SPRINT Dominican Republic 2013

Seattle Pacific University students learning and serving alongside local leaders in the Dominican Republic.

Discover SPRINT – Sunday, November 3

Join us at Discover SPRINT for a night of stories and video from Summer, 2013 SPRINT trips!  Sunday night, November 3, 7:00 PM in Demaray Hall 150 on the SPU campus.

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What SPRINT’s All About

Hello, friends!

With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor

 

ProVector Success!

Hello Friends and Family,

We just wanted to let you all know that yesterday we went to Los Robles where we placed the ProVectors and did the two week check up. We went to each home where we placed one and asked if they have noticed less or more mosquitos in their home since they have received a ProVector. We were pleasantly surprised that almost every house said they have seen very few mosquitoes, if not no mosquitoes in their home in the last two weeks. We are so thankful that the ProVectors are being efficient in getting rid and killing mosquitoes to reduce the amount of Dengue and Malaria in these villages. We have helped the community health members understand the importance of keeping up with the families every two weeks, asking the amount of mosquitoes they see in their home. This way, a different team is not coming in every two weeks checking up but the community health members themselves. They seem very excited about coming along side one another to improving the health of their community. Keep Los Robles and the members of this village in your prayers. We pray that they are willing to follow through and be active with this project. 

As we head for the airport tomorrow, we ask for prayers for safe travels. We are all excited to enjoy our last day here in Barahona but are feeling sad knowing we are going to have to say bye to the staff and all the wonderful people we have met here. We look forward to seeing everyone at home and being able to talk to you all about our amazing experience here in the Dominican Republic! 

 

Love,

Millie, Andrea, Natalie, Nichole and Lily 

They’ll be home soon!

Hello, friends!

After three weeks in the Dominican Republic, the team will return to the States this Saturday.  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:

  • Lily and Nichole return to Seattle on July 6 at 10:47 PM on United #675
  • Andrea and Millie return to Portland on July 6 at 8:49 PM on United 1103
  • Natalie returns to Miami on July 6 at 3:30 PM on American 1398

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account. 

I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.

Owen.

Last Moments in the DR

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Hey Guys!

The past week has been spent updating sponsorship information for COTN. We were able to get to know the principles at each school in the bateys and interact with the children one on one. We have estimated that we’ve interviewed about 300 kids! At times it was very chaotic but also very rewarding.

Andrea decided to sponsor a child and got the opportunity to meet her and tell her that she has been sponsored! Her name Greici, she’s 16 and wants to be a pediatrician.

In other news, we have developed an addiction to an ice cream store called Bon, where we went for the fifth time last week :) The last 4 days we are  here, we are going back to Los Robles where we placed the ProVectors to do a two week check up. We will ask the families if they have noticed a smaller population of mosquitoes in their home in the last few weeks. We are excited to see the results of this, hoping that the ProVectors have already started doing their job, infecting and killing mosquitoes.

It will be difficult to say goodbye to some of the staff members here – especially our translator Pepe and our bodyguards Oval, Willy, and Renzo.

We return on Saturday and would love to talk more about our trip and share more stories and photos with you!! Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Andrea, Lily, Millie, Natalie, Nichole <3

Our Amazing Weekend

Hello Friends and Family,

We have had an amazing few days here in the Dominican Republic. We cannot believe we have already been here for a week. 

On Saturday, we were able to continue working on delivering ProVectors to the homes in Los Robles. We brought enough to put in every home so on Saturday we placed about half. We were amazed by how the much the community of Los Robles works together. The principal of the school helped us navigate all the homes we needed to find along with some of the community health members. Even some of the kids in the village were interested in our project and wanted to learn about it. They ended up taking charge, helping us deliver the ProVectors. It is amazing to see the empowerment that is growing throughout Los Robles. The people of the village are interested in the health of their community and want to learn about it to teach others. Later in the afternoon, we were taken into town to see the city of Barahona. We visted the market to pick up some fresh fruit. We were also joined by another team of 22 people who we have been able to get to know and be in fellowship with here at The Casa. 

Sundays are days of rest here in the DR. So Sunday morning we attended Julio’s church and absolutely loved it. Juanchi, our COTN host, was able to translate the service for us. After lunch we got to visit the beautiful beach’s of the Dominican. We drove to the top of the mountain to have an amazing view of the water. As we were driving there, we stopped at a waterfall as well as a hot spring. The water was crystal blue and was a perfect temperature to be refreshed by the hot weather.

Today, we completed our ProVector project. We were able to deliver all of the ProVector flowers to all the homes in Los Robles. We were surprised by how quickly we got this project done. We thank God for giving us this opportunity to place these in homes to help prevent Malaria and Dengue Fever. We know these have been proven to be effective so be praying that these homes will notice a smaller population of mosquitos. 

