Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sooners Without Borders travels to Dominican Republic

Did you know that the favorite pastime of choice in the Dominican Republic is playing dominoes? Who knew? But this is just one of the many discoveries made by 10 students and 3 adults who worked in the Dominican Republic over the winter break, Jan. 3-12. Students from the service organization, Sooners Without Borders, worked with Guanin Community, a local non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping Haitian (and native) immigrant families live better lives in the D.R.

Students cutting water slots in casing for new water well.
Guanin works in the village of La Piedra, as well as surrounding villages, about an hour east of the capital city of Santo Domingo. Their biggest ministry is a Community Center in La Piedra which houses and manages a day care center, clinic, and playground. The current enrollment is 157 students, all at or below the age of 5, including infants. Several college groups are regular collaborators with Guanin, including Juniata College (Pennsylvania) and the University of Connecticut.

Water flows from the new well at about 16 1/2 gallons per minute.
The students were divided into three groups. One group would help build concrete block walls around the site for a new dormitory. Another group would help convert old tires and caliche dirt into playground structures. A third group would put in a water well at a nearby village. The water well went quickly, as the borehole had already been drilled. The finished well and pump produced over 16 gallons per minute. But the other two projects were hard and slow. The nights were pleasant, but the days were hot and sometimes long.
Students help build a concrete block wall on the perimeter of the Center's grounds.
On their last day at La Piedra, they played with the many smiling, screaming children. They sang songs with them, played games, and just gave them a little bit of love. The Sooners were proud of the work they did, and of the love they received from their host families, villagers, and friends of Guanin. Hopefully this is the first trip of many to the beautiful island.
The SWB group poses in front of newly-placed tires, a memory of our time with Guanin Community.

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