An update on the first trip for the Batey Foundation in 2013:
I recently returned from my second trip to the Dominican Republic with the Batey Foundation and I am already planning for my next trip! The ten day trip solidified my dedication to the cause of the Batey Foundation – to help raise the standard of living for the people of bateyes. Our small group of seven from the States, coupled with local volunteers from Friends Around the World and folks from Batey San Luis worked on the finishing touches of the community center. We spent our days moving supplies, mixing cement and smoothing a fine layer of cement over the exposed cement blocks on the second floor. I love this type of manual labor because the gratification is instant – you can see the work you complete at the end of the day and the building actually looks better!
What had the greatest impact on me was the town meeting we held on our last day in the Batey. We walked around the batey in the morning and invited families to attend a late afternoon meeting. During the meeting, while their children were being read to by volunteers inside the community center, the parents voiced their needs to us. They shared with us their vision of the community center and what type of services they would like to see being offered to the community. It was hearing the needs of the people of San Luis, voiced by people themselves, that gave me hope and encouragement that this center will be used by the people it is being built for. Ensuring that these needs (technical training, educational assistance with homework, music and art classes) are met in the near future is what will keep me coming back to volunteer with Batey Foundation.
For more pictures from this trip check out our web gallery here.