2018 Dominican Republic Day 7 – When Is “Free Care” Really Free?

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When we think of the word “free,” we associate no obligation to the term. However, in the Dominican Republic, the people who use the public hospital at no charge must come prepared. Linens, towels, supplies for care, food, and clothing are the responsibility of the patient. Feeding and bathing are the responsibility of the patient’s family. For most adults, oxygen is in very short supply. Only the babies and children get special consideration. A free cup of soup for each patient was being distributed during our visit, which was an improvement over previous years. Materials for making a cast and IV meds must be provided by the patient. We donated […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 6 – Immersing Ourselves in the Dominican Culture

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As on previous days, our group started the morning at Dove Missions by eating breakfast together under the palapa. We conducted physical assessments on the younger boys at the center and interviewed them on their diet history. We socialized with the kids and played with them during our free time. Of course, the boys were rowdy; but they were full of joy and grateful to have us there with them. For lunch, we traveled through Puerto Plata to eat a traditional Dominican buffet. After we ate lunch, we were taken to a mercado (market) in Puerto Plata where they sell a variety of produce and goods. Eggplant, peppers, chayote, plantains, […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 5 – Fun in the Sun part 2

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On our second free day here in Puerto Plata on Monday, we began by traveling to Sosúa, a small beach town famous for its breathtaking shoreline. The water was such a crisp blue, which is different from our North Carolina beaches. Even though the water was rough with waves crashing violently against the rocks in the distance and though the tide was extremely high, we still enjoyed the beautiful ocean for the morning. We shopped at the many small unique shops all along the beach. This is where we really put our bartering skills to the test to see what deals we could get. This is a shopping experience unlike […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 4 – Fun in the Sun part 1

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Sunday was our first free day in Puerto Plata. We began by riding in a teleférico, or cable car, to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. It was fun to take pictures with the statue appearing either in our hands, on our heads, or just in the background. There was a beautiful view from the top of the mountain allowing us to see much of the island. The next item on the agenda for the day was shopping! We were warmly welcomed to a local store in Puerto Plata. We loved all the amazing items for sale such as jewelry, wooden sculptures, […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 3 – Health and Play for the Day

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We woke up to another beautiful morning in Puerta Plata. We all shared a delicious breakfast together at a large wooden table under a palapa. We discussed the day’s events with our fearless professor, Mrs. Ruwe. Once our van arrived to transport us to Dove Missions, we jumped in and away we went. During the bus ride to Dove Missions, we mentally prepare for what the day is going to bring, and at the same time, we stare out the windows taking in all the scenes. Once we arrived at Dove Missions, we eagerly went upstairs and set up a room in which we would complete assessments for each of […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 2 – Insight to Private Healthcare and Nutrition BINGO

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As we started our second day journey in the Dominican Republic, we had an enlightening experience at a local private hospital. Dr. Daniela Mayer, a physician in emergency medicine and the director of the facility, took time out of her busy day to guide us around the clinic and explain the Dominican Republic’s healthcare system. Dr. Mayer is not a native to the Dominican Republic but has been in the clinic for 10 years and is very familiar with the system along with the American healthcare system. The Dominicans have free healthcare in the public hospital setting but require insurance or must be able to pay the fee for service […]

2018 Dominican Republic Day 1 – Culture Shock

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When you think of the Caribbean, you probably think of beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. That can be found in the Dominican Republic, but you can also find an entire world that most do not know about. Thursday, we were able to experience the poverty within the city of Puerta Plata first hand. First, we got acquainted with Dove Missions and heard how it was started. The founder, Liz Rooney, began her journey in 2002 when she first visited the Dominican Republic. She visited from the United States and instantly felt a connection to the children here. For about five years, she took annual trips abroad to the Dominican […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 7 – Last Day Shenanigans

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Our last day here in Puerto Plata was very eventful. We started off by going to to a local private clinic/hospital. A doctor kindly showed us around to all parts of the hospital. Surprisingly, it was very well-kept and clean. It was in much better condition than the public hospital. The reason being is because you must have insurance to get medical attention here – hence better doctors, better conditions, etc. Mrs. Ruwe asked the doctor what the impacts and complications from chronic diseases are in the Dominican Republic. The doctor explained that many people suffer from diabetes and heart disease. It is very hard for them to continue to […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 6 – Arts and Crafts Kind of Day

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Today consisted of English classes, activities such as making MyPlate paper plates, making foods out of Play-Doh, hosting separate STI classes for the boys and girls, and making human bodies made out of paper bags. We also had lunch, and ended the day with play time outside and making bracelets indoors. The children really enjoyed making colorful plates, which represented MyPlate, and we used this opportunity for the children to learn the foods that belonged in each food group. Along with MyPlate, we had the children make foods out of Play-Doh, which they placed on the appropriate category on the plates. After lunch, we separated the boys and girls, ages […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 5 – Health Isn’t Cheap

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Our day began by visiting a local cancer clinic run by a convent of nuns from Puerto Rico. This cancer clinic is one of the only available chemo treatment centers in the northern part of the country. The conditions and availability of medical supplies were far less than that of the United States. The oncologist had patients at the clinic every Friday to receive treatment. Although this treatment may be successful, many patients have recurrent cancer that they do not survive. Chemotherapy is half the price of the average Dominican income for one round of therapy. At the clinic however, they offer a lower price for the treatment. They also […]