Water…Remembering the last trip, planning for the next one.
The night our little group arrived at the house that was to be our home for the next week the electricity was already out. We had come prepared with flashlights and headlamps, knowing that electricity is inconsistently available in La Victoria. With the help of a little team of Dominican men who were to be our guides and translators we moved our bags and boxes of supplies into the dark compound. We began to light candles, blow up our air mattresses and build mosquito net contraptions with duct tape and whatever else we could cobble together. After a couple of hours of what felt like setting up a campsite inside this home, we were ready for some food and water. It was clear that the toilets were not flushing and when we went to turn on the faucets, they were dry. One of the young men helping us brought a five gallon jug of drinking water to disperse among the thirteen of us.
This seemed sufficient for the first night and all of us seemed content enough to wash off the day of travel with wet wipes. However, the next morning , after breakfast, we were all feeling a bit grimy. We had fruit and power bars for breakfast and there was a definite stickiness to the whole group. Not wanting to be prototypical high maintenance Americans, no one was complaining, but the topic arose, “How can we wash our hands?” Another immediate concern included, “Do you think the toilets might flush today?” They never did. We were there for a week and had all of the issues one might presume in a third world country. And we had no water. Other than what our little car could carry in trash cans, we had no water. Enough for a bucket over the head and a wash cloth over the body…I never knew one wash cloth could clean so much!
No one seemed to complain much, however, after the fifth day, it was clear we were living in a fairly “unsanitary environment”. We pushed through and decided that it was evident what our next trip would entail: attention to the water issue. We lived this way for one week. Our dear friends have been living with this for a lifetime. We were all feeling a stirring within us to address this issue of water that affects so many of the people of the Dominican Republic. This will be our focus. We will move in this direction. May God show us what He wants to do through us in the DR.