Why my community kind of rocks

1 09 2010

A few weeks ago there was a horrible motorcycle-car crash in our one-road town, leaving the 20 year old brother of my host sister-in-law nearly dead.   He broke both his legs, one in two places and a rib.  They rushed him to the nearest reputable hospital, about an hour and a half away, half of which down rough mountain roads.  He has been in the ‘intensive care’ ever since, has undergone 3 surgeries, but somehow is recovering incredibly fast.  My host sister, Patricia, and her family are by no means well-off, so a hospital that will probably be around $100,000RD ($3000US) is just devastating.  In two weeks, the family and community has rallied and raised I think over $50,000RD.  One weekend we did a ‘Peaje,’ blocking the street with a rope and making people give us at least $5RD to pass.  They were there all day, and raised over $20,000RD from rich weekenders who visit our area and our own community members.  $20,000RD is a ton of money here, and I can’t say I see an equivalent happening in the US.

Saturday, we put on a fiesta, and I am not sure of the final count but it raged for over 8 hours so I think the family made out well!  The next morning, hang-overs and all, Patricia’s family and close friends, and me as the gringa made a surprise visit to Dahyam in the hospital for his birthday.  Transport was provided in the form of a agriculture truck in which we all piled.  We shared snacks, refreshments, and sweat bouncing down the mountain and on to La Vega where we surprised Dayham in intensive care with a big cake and about 30 people.  (Dominican families are large!).  Sure, Dominican hospitals are scarily mal-equipped, some Dominican lady angry at the presence of our large group near her sick mother made a huge Dominican-like scene far larger than our giant but respectful group, and one of our pick-ups broke down 3 times trying to make it back up the mountain; but in the end I am above all impressed by the love and initiative of the family and support of the community.

As volunteers, we rag on the culture a lot venting our frustrations, but the reaction of my community to this tragic accident speaks hugely for the people here and I thought I should share (maybe mostly to remind myself of the positive when de vez en cuando frustrations make me feel otherwise about my community and the country ;)).




3 responses

2 09 2010
Berry Forde

Happy Birthday Jen-Bug … Good story and happy you shared it with “us”. Your mom is bringing a birthday card to you from randy hoagie and me … hope your host family does something special for you on your birthday … look forward to hearing how they celebrate birthdays.

Can’t wait to see everyone at Emily and Peter’s wedding in Evergreen … May is a long ways away but it will go fast like always …

love you lots,

berry randy and hoagie bun

3 09 2010
Candy Coffman

Happy Birthday Jen!!! I hope you are able to celebrate American style! Cake and all! Take CAre…
Love, cc

11 10 2010

Jen, Hope you and your mom are having a great time!!!!

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