February 17, 2008

Planting a seed

Well we have been all over the place in the last few weeks. The DR has treated us well and the experience thus far has been idealistic and experimental but we have formed a model for what we can accomplish along our journey. Coming to the DR, we had hopeful ideas, but we were unclear as to what exactly we could offer without spending a significant period of time in any place. So with alot of leg work and some of Derek's magic, we had a party and brought together those who want to help with those who are in need of help. It's the Dominican Republic and everything is a celebration- we roasted a pig and set up the Karaoke machine and with five speakers and an audience of fourty people, we had a fund raiser. It seems we have become "aid brokers without a commission" - Ottis S/V Independance.
Here is the magic. We came here to work for an orphange. You guys wanted to help and you gave us a thousand bucks. We stretched that around and around. That activity stirred the community and more people wanted to help. Soon people emerged from various organizations including local hospitals and the US Peace Corps. The magic of networking lead those with the funds to Viajito, a local family man who had lost his leg and hearing in a diving accident. His family has been struggling futilely to make ends meet since, and there has been no hope for a prosthetic leg. His wife cooks in a local restaurant, has a laundry business and other odd jobs. Crippled and deaf, Viajito's voice and story reached alot of people and the pig roast fund raiser made enough to pay his medical bills and get him a new leg.
Thank you for your support. We ventured out here to see a bit of the world by sea, and do some good along the way and the vision is growing. Our first goal was to raise a thousand dollars for an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. We were amazed that it worked, and secondly we have been blow away by how much can be done and how willing people are to help us help other people. All of what we have purchased has been at tremendous discount and doors have been opened left and right for us.
The money raised thus far has started a wave amongst the community around us. People are lining up to do their part, and amazing opportunities are emerging. The money donated to Theworldbysea.com was matched one and half times last night at the pig roast. That brings us to $2,500. Your contributions started something and it will reverberate even when we have sailed on.

We were able to purchase clothes for hundreds of kids at the orphanage. Then we acquired a lawnmower, to alleviate the laborious and lengthy task performed by four staff members of mowing the grounds with machetes. Then $200 went to provision a street orphan soup kitchen which feeds up to twenty kids a day and provides English lessons. Here local schools are short on writing utensils, so if a child is without a pen they are sent home. So we had a pencil drive and have a mound of pens now to meet that need.
And then there is Viajito, who gets a leg. It’s pretty cool to see every dollar go directly to a need. Most importantly, we have observed the tremendous need here, and identified a community that desires to help alleviate that need. Of course, people have been doing their part already, and we merely have helped more people to give- it all seems to be making an impact. People have emerged here to organize the effort and channel the resources. Now the channels are in place. Hundreds of sailboats come here each year from all over the world. If the word gets out that there are volunteer opportunities here and we are taking ownership, then we could have a huge impact.
Your giving inspired us and that inspired dozens of others. For us we have a model to continue on with. We will explore, come across needs, seek out the key players and bring attention to those needs. Thank you for your support. This project has been loads of fun and fulfilling. I hope you all can feel what good your contribution has created down here.


Vicki said...

HI! This is Jessi's Mom...I love your blog and want to thank you so much for all you guys did while on the DR working with Jessi!

James said...

Congratulations on your successful efforts to change the world. I was reminded of the title page of A VIEW OF THE OCEAN by Jan de Hartog (Pantheon 2007) where Quaker founder George Fox's 1640 quote describes "an infinte ocean of light and love flowing over the ocean of darkness."
Keep up the good work.
Dan's dad.

Lydia said...

I love reading your blog and being reminded of the essence of what it is to be human. Awareness sees a need and the heart reaches out to meet it.

You're not just a human doing, you're a human being!

Nice one