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 […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 4 – Our Afternoon in Sosua

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For this day in the Dominican Republic, we had the opportunity to spend our day on the beach in Sosua. The area was absolutely breathtaking with the blue waves crashing against the rocks. We began our day with a unique shopping experience that you won’t find in the States. As we walked along the shops, the owners did all they could to pull us into their shops. Even if we said no, they still would try everything they could to get our business. They would say things like, “It’s almost free.” Once inside if you find something you like, you are able to barter prices for the goods that you want. It’s a difficult […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 3 – Juan’s Brother’s Store

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Sunday is a day of leisure for most Dominicans. On our first free day away from the Dove Missions Center, the original plan was to ride the cable car to the top of one of the many picturesque mountains on the island. However, the rain put a damper on those plans, so we improvised by shopping and touring the town in hopes that the weather would clear up. We started out by visiting the store belonging to the brother of our ever generous van driver/tour guide. This was where we learned the art of bartering in order to get the best prices on larimar (a blue stone native to the […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 2 – Play Is an International Language

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Today, we learned that no matter where you are or what country you may be visiting, play is an international language. At Dove Missions, Saturday is considered a free day for the children at the center to come eat, play, and have fun with their peers in a safe environment. This center allows the children to receive healthy snacks, daily vitamins, and take part in a worry-free setting. To start our day, we unpacked our donations that the community gratefully received; we plan to deliver the rest of these items throughout the week to the local clinic and the community hospital. Afterwards, we taught a simple nutritional lesson to the kids […]

2017 Dominican Republic Day 1 – The Beginning

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Day 1 in the Dominican Republic is going to be a difficult day to surpass. Our journey began with an introduction to the staff at Dove Missions and a tour of their facility. The agenda for the day differed slightly from person to person as we had a large enough group to break up into two smaller subgroups for the day. Each group engaged with the children by taking height and weight measurements and a dietary recall while the other half toured the barrios in a neighborhood referred to as aguas negras translated roughly to “black waters.” During my experiences today, there were many things that demanded my attention. First […]

2017 Spring Break in the Dominican Republic – Learning Abroad

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Greetings from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic! After a very long day of travel, fourteen nursing students and I arrived to begin a nine-day, international-travel experience, Nutrition and Health in the Dominican Republic. Students will assess growth, nutrition, and health status of children served by Dove Missions, a private, non-profit, charitable organization committed to serving at-risk children in Puerto Plata. This experience provides students an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from their discipline in a global setting while serving others and expanding their view of the world.  We invite you to follow along in our journey and share in this incredible experience. Carol Ruwe, Associate Professor School of Nursing (Follow the […]

Los Cocos Village

It’s Not Goodbye; It’s “See You Later”

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On our last day in the Dominican Republic, we visited the Haitian village, Los Cocos. We learned that this village on a hillside was comprised of 70 different families. The land is owned by a Dominican citizen who allows the Haitians to live on the land for free. As Haitians are not recognized by the government and not allowed citizenship, this opportunity is a blessing for those families. Upon entering the village, we saw rows and rows of huts built with banana leaves. The children were running around playing, the women were washing clothes, and the men were out working. Walking through the village, we saw a lot of trash […]

Dominican Children Sampling Skewers of Fruit

Fruits and Vegetables

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Our first task today was to continue the assessments for the children at the Center. Keeping their attention off the boys was the challenge of Day 6. One thing we quickly discovered when doing these assessments was that the children were fascinated with the stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs, and they wanted to be assessed repeatedly. When doing these assessments, we gathered demographic data, measured height and weight, and had the older children provide a dietary recall for the past 24 hours. The children also received a brief physical assessment. It was interesting to find that about half or more of the children had multiple cavities on their back molars. […]