Reflecting back to March 2 in Sosua…….one month ago that seems incredibly distant. There’s always a “re-entry” phase after a mission trip; this time the extra layers of quarantine and global health anxiety have delayed that process. I know we are all dealing with anxiety in some way, just wanted to share a snapshot of our trip for now, along with heartfelt prayers for anyone reading this.
March 2 was our 2nd day in a row of rain, and our first day for scheduled projects in the schools. We were full of anticipation to see the students in Bombita in the morning; in spite of the rain, a good number of students came to school. We applied fluoride treatments for all the students, then the younger classes enjoyed our art/anatomy lesson while the older students participated in puberty health discussions.
As the rain continued, we realized classes in Los Castillos would be cancelled for the afternoon. Many of these students live in an area where flooding is a regular threat and as a result, the children are kept home for obvious safety reasons. The team was able to visit the Los Castillos school and church, which allowed us to brainstorm about our clinic to be held there the following day. It was disappointing to realize we would miss the opportunity to spend time with those students, yet also sobering to realize the challenges of everyday life for these families. We have experienced rain during most of our trips, however this week had more total downfall than in all our previous trips combined. There was a day (later in the week) where the homes directly across from our hotel were flooded, along with the entrance to the hotel.
Please scroll through the pictures below from March 2, 2020. Stay tuned for more detail about our trip from team member, Mark Seifert!
It was an incredible privilege to host my dear friend for the first time since we met in 2008. After so many visits to her home country, this was a great opportunity to share new experiences. If you met Angelica during her visit, please share any reflections.
Thanks to our guest blogger--Demarise Abbett! Dios te bendiga!
During November 2019, a friend of Sisters Village from Sosua came to visit Indiana. She stayed for a week and shared with many people here, the work being done in her home country, the Domincan Republic. We sat in the kitchen of the Huge household, sipping tea. It was enlightening to sit across from Barb and Angelica. Barb is a family friend and mentor of mine and founder of Sisters Village. Angelica is a leader in her community as a physical therapist and director of a free health center. The two connected in 2008 on Barb’s first trip to Sosua.
As we sat and talked she shared with us bits and pieces of her journey. As a physical therapy student, upon meeting Barb, she sought out mentorship in the field. She described wanting a mentor because she knew there was more to learn outside of the classroom. She discussed what it is like in a third world country where not only is access to medical treatment limited for the people, but resources are also limited for the medical professionals there. When Barb visits, the two collaborate on workshops for the professional development of the native physical therapists there. The topics they have focused on so far are pregnancy, pelvic floor dysfunction, postural back pain, and bone health.
We talked about what motivates her as a physical therapist and a director of the health center. She said, “it works and it’s worth it”. She feels it is important to teach people about how to take care of their bodies because one’s body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit”. In her work she has the opportunity to help many families, specifically mothers and children. She said that when she is able to help, it “goes farther than the life of a child and it changes the family”.
We also discussed the role of education in her life. She talked about how for many Dominican women, the expectation is to possibly finish high school and get married. But she feels that it is okay to want more education in addition to getting married and having a family. She emphasized the importance of women learning together. This seems fitting because that is a core value for Sisters Village, the process of being able to learn together, “aprendemos juntos”. We strive to learn together across cultures and languages, from medical education and what our bodies need, to our faith and what our souls need.
Demarise J. Abbett
BA Marian University 2015
November 2019 Update!! Sewing Machine Purchase!!
(Slightly complicated post; clear evidence that God’s plan is better than mine! Hang in there as you read)
At our Silent Auction (May 2018) we had very generous donations towards the purchase of sewing machines in the DR. This small purchase can truly create an unending ripple of change and empowerment in the communities we serve. I am thrilled to report that a Sewing Machine is allowing 10 boys in a homeless shelter to attend school. Just imagine the future opportunities being opened up for these boys! Let me give you the back story about this process, which I couldn’t have predicted, and it was way beyond what I had in mind!
In 2008, Dan and I went to the Dominican Republic for our first mission trip. We were so blessed to meet John and Melissa Hanley, and their young daughter Kate, who were the on the ground missionaries for New Missions. They are a wonderful family, very dedicated servants and inspiring in their commitment to the people of the DR. They had a vision to open a children’s home, which God turned into reality for them. Their ministry has grown to serve homeless kids in a second location; this shelter is in the first town in Haiti once you cross the border from the DR. There is a marketplace on the border and boys as young as 11 come here to work, usually escaping abusive home situations. John and Melissa are able to provide employment for locals as they care for these young people. Their story is remarkable, please check out their website if you need some motivation! www.godleadsus.com
Next chapter: The house parent at the border location took a sewing course at a technical school when he started work at the shelter, showing great vision and initiative. Attending school in the DR and Haiti is impossible without a uniform, and a month ago John and Melissa shared that they were in need of a sewing machine. Sisters Village had money in that designated fund from our 2018 Silent Auction!! Jurgens, the house Dad, went to work quickly and made uniforms for 10 boys. Great picture here of 8 of those boys who started school in September! The potential for these young lives positively exploded from this series of events. The donors to the sewing machine fund received this information first, along with deep gratitude for trusting in Gods plan and provision for the donations. He knew those boys would be the recipients of that generosity….what a blessing!
Our 2020 team is deep in preparation and you can help us make a difference! We value your continued support in prayer, in sharing the story of Sisters Village and in donations of any amount. Stay tuned for more updates….Dios te bendiga! 💜💜💜
First Trip to the DR 2008
Barb Settles Huge - Founder and President
Dan Huge- Advisory Council Chair