The Kitchen Build has been a success. In two weeks, A combined effort of Dominicans and Americans worked incredibly hard to finish the kitchen structure. We donated $8000 for the structure, $320 to fix the road below the community center, and an anonymous donor gave $3000 for interior equipment and furnishings. When the second group left, the kitchen only needed the interior paint and a couple exterior finishes. We built walls, a roof, and moved tons of dirt, rock, block, sand, and cement. Sometimes moving a pile of dirt from one place to another just to move it back. Every person on the crew worked to the best of their ability, and we couldn’t of had a better team for the job!
I spoke with Eladio today and the truck with two more loads of rock is scheduled for Saturday. The rebar for the windows and doors has been installed. The grout on the floor was finished, and the final touches have been completed on the outside. The interior painting will be completed this weekend, the paint is already there. He will give me an update next week on the status of what kitchen equipment was purchased and what is still needed. I’m guessing Eladio will need 3-4 thousand more to purchase the remaining equipment. Note: ACES commitment was to the building itself.
Besides the building project we donated a computer, projector and learning software, and a load of Spanish books for the kids in the Angosto School! Our team did crafts, played games, danced, made play dough, and painted finger nails. We eat with our local Dominican friends every day. One special night we split into small groups and had dinner in different homes. This gave us an opportunity to get more personal and find out what the community people thought they need. In the group my family was in we asked (what is the biggest problem the people in Angosto face?) The answer was unanimous: The Road.
The community center is currently serving the community in many ways, but there is always more that can be done. We have a great opportunity to continue working in an area with reliable contacts and positive outcomes. Families are being reunited, feuds are being reconciled, Prostitution of children has decreased, Children have a safe place to play, learn, and feel loved.
Some future project ideas for Angosto are: Finish funding the kitchen equipment, help fund and build a basketball court, help fund and fix the dangerous road, Help local farmers with farming issues, education on health and sexual education, More books, Medical/dental outreach, Paint homes or make repairs (El Toro’s home behind the community center).
I heard many times that our group was different than any other group that has been to Angosto. The community receives a few groups a year that come for a day or two to visit the area. The groups may run a medical outreach or play with the kids. They visit the school and the community center and leave. We stayed in the community, we ate, worked and laughed with them. We were equals. Our interpreter Joel told me he has interpreted for many medical groups but never been part of the group. He was always just the interpreter. Eladio told me we were the first group to work together with him and the Angosto Kids Club without the direct help of the Doulos Discovery school. The locals respected us as equals not as people just passing through. The impression and memories of the ACES/Angosto team are invaluable. We will never know how many lives we touched in those two weeks.