Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our neighborhood in Santo Domingo

 It is easy to see what our neighborhood used to look like. It was a neighborhood of nice single family homes. Over the last 18 months a good number of them have been sold and torn down to make room for apartment buildings
This is the lot just several doors east of our apartment building. It was a single family home until just lately. How it is a hugh hole in the ground. There will be three apartment buildings built on this lot. Each building will be from 11 to 13 stories tall. They dig straight down 30 plus feet on the inside of the existing fence.
The trucks are lined up on our street to haul the coral rock and dirt away. It is mostly coral that has to be broken up and then loaded.

Once the hole is cleaned out a crew moves in to set up for the construction.
The cement pillars and then cement floors on each level go in.
Cranes often move in to help get the building materials to the top.
The walls consist of blocks laid  in place and then stuccoed over. 
Another view of a building under construction.

This lot was just a hole in the ground when we arrived and we have watched this building each step of  the way. It is now finished and ready for occupancy.

There are some large apartment buildings in Santo Domingo.
This apartment building is just across from the Casa de Huespedes next to the Temple. The Area Presidency and several of the non-native church employees live in this building.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

 When we arrived in the DR we left behind two feet of snow and bitter cold temperatures.  One of the first things we noticed was the the color of all the flowers along the roads and streets.

The bougainvillea that is a flowering bush at home grows into beautiful trees here.
This bush grows in almost every color possible...

the bright pink being the most common color and the most brilliant!

We didn't learn the name of this tree but we love the unusual spiked flowers that grow at the top of different branches
The "tulip tree" stayed in bloom for several weeks

the poinsettia tree doesn't just bloom at Christmas time, but seems to like the weather when it is a little cooler.

These trees looked like ordinary shade trees until they started to bloom and they were loaded with blossoms

I think the close up explains why we called it a Q-tip tree. 

          We learned a couple of  things about a banana tree: the fruit seems to grow upside down and there is one flower at the bottom of the fruit for the whole bunch of bananas.
    We weren't able to find a bunch of bananas that had the blossom open so we don't know if it opens more than shown here or not.

Of all the amazing trees, our favorite if the brilliant flamboyant

Up close it is amazing to see that the color for the tree is created by thousands of small beautiful flowers.
We took dozens of pictures of these trees...none of the photos did justice to the breathtaking scene around every corner.
We will miss all the color and beauty from every part of this country.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hospital visits with newborn kits

In March of 2012 the last of the newborn kits arrived in the DR via Jolona and Jim.  Grandma Toni had been busy since October of 2011 gathering supplies and sewing receiving blankets and little gowns to donate to new babies.  There were many willing helpers that donated pins, socks material, soap and diapers.
Counting the kits the Goodriches brought when they visited, there was a total of 176  kits  brought from Roosevelt! 

We visited the same hospital on both visits.  It is a maternity hospital in an older part of the city in the eastern part of Santo Domingo.  The cement was broken and patched and there wasn't a designated parking lot or place...we parked in whatever space we could find.
Elder Saint-Hilare(left), a temple worker, brought us to the hospital.  The floor tiles were broken and there were few lights.  All the corridors were dark and narrow.   We all left appreciating what we have a home.
As we went from room to room the head nurse would say don't leave her a kit, her baby died.  That happened in three different rooms.  We would go ahead and make sure the cccupants were presentable for the kids to visit.  If the patients wanted  a sheet for their bed they had to bring it with them, otherwise they laid on the plastic covered mattress.  They shared the bed with their baby.    We made our visit with the Goodriches on Christmas day. 
Everyone was happy to be photographed and were pleased to receive a bag of baby things.
To visit one wing of the hospital a gown needed to be worn.  Sister Saint-Hilare was the organizer of our trip and was very pleased to take us to the hospital.  She has started an organization in the DR to help new mothers and orphanages.          There were some rooms that she wouldn't let our grandkids go into because it was the area of high infection risk.
The mothers didnt stay long.  Many left on the same day. 
We were very grateful for the efforts of so many to touch a few lives and make just a little difference.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Beggers and Street Salesmen

Unless it is raining this fellow is in the same intersection every day on our way to work. He is very pleasent, looking for whatever anyone will give him.

Just down the street from our home we see this man most mornings. He has two prosthesis so he rolls up his pants in hope someone will feel sorry for him and give him a little something. We often give him a granola bar.

This fellow has lost his leg(s) and slides along at a busy intersection begging for whatever he can get.

This young man has a stub for one arm, so he has to show that off by taking it out of his shirt so people will feel sorry for him.   That is the MO of most beggars here.

She is on her way to try to sell these on the street to make a dime.

This fellow has a three wheeled bicycle loaded with sugarcane that he is selling in pieces ready to eat. These carts share the road with the traffic and drivers have learned to drive around them.

How about a pair of super sunglasses.  How do you like the "hair jewelry"? 

At busy intersections you can almost always buy a phone card to use as calling minutes for your phone or phone cords or phone cases.

Anyone for a little squash or avocado?
This gives a whole new meaning to 'sidewalk sale'.

Would you like a canteen made from the cows foot?
Save yourself a trip to the grociery store and buy bananas, platanos, batatas, yuca or 'fresh' eggs. Notice the scales to weigh your produce.  This is a common sight. If a man has a truck, he has a business on wheels.  

Elections in the Dominican Republic

There were two main candidates in the election of May 2012. One of the candidates was Hipolito Mejia, know as "Papa".  He had been president before a few years previous. 

The other main cnadidate was Danilo Medina.
Lots of the signs were huge but there were thousands of small ones everywhere!

In the weeks building up to the election there were campaign rallies with the streets loaded with people and cars painted  for each political party. The parties have colors so you know by the color of the cars and flags who they were supporting.

There wre literally hundreds if not thousands of cars painted in support of one candidate or another.
One afternoon coming home from church we passed a convoy of over 100 cars and trucks headed east on the freeway.

We happened to be in the street the day this political parade rally passed by.

The were all sorts of vehicles painted this case for Papa. 

This one looks a lot like a police car painted  with a canadates colors.

This is a Papa rally with Danilo signs visible in the background.
More Papa supporters with  another Danilo sign visible.  We weren't sure that we were going to be able to get through. 
The election was close with Danilo finally winning. We were glad it was finally finished and we could travel  around town without running into someone's rally.