Current Projects

WINTER/SPRING 2014

DR 2014 logo

 

La Berma        El Pomier        Tio Filin         Paso de Moca        Rio Grande Abajo

 

La Berma

Odyssey (February) Team

Un Techo Para Mi Pais is an organization that has worked throughout Latin America (19 countries) in social development since 1997. B3 has worked with Un Techo Para Mi Pais in Ecuador and Nicaragua providing temporary homes for families. Their plan is simple and is designed with 3 phases. The first is to provide temporary housing for those in desperate need of safe, clean homes.  The second phase provides training and development of skills needed for employment while the third phase helps families acquire and build a permanent home.

Builders Beyond Borders will work with Un Techo Para Mi Pais (A Roof for My Country) again this year… in the small town of La Berma located south west of Santo Domingo. Along with these needy families, B3 will construct 20 prefab homes in this small poor community. The families in La Berma live simply in this town and are amongst those living below the poverty level. Both Un Techo Para Mi Pais and Builders Beyond Borders are anxious to assist these needy families to move to more substantial housing as the first step to becoming self-sufficient.

There are about 400 families living in La Berma; many rely on farming and other agricultural activities to earn money.  In order to be considered for a home through Un Techo Para Mi Pais, families must be able to contribute 8% of the cost of the home (about $150) as well as participate in all workshops about personal finance and savings, help with the construction of their new home and agree to conditions set forth by UTPMP.

La Berma is very poor yet charming. A canal runs alongside the community providing water for families to bathe, do laundry and provides a central spot for social interaction.  The homes are very rustic; most are made from scraps of wood, corrugated zinc and heavy plastic.  The community is brimming with laughter and many children.

Bachata is often heard being played at high volume. Basically, Bachata is an Afro/Latino genre of music that originated in the Dominican Republic in the early 20th century. It became popular in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods with its themes often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness.  Along with the music known as Bachata, comes the famous style of dance that often rivals Meringue in popularity.

Bani is the closest town to La Berma and is the capital of the Peravia province. Bani’s population is relatively small with families and neighborhoods dating back several centuries. Bani is a Taino word meaning “abundant water.” The area was named after an important Taino leader of the Maguana people.  The town’s original design follows the classic Spanish square, with a park in the center of the town surrounded by the local church and the local government (mayor’s office).

Baní is surrounded by many smaller towns; many with their own specific identities. One example is Paya, well known around the country for its milk-based candies (most famously “Dulce de Leche,” or candy of milk.) Another is Salinas, a town by the Salinas bay, where salt is produced. Salinas is famous for its Sand Dunes that make the Dominican Republic the country with the largest sand dunes in the Caribbean.  But Bani itself is best known for its Mangos “mamellitos.”  It is also one of the places where the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”, takes place.

 

El Pomier

PAC (February) and C-4 (April) Teams

Builders Beyond Borders will be working in the small community of Pomier towards improving not only sanitation but bringing water to the community. Pomier is an impoverished community of 120 families, most of whom need latrines and all are in need of ready access to water.  To that end, we will be building 28 latrines and constructing a 500 foot pipeline to bring water to the center of the community.  Currently, families walk about over ½ mile to get water (imagine that every time you need water, you would have to walk that far) and few have access to safe, clean latrines.  The numbers are staggering – 70% of people living in Dominican Republic lack proper/adequate sanitation.  According to the World Health Organization, improper sanitation is the second leading cause of death of children under the age of 5 (94% of these are preventable with proper sanitation).

Pomier

There is real need here.  While this may not be the most glamorous project that Builders Beyond Borders has been involved with, it is, without a doubt, one of the most impactful.  This project has the potential to eliminate (and/or greatly reduce) unnecessary deaths and illnesses that are so prevalent throughout the Dominican Republic.  These latrines/bathrooms, along with proper education will make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for these families. Builders Beyond Borders and your team will be making a difference at a very basic level – providing sanitation and the beginning of a healthier lifestyle.

Pomier is located just outside the city San Cristóbal, south west of Santo Domingo. The name Pomier comes from the French word for apple (Pomme in French).   French explorers in this region loved the mamon, a fruit that is very plentiful and resembles an apple – thus the name, Pomier.

