible roads
- Vibrant bustling cities and towns full of life and activity, yet many who suffer in extreme poverty
- Hard working people that have so very little, yet are so incredibly gracious and grateful to God for all of his blessings
We visited the rural community of Sabana Larga, or “ Long Plain”, The people of this community and surrounding area of approximately 300 families are known as the “ Forgotten People”. The area is dry and receives very little rainfall. Untreated river water is pumped into the community on a sporadic basis. When this water is not flowing, buckets and barrels are filled in the river about a ½ mile from the village and transported by motorcycle, horse cart, by foot or for those few with the means, by automobile.
We met with Victorino Rodriguez, the pastor of the community church, his wife Manuela, and their son Raphael, who operates a cheese factory with 24 employees. This family is the spiritual, social and economic heart of this small community. Together we prayed, we talked, we listened, we discussed what we believe to be God’s plan, we ate, we walked through a cow pasture to see a solar powered irrigation system when the van could go no further up the dirt road. We fixed flat tires. We tested the water. It tested positive for eColi. We visited the community health clinic where we learned they treat on average 5 children every day for water related illnesses: diarrhea, Typhoid, and worms.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. We all had reservations before this trip that this was the right place. Why had the Lord led us so far down that dusty gravel road into the DR interior so far from our homes in SC. When Raphael shared his vision and hope to uplift the community, when he expressed his deep gratitude at God’s wonders that delivered this team from so far away, we all knew we were in exactly the right place.
The water system will be solar powered. It will be capable of producing clean water for the community at a much more affordable cost than the commercially available bottled water and it will provide for those who cannot pay and deliver to those who cannot transport it themselves. The system will provide employment for up to 4 people to produce and distribute the water. The Water Committee will include Victorino, Raphael, the President of the Centro de Madres, or Mothers’ Center, and one or two other members of the community. Any excess funds generated will go back into the community to help provide medicine and other needs as assessed by the Committee.