Today was our first full day in the Dominican Republic! We are so pumped to finally be here! Today we traveled 15 minutes outside of the foundation to the city Veron. Here we were able to get a glimpse at what education, water systems, and health services looked like in the city.
So, the school classrooms were small and would typically only fit about 15 students in the U.S, but they squeeze 40. We heard from Cindy, a lady involved in the Peace Corp, that the teachers often just do not show up for class. This is because teachers are underfunded as the government only gives about 1.9% of GPD to education - very little pay leaves little motivation for them to actually care about their student’s education. It is interesting to learn that every student has to take a class that teaches them how to bartend and be a waiter. They do this because tourism is the booming industry and it is very likely that even though a student may be very bright in science, they will most likely work in the tourism industry.
The water system is a project I have so much respect for and Cindy is taking it on with other key stakeholders. We actually saw where the filter system is located and she explained to us how it all works. She talked about how sewage work is not a “sexy” project but, it is extremely important. The water is making families sick and something needs to be done. She is almost finished with the project and now she has to convince the people in Veron that it is important enough for them to pay into each month.
When we toured the VCOM clinic I almost could not believe my eyes. It has little technology and is not as sanitary as what we have in the U.S. I was surprised to see many people of different sicknesses, diseases, and even pregnant ladies, all crammed together in the same waiting room. There are about 6-9 doctors and some of them are VCOM students. Although the clinic is small for the people of Veron, before 2005, they had nothing. So it really is a huge blessing.
After Veron, we had some free time to go to the grocery store and swim at the beach. We then finished up our day with class outside reflecting on Veron and planning our upcoming sport camps for the next five days! I cannot wait to get these camps started!!! We also met the three DPV (Deportes Para la Vida) boys tonight. They are some of the coolest and most loveable people. I can already tell they will be a blast to work with and get to know all week.
For updates on Virginia Tech Athletics, follow the Hokies on Twitter Follow @hokiesports