We arrived at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in April 2009. It is a newer tourist area on the northern coast. It has beautiful beaches and is surrounded by mountains. This region has a large discrepancy of wealth, with many wealthy areas very nearby much poorer communities. We visited one of these communities.
A tour director at our hotel put us in touch with a local politican, Rigoberto, who suggested a small community center that we could use to distribute out goods. Once on site, we created over 100 care packages with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and sewing kit. Reading glasses were provided to those in need.
Children were also given some school supplies. Schools are free in the Dominican Republic, however, families must provide the children with uniforms and school supplies. For many families, this small expense is not possible. Rigoberto raises money each summer to purchase school uniforms for many students in impoverished areas. Sense the World will be contributing to the uniform drive this September.
After the community center, we brought the remaining eyeglasses and a dozen boxes of disposable gloves to a nursing home nearby. This is our friend Juanita, who was thrilled to see us and even danced and played the harmonica for us. Many blind citizens of the Dominican Republic end up in these nursing homes if their families cannot take care of them.