Spring in Bani – Meg Clough

November 7, 2017

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I just returned with a group of volunteers from yet another successful visit and board meeting in Bani.  The Elizabeth Seton Center is flourishing, now serving 225 children.  Our accomplishments this time around include:

  • voting to increase the salaries of our employees (to ensure that none of our workers are living below the poverty line)
  • voting Ms Tehany Duverge as our new board President (to reflect her tremendous work at the Center and her commitment to pursuing her Masters studies in education)
  • harvesting the organic garden (mounds and mounds of spinach, and a composter hard at work creating more organic soil)
  • creating sensory boards (to keep the curious toddlers entertained throughout the day while the daycare works wash and dry their clothing)
  • holding two preventative care operativos for over 100 children (in two of the poorest villages in surrounding areas)
  • placing over 75 sealants on 6+ year olds to help prevent cavities (and taught about teeth brushing, flossing and not chewing gum and drinking soda)
  • paying our women artists $1,700 for the gorgeous embroidery work we have sold in the US on their behalf (bringing this year’s grand total to a record-breaking $3,200)
  • providing new uniforms for all staff and pre-school teachers (so they can conduct outreach in the community and wear them with pride)

Our awesome volunteers included board members Pascale Gras, Dr. Sue Torrey and student volunteer Anthony S. Clough.  Thank you to Dr. Melo (OB/GYN) for allowing us to stay in her beautiful home in Bani.  And special thanks for our driver Alberto for getting usfrom one place to another in one piece.  The DR has the most number of traffic accident related deaths in the world! And most special thanks to (soon-to-be Dr.) Jasmin and Esther Riediger for their amazing translation services.

(While I’m not keeping track), this is my 30th trip to the Dominican over the past 14 years.  While the conditions in the country have improved somewhat, the community of La Saona is still one of the most impoverished communities in the northern hemisphere.  We are proud to say that ALL of our children leave the Center fully nutrition-recovered and ALL go to elementry school.  This Center is the life blood of the community and it is your sustained giving over the years tat has helped us provide education, clean water, safe daycare and medical services to these families.

Thank you and please consider a donation for 2017.