Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Brain food needed

Barrio Blanco childrenAround thirty children between the age of three and six sit on a circle painted on the concrete floor of the little school in Barrio Blanco. They are singing a song while their teacher is clapping her hands to keep the rhythm. Today all of the kids seem happy and focused. That’s not always the case explains Danilsi who has been teaching in the school since it was built in 2012. “It happens quite often that some kids come to school without having had anything to eat and then it’s hard for them to concentrate.”

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A heart for Barrio Blanco

Cooperation is key in Providing OpportunityMore than twenty years ago Ron Zauner came to Cabarete for the first time with a few friends to windsurf. They had rented out the top two floors of a condominium complex close to where Janet’s is now, which had a Jacuzzi on the top floor. That first evening while living it up in the Jacuzzi, Ron noticed a number of shacks not too far away in the darkness. The next morning he went out to investigate with his camera.

 

 

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Hole in the housing market

Chilling on your own piece of paradiseCabarete, being the sunny, sporty, vibrant and fun place that it is, attracts a lot of visitors. Every year, a non-negligible number of these people fall in love with the place and end up staying, happily adding to the growing ranks of the widely diverse expat community.

All these people of course need a place to stay and although some are happy to rent, a lot of people want to buy. And anyone who has had a look at current listings for sale in the display window of one of the many real estate agents in town will have noticed that there are many refurbished and new apartments for sale, but very few houses.

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Last choice of books today

A young boy choosing a book at the first book fair organized in December 2014Today the final 2015 bookfair hosted by both the DREAM project and My Very Own Library will take place at The DREAM Education Center in Cabarete. So far, the book fair program has reached over 2.000 students who have selected seven new books applicable to their age range for free in two previous book fairs. Today they will choose the last three, which will make for an exciting day. Students have been really enthusiastic about having their own books at home and improvements have been noted all round.

 

 

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The story of the Mirabal sisters

The Mirabal sistersThe Dominican Republic has a rich history and part of that history has been shaped by the famous Mirabal sisters, who grew up in the Trujillo era. Trujillo, who effectively ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until 1961, either as elected president or unelected military strongman under figurehead presidents, is widely recognized as a ruthless dictator, with a very bloody track record of killing any opponents to his power as well as the well-known Parsley Massacre. To maintain his hold on power Trujillo uses a secret police force (the Military Intelligence Service, or SIM) to monitor and silence opponents at home and abroad.

 

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Celebrating those that gave us life

I love mum mugOn 31 May Mother’s Day will be celebrated throughout the Dominican Republic and for a lot of mothers this day will mean one of the few days in the year that they’ll get off from cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids and all those other things mothers around here do.

It’s normal for mothers to also be given something on that day but a number of families can’t afford any presents, no matter how small. That is why many schools and churches around the country organize an event for Mother’s Day so that mothers get at least something.

 

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Hope through music

Learning how to play the recorderIt’s Saturday morning and twenty five children aged eight to 16 are concentrating on getting the correct notes out of their recorders, the typical instrument used to teach kids around the world their first introduction to music. Their teacher, Jefry Gerardo Casimiro Dominguez, who has played in several Philharmonic Orchestras and has won the yearly Instituto de Cultura y Arte contest on several occasions, smiles encouragingly.

Since opening the doors of its cultural center in February, FEDUJAZZ has been organizing music initiation classes for about fifty children from poor Dominican neighborhoods around Cabarete, and the children are loving it.








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Ceramic water filters to the rescue

Water filters to the rescueEight years ago the villagers of Bayacanes, a small little mountain village not far from Jarabacoa, were solely dependent on river water as their drinkable water source. Skinny children with bloated bellies indicated parasites and malnutrition, and a quick look at the chemical composition of the river water highlighted the various water quality problems.

Then, AquaPure, a non-profit organization that makes and sells ceramic water filters at cost price, showed up and gradually got the whole community to adopt their water filters. Now, eight year later, children are of average to above average height and the community is healthy. They still drink river water but everyone to the youngest child included knows that they should only drink it after it has been filtered.

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