Thursday, June 23, 2011

Revisiting the school

This blog hasn't been updated because my last year was spent largely outside of Santo Domingo. This may be the last blog, as the school is now completely in Dominican hands, and they are doing a blog in Spanish.

It was a blessing to visit the school once again for the last three weeks of the school year. I was amazed at the progress of the students. It was more than just not seeing them for a long time...cognitive issues they have had for years have been resolved or improved upon this year.

For example, most of the children (other than the preschoolers) can tell you the day and date now. In the past, even after three years of work, most students remained unable to do so. Why? Well, first I would say it was the effects of severe language deprivation on the cognitive processes.  But now I have to wonder if that was the cause after all. What was different this year? The biggest difference perhaps was that the students had lunch every day at school. The students had vitamins daily. (Normally they don't eat a very balanced diet.) They were given parasite medicine from time to time. There were some new teachers and some older teachers, but the improvement was across the board. God certainly coordinated the combination of causes for their improvement, in response to the prayers and gifts of his people.

Whatever the reason, the students showed a marked improvement in their thinking. They were reading more, although they are still way behind in reading skills. They understand questions better. Previously this was a tremendous difficulty for most. Now, they are frequently able to answer the specific question, and if not, at least they do recognize that a question has been asked!

Thank you Jesus!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas play

A note from the director...

Today we had our chapel service as always, but this one was very special because the students dramatized the birth of the baby Jesus. It was a real blessing for us to see the students enjoy this drama, as well as knowing that some were learning about his birth for the first time, in a form they could understand.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas & Update on Framy

Christmas in the Dominican Republic is a time spent with family. Normally the people who live in the larger cities, like Santo Domingo, return to their native towns to visit friends and relatives there. There is lots of drinking and dancing during the holidays. You hear music everywhere. Children do not get their gifts on Christmas day. Rather they receive them on Three Kings day, January 6th. (Not all children get gifts; if they are very poor the family may not exchange gifts.) It is always difficult to get school going again, as many families take an extra week for their visits in the country. School does not restart until after Three Kings day, so they already have a pretty good break.

Teacher YoselĂ­n has recently married. Teacher Marleny will be getting married tomorrow. She also just graduated, cum laude with her degree in education that she has been finishing up on Saturday. We ask your prayers for these new couples, that the Lord will be their strength and guide, and bless their families richly.

Update on Framy: Framy came back to school for just a day. He was able to talk to the kids, and the director was able to get better first hand information. My new info is that he does not have to use hand on hand sign (PTL), as I was told before, but he does have severe limitations on his vision. He has tunnel vision, from Retinitis pigmientosa. That means that his vision will worsen over time, the tunnel closing up little by little. Normally this takes years, but no one can really predict how long. It has dramatically worsened since May. And he only has one eye with vision, at all.

The director reports he is afraid to walk around with out someone to guide him, so he will need to learn to use a cane. Please keep him in your prayers.

He will come to the Christmas party and will return to school in January.

Thank you for your continued prayers for the school, its students and personnel.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


You may remember a while back, talking about a teenage boy named Framy. He was having problems with his one good eye. Now, he is legally blind. Apparently his retina slowly detached over a period of time, but none of the eye doctors he went to recognized or dealt with it, even though they did give him cataract surgery. [Because I was out of the country for this post, I depended on reports from the DR, rather than giving you first-hand info. As time passed and I was given more accurate info, I updated it here in brackets.]

Going blind is one of the greatest fears of a deaf person. Framy is having a hard time adjusting. He refuses to use a cane, although he really needs to have mobility training. He is way ahead communication-wise,  of the kids in the deaf-blind classes across town, and the teacher there says he is better off in the deaf school because of that. 

Please pray for Framy. He is going through a very difficult adjustment. Pray that he will put all his hope in the Lord, and that he can learn to live as independently as possible, and maintain relationships with the other deaf. Deaf-blindness is very isolating.

The other kids can communicate with him with hand on hand sign language. It will take him a while to become as fluent in that as he has been in regular sign. [This was inaccurately reported. New info on this is that he is able to use the tunnel vision he has still to understand visually.]

The deaf-blind class across town is sending over someone later this week to give his teacher and classmates orientation on how best to work with Framy in class.  The school does not have the advantage of the technology that deaf-blind people use in the US. Most likely, his classmates will be watching their teacher and taking turns interpreting to Framy what they are seeing. [This really depends on how constricted his tunnel vision is, which is unclear at this time. The more limited it is, the more likely that he will not be able to understand the teacher.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The police recently released several local thieves, and now they are trying to get into the school. Although the Secretary of Education should have a night watchman posted at the school, they no longer have one. As a result, there have been several attempts recently to break in.

This brings the director to some difficult decisions. We have recently installed an backup system that allows the school to have lights when the city electricity is off--which is most/all of the school day. This would be one of the prime targets for the burglars. Should she take them all out for safekeeping? Then there would be no electricity once again. Should she leave them in? Then they will most likely get stolen, and once again there will be no electricity. There are no funds to hire a night watchman privately. Then there are the other supplies used in running a school that will also be attractive to burglars.

Please pray that the Lord will provide a resolution to this problem, so that it will not be a constant burden on the school.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vision Trust medical team

This past week the school welcomed a medical team from Vision Trust. The children received checkups, and were given toothbrushes and toothpaste.

But the team didn't stop there.  They presented Bible stories for the children as well, and spent some time playing with and getting to know them.  The kids were thrilled, of course.

We thank the Lord for this team, and their work with us here in Santo Domingo.

Team members

New toothbrushes for all!