Nearby, the famous Pomier Caves are the most extensive example of prehistoric art discovered in the Caribbean.   These caves are a set of cavities made a million years ago that were used by the indigenous settlers of Hispaniola as a refuge against the forces of the nature and as a center to manifest their culture.  These caves are part of an anthropological reserve and have been compared with the pyramids of Egypt in terms of their importance to Caribbean native culture. They contain the largest collection of 2,000-year-old rock art in the Caribbean created primarily by the Taino, but also by the Carib and the Igneri, the pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola.  The caves contain approximately 6,000 drawings, carvings and pictographs of birds, fish, reptiles, and human figures.

Builders Beyond Borders is excited to work with this community as well as the opportunity to work side by side with Domingo Abreu, well renown Speleologist, Geologist, and Lecturer. Domingo is currently the director of the Department for Speleological Studies, the Secretary of State of the Environment and Natural Resources, and ecological editor for the national Dominican newspaper “Hoy”. He has published more than 400 articles on speleology and ecology and has written three books on those themes. Domingo is also president of Espeleogrupo Santo Domingo, an organization dedicated to the development of speleology and geology. He routinely represents the Dominican Republic before the International Union of Speleology and the Speleological Federation of Latin America and Caribbean. His current devotion is directing the planning and construction of the Prehistoric Capitol of the Antilles in the Borbón and Pomier Anthropological Reserve in San Cristobal, where several of our B3 teams will be working this year.

 

Tio Filin

Bamigos (February) and Estrellón Teams

Tio Felin is a quaint community that is lies just on the outskirts of Haitises National Park (Parque Nacional Los Haitises) in the Monte Plata region northeast of Santo Domingo.  The residents here have been displaced by the Dominican Republic government in order to protect the environment inside the National Park limits.  Over the years, families had begun to build homes and even farm within the park, generally without realizing they were actually trespassing on protected land.  These families were moved to the area now known as Tio Felin.

We will partner with Funkarst (A non profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment and most recently mapping the park) to provide this community with a very basic need – latrines.  This project will benefit the 55 families currently living in Tio Felin. Lack of latrines is a serious health concern – the numbers are staggering – 70% of people living in Dominican Republic lack proper/adequate sanitation.  According to the World Health Organization, improper sanitation is the second leading cause of death of children under the age of 5 (94% of these are preventable with proper sanitation).

There is real need here.  While this may not be the most glamorous project that Builders Beyond Borders has been involved with, it is, without a doubt, one of the most impactful.  This project has the potential to eliminate (and/or greatly reduce) unnecessary deaths and illnesses that are so prevalent throughout the Dominican Republic.  These latrines/bathrooms, along with proper education will make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for these families.

We will be working side by side with community members of Tio Felin, representatives of Funkarst and Save the Children to make this plan a reality.   Builders Beyond Borders will be making a difference at a very basic level – providing sanitation and the beginning of a healthier lifestyle. In addition, the families in Tio Felin are looking forward to learning more about our culture and our traditions.  We will work alongside the families that will be receiving latrines during all phases of construction. They are anxious to share typical Dominican style food, music and their traditions with us.

One of the popular dishes found in Tio Felin is Mangu, a tasty breakfast that consists of mashed plantains, often served with salami and onions, and occasionally an egg.  In addition to Mangu, another favorite in this region of the Dominican Republic is Chivo (goat) that has been roasted with traditional spices and usually served with another Dominican favorite, cassava bread.

Tio Felin is very poor yet charming. The homes are very rustic; most are made from scraps of wood, corrugated zinc and heavy plastic.  The community is brimming with laughter and many children, with much of the social gathering centered around one of the main colmados (small general store).

Bachata is often heard being played at high volume. Basically, Bachata is an Afro/Latino genre of music that originated in the Dominican Republic in the early 20th century. It became popular in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods with its themes often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness.  Along with the music known as Bachata, comes the famous style of dance that often rivals Meringue in popularity.

 

Paso de Moca

Trabajueños (February) and Esperanza (March) Teams

Builders Beyond Borders will work with the Rotary Club of Moca towards improving not only sanitation in Paso de Moca, but overall health by constructing 2 water tanks, installing pumps and building 28 pit style latrines. In addition, B3 will work with the Rotary Club to help with hand washing training for families in the community benefitting some 200 people directly from this project. Paso de Moca is an impoverished community of around 100 families all of whom need water, water filters, and latrines.  Two water-holding tanks with water filter systems will reduce the need for hand drawn water, which adds to the potential contamination of water. The numbers are staggering – 70% of people living in Dominican Republic lack proper/adequate sanitation.  According to the World Health Organization, improper sanitation is the second leading cause of death of children under the age of 5 (94% of these are preventable with proper sanitation).