We are all having an amazing time and see God working in each our lives. Continue to pray for health and safety!! 

Love, 

Team DR

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Health Histories and ProVectors Part One

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hola familia y amigos! 

Greetings from the beautiful Dominican Republic. The past few days have been spent planning and getting acquainted with the communities and the projects we will be doing. 

Thursday morning we had the privilege of going to the I Love Baseball program which is run by Children of the Nations. When we got to the field (after waiting out a “rainstorm”… apparently Dominicans do not work at all when it rains), we were introduced to the players and staff and were told about the program. This is a cool program designed to develop spiritual, moral, mental, and physical growth in teenage boys who, like many Dominicans, dream of playing professional baseball. The coaches monitor grades and spiritual growth while also teaching about baseball. Hopefully, we will be able to go back sometime before we leave to watch them play.

Thursday afternoon we were fully immersed in the Bateys as we assisted the clinic staff in filling out health history forms for the children in each home. We were divided up into pairs and worked along side doctors, nurses, and COTN staff to visit the homes to interview the families…. entirely in Spanish. Fortunately, the staff and the families were very patient with us and were eager to help us learn. This ended up being a fun experience for us all. We were also amazed by the humility and hospitality of the families, despite extreme poverty. Even if they only had a one-room house and a few plastic chairs, they would do anything they could to make us feel at home. Many of these homes had a single parent and five or six children. It was nice to be able to hear some of their stories and learn more about their lives. 

This morning we continued to work on the health history forms in Los Robles. We felt more comfortable this time around and many of us were able to start asking the questions to the families and being more independent with filling out the forms. We also got to attend the health club meeting of Los Robles which is when many members of the community meet to discuss the goals of improving community health and sanitation. We were impressed by this because COTN is working on empowering the community to develop leaders to work within their own village.

After our daily siesta and being “loco americanas” (the nickname the Dominicans gave us when we were sitting in the sun instead of the shade), we headed back to Los Robles to start working on placing ProVectors in the homes. Along the way we were still shown extreme hospitality and the children were absolutely adorable and would strike a pose for pictures. We all agree that the people we have met while we have been here are so full of life and are inspiring to us. They are beautiful and friendly people.

In other news, our team is getting along very well. We are forming great relationships with each other and with the COTN staff, as well as our new friends Lauren and Megan who are intern coordinators for the summer here. Tonight we went for our first swim at the Casa and are planning on doing daily water aerobics (lead by Andrea). Even just during downtime we are always laughing and enjoying ourselves. The coffee here is SUPER strong but wonderful… and the people here love taking espresso shots throughout the day… it’s pretty great. Writing this blog post, for instance, was a struggle for the team, but provided for lots of laughs.

Thank you for your prayer and support. Prayer requests: please pray for overall health of the team, for us to have open hearts to be willing to engage the culture, and for us to change the world, killing one mosquito at a time (with our awesome ProVector devices). 

 Adios!

Andrea, Natalie, Nichole, Millie, Lily

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Tours and Introductions

Today we started with a tour of the Children of the Nations office and met all of the staff members. They were all so welcoming and gracious towards us being there. We then got to tour the Clinic of Barahona that partners with COTN. It was very small with only 2 operating rooms and one recovery room with a total of 3 nurses on staff. There are only surgeries done 3 times a year because the surgeons are US doctors who are flown down to do the operations. There was also a small dentist room where the dentist works 2 days a week. This clinic is ran strictly by support and donations. The children who cannot afford going to the hospital can come to the clinic for free. It was eye opening experience to see how diverse the medical field is here in the DR than in America. 

Today, we also got to walk around 3 bateys and 2 barrios. The kids were so joyful and playful. We enjoyed our time in these communities and are excited to start working on our community health project tomorrow. We were also fortunate enough to be able to the brand new University that was built here in Barahona. It was the most beautiful building we have seen.

We pray for time management as we take the time to invest in the kids within the community as well as getting the community health and pro-vector projects done as efficiently as possible. 

More pictures will come soon! 

WE ARE IN THE DR!

WE ARE IN THE DR!

After 10 hours of flying and 4 hours of driving (on a Dominican Highway), we have made it to House Betesda of Children of the Nations in Barahona. We have met staff members and other teams who we will be working with over the next 3 weeks. We got to shower and are now relaxing under an open hut with a nice caribbean breeze. We are SO EXCITED to finally be here! We ask you to keep us in your prayers for mosquito bites, health and safety as we prepare to work on our projects in the communities.
We are having an awesome time so far and are so excited to see what God has in store for us here! Thank you everyone for your support

Love,
Team DR

They’ve arrived!

I just received word from Children of the Nations that the team has arrived safely and is on their way to Barahona. Watch for an update from them soon!

Owen.

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