Hi, my name is Chantal. I'm 10 and live in the Dominican Republic. I have 6 brothers and sisters. We're struggling to make ends meet. I'm looking for a sponsor. Will you sponsor me?
What is it like where Chantal lives?
"The Dominican Republic has a population of about 9.6 million people. Of that, 73 percent are of mixed race, 16 percent are Caucasian, and 11 percent are of African descent. Around 95 percent are Catholic. There is freedom of faith in the country, which allows around 2 percent of the population to practice Voodoo.
A typical Dominican family has four people. Statistically, while 42 percent of the homes are run by both parents together, about 31 percent are run by single mothers, and the rest are run by relatives.
The Dominican Republic is divided into 31 provinces. Eight are in the southeastern region of the country: Distrito Nacional, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, La Altagracia, La Romana, Monte Plata, San Pedro de Macoris and Santo Domingo.
Each province depends on the central government. Each, however, also has its own local authorities: governor, senators, deputies, mayor, etc.
Families living in extreme poverty in the southeastern region of the Dominican Republic work hard to get two meals a day. The situation gets more difficult when drought limits cultivation of small crops like sweet potatoes, corn and plantains, which are the main ingredients in common meals.
The saddest part in this scenario occurs when the children reach adolescence and find they need to help with family income. In the urban areas, children work at traffic lights selling a large variety of items, cleaning windshields, or begging by each car window.
Many times children also get involved in very risky money-generating activities like scavenging in the dump, drug trafficking, and child prostitution. Many times children will abandon school at this point.
In Batey Las Pajas in San Pedro de Macoris, families usually try to raise goats or cows. Animals are a source of income in times of great need, like when a family member gets too sick and needs medicine. But cattle rustlers sometimes steal the animals, leaving only bloody fur in the fields. These thefts drastically affect the economy of families in extreme poverty.
Earthquakes have not been a concern in recent years; however, after the earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, all the residents near the southeastern coast were warned to leave their homes and go to more distant higher grond because of a tsunami warning for the Caribbean zone. Even though there was not a tsunami, the fear that one could occur at any time remains in people’s minds."
Project: DR-120, Mi Nueva Esperanza Student Center Location: Cristo Rey el Caliche, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Chantal lives on the plains of Cristo Rey el Caliche, home to approximately 71,900 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement floors, wood walls and corrugated iron roofs. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish. The regional diet consists of maize, beans, chicken, bread, plantains, rice and potatoes. Common health problems in this area include infections, flu and parasites. Most adults in Cristo Rey el Caliche are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn the equivalent of $118 per month. This community needs law enforcement, drug abuse rehabilitation programs, schools and employment opportunities. Your sponsorship allows the staff of Mi Nueva Esperanza Student Center to provide Chantal with Bible teaching, Bibles, health and nutrition education, recreational activities, field trips, special celebrations, computer classes, skills training and school uniforms. The center staff will also provide evangelism for the parents of Chantal.
May abundant grace, peace, joy and blessings be multiplied upon you in the Lord always.
I am Jose C. Rodriguez, pastor of the church that ministers to your Compassion-sponsored child at Centro de Desarrollo Integral Mi Nueva Esperanza (My New Hope) in the Dominican Republic. We are grateful for your kindness for your sponsored child.
We thank God every day for the privilege He has granted us of keeping open the doors of our child development center, thus to continue fulfilling the vision and mission He has put on us working for boys and girls in greater need from the community in order to bring them a message of hope and a reason to continue living.
The Bible tells us, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:5-6, NIV), and "be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded" (2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV).
As a church, we always pray for our sponsors who have had vision and sensibility to come and give us a hand - accompanying us and giving hope to children who don't have it, so together we can allow, facilitate for boys and girls, to come to the Master because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. I thank God for those who make possible that heaven's doors are open and not get closed.
Let's pray and bless in the Lord all of Compassion's hard-working staff, with such sharp vision, wishing for God to give them new strength every day in order to persevere in that excellent work we are doing with the boys and girls who are impacted, saved with the message of faith and love that we transmit to them (Matthew 18:1-5).
As a receiving church of the Compassion program in Mi Nueva Esperanza, we pray that the Lord gives us faith - and thus the wanting and doing - in order to develop every day a better work for our job; and for the sponsors, whom we congratulate for their investment, for their kindness and sacrifice for the kingdom of God - and for the children in greater need in the world - and whom we see as the Good Samaritans of childhood.
We also ask our sponsors to continue praying without stopping for the children's ministry, and all its tutors and advisors, for the blessings to be greater every day. Thank you for sharing your blessings with your sponsored child.
In the love of Christ,
Jose C. Rodriguez
Want to try a dish from the Dominican Republic? Here's a recipe!
A typical dish in the southeast is donplines, or dumplings, boiled balls of dough.
Ingredients: wheat flour, water and salt. (Because wheat flour makes very soft dough, some people use corn flour instead, for stiffer dough.)
Put water in a deep pan and place over the stove flame until water starts to boil. Simultaneously, put some water in a small bowl and add a little salt to taste and mix.
Put wheat flour in a bowl, pour some of the salt-seasoned water in it and start to mix and knead until you get soft dough.
Take little pieces of dough and shape them all into half-inch-thick and 3-inch-long chunks and submerge them into the boiling water in the pan.
Boil the dough chunks for around 20 minutes or until they are well cooked.
When the donplines are cooked, turn off the stove and serve them hot, either with codfish in red sauce, fried sausage, fried eggs, herring or any other food."