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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Days 9 & 10 1 comment

Our Team:

Hello Canada,

Day 9 – Friday January 17th

Today was our final day in the Dominican Republic before going home tomorrow. Our morning started with breakfast with Mario as this was our last day to see him. After breakfast we went to go visit some of the Christian schools that Edu Deo sends their teams to. Our first one was at a school called Peña de Horeb in a town called Mojarra. This was the school that Bill, Lydia, and Jack worked at last year. We got a tour of the school and met some of the kids in the classrooms.

The second school we visited, Jericho, was in a batey (bateys were originally set up as little village for sugar cane workers to stay) called Fao. This school’s motto comes from Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” After our tour around the school, we were taken on a walk through the batey. We met the pastor of the Christian Reformed church there and we tried some sugar cane.

After stopping for Little Caesars for lunch we got back to the Mission Center to relax for a bit before going to Norma’s house for dinner. Norma is working for an organization through the government to connect the Christian schools and churches with the government. She told us her story about her work here in the Dominican as we ate dinner and had some lovely dessert.


Day 10 – Saturday January 18th

Today we are coming home from the Dominican. We started our morning off with breakfast at 8:30 and then our final meeting together as a group to discuss our week. We will be leaving the Mission Center around 2pm and boarding our plane at 8pm. See you soon, Canada!


-Espacio de Gracia Burlington HANDS Team 2020 

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Day 6-8 0 comments

Hello Canada,


Day 6 – Tuesday January 14th:

Today we once again painted the classrooms and we finally got to start putting on the yellow paint. All the classrooms have now been primed and are ready for paint. We once again were taken to Maria Laura, the principal of the school, mothers house for a wonderful lunch and coffee.

After work we were invited to Maria Laura’s house for dinner. She cooked us a beautiful dinner with a lot of yummy Dominican fixings. We got a demo on how to make fried yucca and were sure to write down the recipe. After dinner, we mingled and sang some worship songs together (in English and in Spanish). It was a great night of fellowship and music!


Day 7 – Wednesday January 15th:

Today was another rainy day, but we were able to make the most of it! Unfortunately, two of our team members had to stay at the Mission Center because they were both sick. But we made do without them. Many of the rooms got their first coat of yellow and the ceilings in 3 of the rooms were completed as well. Some of the team was busy hauling buckets of sand up from the road, onto the roof, and when the rain put a stop to that work, they joined the rest of the team inside and continued priming more of the hallway.

We had some fun with the children playing with some costume wigs and accessories, they had a blast! We also had lunch at the school this time, in order to cut out the travel time so we could get more work done. We were given a Dominican stew, Sancocho, it was delicious!

In the evening, we drove to Cinthia’s house for a wonderful dinner with her family. Cinthia is Bill’s goddaughter here in the Dominican. It was well worth the 45-minute drive to get there because the food was abundant and delicious! Everyone left with their bellies full.


Day 8 – Thursday January 16th.

Today was our last day working at Espacio de Gracia. Before work we were asked to go back to La Esperanza. When we got there Keila, the principal, gifted us some personal gifts for the work we’ve done there in the past. After a group photo, we said our goodbyes and were on our way to Espacio de Gracia.

When we got to Espacio de Gracia, we got to work as soon as we could. Shortly after getting started, we were called downstairs for some time with the kids and teachers and the students performed a special presentation for us, and we were given a going away present from the teachers. It was followed by hugs from almost all the students. (some even came around for second hugs!) At lunch we once again ate at the school and afterwards we got to enjoy a going away cake from a local baker, it was so good! After lunch we got right back to work and managed to finish painting yellow in almost every classroom and even put the finishing touches of grey on the drop ceiling in one classroom. We said our final goodbyes and headed back to the Mission Center for dinner and a night out to Carrefour for some snacks and frozen yogurt.