There is real need here.  While this may not be the most glamorous project that Builders Beyond Borders has been involved with, it is, without a doubt, one of the most impactful.  This project has the potential to eliminate (and/or greatly reduce) unnecessary deaths and illnesses that are so prevalent throughout the Dominican Republic.  These latrines/bathrooms, along with proper education will make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for these families.

Moca

We will be working side by side with community members of Paso de Moca and the Rotary Community Corps to make this plan a reality.   Builders Beyond Borders will be making a difference at a very basic level – providing sanitation and the beginning of a healthier lifestyle.

Paso de Moca is a small village outside the town of Moca, the capital of Espaillat province in the Dominican Republic.  Moca is located 11 miles east of the country’s second biggest city, Santiago.  It is known as “La Villa Heroica” (Village of Heroes) due to the amount of brave men and women from Moca who played a major role in the Dominican Republic’s history in bringing down two dictators, Ulises Heureaux and Rafael Trujillo, and bringing democracy back to the country. Founded in 1780, the city retained its Indian name, referring to moca (partridge wood), an indigenous cabbage palm tree.

Moca has one of the most beautiful churches in the country named Corazon de Jesus (Heart of Jesus). It’s pane glass windows are originally from Italy depicting the apostles and Jesus’ path to the crucifixion. Agriculture forms the primary livelihood of the inhabitants with plantain and yucca as main crops. Most crops are harvested by hand.

Throughout Paso de Moca, one can hear the familiar sound of dominoes. Be it the crisp clicking sound as the pieces are being mixed or the sound of a piece being slammed onto the game board. On almost every corner a game can be seem being played passionately and with intent by those who take pride in playing a good game. Even though the game is easy to learn, there is much more to it than what one sees at first look. The best domino players know what you hold before you play your next move. They know what die have been played and what still remains in the hand.

 

Rio Grande Abajo

Rhombo (February) and Equipo Cambio (March) Teams

We will partner with a youth based group, Brigada Verde (the group is made up of “youth” that range in age from 15 to 30) to construct a much needed medical clinic and multipurpose building. About 90 families live in the small community nestled in the Cordillera Septentrional Mountains near Altamira.

This building was actually started in 2001 but was left unfinished when the original Maestro and community leader passed away.  While the original committee is no longer in existence, Brigada Verde has committed to it’s community that it will find a way to complete the building.  The current President of Brigada Verde, Cristino, has motivated this group towards to making big changes in his hometown and is anxious to work with Builders Beyond Borders to finish the construction.  The plan for the building is 2 floors with multiple rooms on each floor.  It will be simple block construction with a corrugated zinc roof.  It is located close to the Mother’s Club and several of the churches in Rio Grande Abajo.  The center will be staffed with medical staff provided by the government and will provide not only routine medical attention but preventative check ups and routine immunizations as well.

RGA

This medical center will provide services to this community and surrounding communities as well.  The plans also include space for meetings and workshops about health and technical skills.  Plans are to have classes about HIV/Aids prevention and awareness, teenage pregnancy and parenting skills.

The families in Rio Grande Abajo are looking forward to working with our Builders Beyond Borders teams to construct this center as well as learning more about our culture and our traditions. They are anxious to share typical Dominican style food, music and their traditions with us.

Rio Grande Abajo boasts a humid forest climate year round.  The closest “city” is Altamira where we can find a street known as San Jose or Street of the Donkeys – originally given this nick name due the number of donkeys crowding the road.  One of the popular dishes found in Rio Grand Abajo is Mangu, a tasty breakfast that consists of mashed plantains, often served with with salami and onions, and occasionally an egg.  In addition to Mangu, another favorite in this region of the Dominican Republic is Chivo (goat) that has been roasted with traditional spices and usually served with another Dominican favorite, cassava bread.

Throughout Rio Grande Abajo, one can hear the familiar sound of dominoes. Be it the crisp clicking sound as the pieces are being mixed or the sound of a piece being slammed onto the game board. On almost every corner a game can be seem being played passionately and with intent by those who take pride in playing a good game. Even though the game is easy to learn, there is much more to it than what one sees at first look. The best domino players know what you hold before you play your next move. They know what die have been played and what still remains in the hand.

 

 

 

 

 

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