-Espacio de Gracia Burlington HANDS Team 2020 


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Monday, January 13, 2020

Day 3-5 1 comment

Day 3 – Saturday January 11th:

Today was our day off so we went down to the market to look around and buy souvenirs if we wanted. After going through the market, we went for a walk down the streets, through the famers market part. Unfortunately, during our time, one of our team members experienced their bag being stolen by a motorist that was targeting tourists in the area. Thankfully they were not harmed, the police arrived right away, and they filed a report.

After the market, we headed to Boca Chica, a beach about 45 minutes from the Mission Center, and had a late lunch on the beach. We went for a 35-minute walk along the beach from one end to the other and then we headed back to the Mission Center. When we arrived, we had a late dinner ready for us and then we relaxed before heading to bed.


Day 4 – Sunday January 12th:

This morning we headed to the church in the area and one of the Synergia employees preached for us in Spanish but also translated it into English for us. It was a neat experience!

After church we went downtown to the Colonial Zone and toured around Christopher Columbus’ “house” and other historical ruins. We came back home around 4:30 to shower and change. Then we went out for dinner on the beach at Adrian Tropical to give the cooks at the Mission Center the night off.


Day 5 – Monday January 13th:

Today we went back to work after a nice weekend off. But before heading to Espacio de Gracia, we went to visit a school on the way called La Esperanza. A few of our team members had worked at this school in the past. It was nice to see some familiar faces of children and teachers, who even recognized some of us.

We worked today until about 12:30 before stopping for lunch. Unfortunately, we had some rain again which delayed our work, but we ended up going for a nice walk around the village of La Pared once the rain stopped. When we got back to Espacio de Gracia, we got right back to work and ended up priming almost every wall and ceiling on the second floor and got almost all the blocks pulleyed up onto the roof and placed.

Tonight, after dinner we visited Guido, who runs the Mission Center, for coffee. We listened to a bit of his life story and about the work he is doing here in the Dominican. It was a very nice, relaxing evening.


 -Espacio de Gracia Burlington HANDS Team 2020 

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Day 1 & 2 1 comment

Hello Canada,

We made it! After a bit of a delay at the airport in Toronto, we landed in the DR at 2:00 on the 8th.


Day 1 – January 9th:

Today we were up bright and early for breakfast at the Mission Center and then after orientation with Mario, we were off to the worksite. We are working at a school, Espacio de Gracia, in La Pared de Haina, which is about a 15-minute drive every morning. We were greeted by students who sang us a welcome song. We were taken on a tour of the school and then we got to work. Our main focus for the day was getting primer put onto the walls and ceilings of the second floor of the school. Some of the team helped with carrying block as well. We left the school at about 4pm and came back to the Mission Center for a delicious dinner. After dinner we went out to the local superstore, Carrefour, to purchase some snacks, especially ice cream, for the week and finished with some yummy frozen yogurt. We ended our night with our devotion lead by Bill and then we were off to bed before another day of hard work.


Day 2 – January 10th:

This morning we visited Bienvenidos, an elementary school that is about 5 minutes away from Espacio de Gracia. Bill and Jack helped to build the roof on this school in the past. After a brief tour of the school, we were on our way back to Espacio de Gracia to continue our work. Today was another day of priming the walls and ceilings as floors were being poured from room to room. Blocks were taken to the roof via a makeshift pully system, as well as the sand to make the mortar. Our day was put on hold a few times due to inclement weather, but we still managed to complete priming 5 out of the 7 rooms. We left the worksite at around 4:30 and came home to shower and eat dinner. After dinner we decided to go for a nice 10-minute walk around the area we are staying in. Next thing you know, we were lost and it's pouring rain. A friendly police officer allowed us to come take shelter in his little station while we waited it out, and used Google Maps to find our way back to the Mission Center. Finally, after what ended up being a 45-minute walk, we made it back only to find out that we never put the ice cream from last night, into the freezer! Now we have soup! Our night ended with devotions/friendly discussion and then we killed a cockroach with the ice cream scooper (that we never got to use, that is).


-Espacio de Gracia Burlington HANDS Team 2020 

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