Day 11 and 12 for the Sci Ed Team: Lacey’s Perspective – “Appearances can be deceiving.”

Lacey and one of our students in the "Los Botaos" homework room.

The first homework room we taught in (located in la Caleta) was converted into a teaching space after previously serving as a house. It really wasn’t that bad at all. At this point we thought we had seen all of the spaces we would be teaching in and this is the best by far.  I mean, it would be greatly below the standards within the United States, but compared to the other homework rooms, it was great. There was ample space for the kids to learn even though it was filled with about 65 kids. We complained at first, but after pulling into our second teaching space today, we immediately retracted all statements.

We travelled in the same van as the nurses on Wednesday (5/25) morning. They had told us that the places that we would be working in were very close to one another. First, we arrived at this gated compound in “los Botaos”, that was definitely a government-like building.  We were let in by the armed guard and Danny, our driver, told the nurses to get out.  Honestly, at this point I was pretty jealous because I assumed from the outside that the facilities would be amazing on the inside, and I was expecting the worst for us. Then Danny clarified that WE would actually be working there for the day. All of our spirits immediately lifted.  After we unloaded all of our materials, the van left and we walked inside.  It seemed amazing.  The facility was obviously new, and a lot of money had been put into it.  When we got into the classroom, yes an actual classroom, we began setting up. Everything was going great, but a few minutes before we started the lesson, things kind of went downhill. The people who work at the facility have to follow very strict rules, as do the children. Two of our group members were almost kicked out because of dress code violations, and we couldn’t do an activity because they wouldn’t let us outside.  We eventually made it through our lesson, without anymore problems, so that was something positive.

While were waiting for Danny to pick us up, and bring us to La Casona for lunch, we learned details about the facility. The funding for the construction of the building was solicited by the first lady of the Dominican Republic from an organization in Madrid, Spain. This collaboration has funded the construction of several of the buildings, along with ones that serve other purposes.  This may seem like a great gesture, but in reality it is not. The immaculate building was funded, but that is where it stopped.  We learned that the building had no running water and had very spotty electricity (so the beautiful fans that were strategically placed to help alleviate the sweltering heat might as well been a mirage on the ceiling for the children). This completely goes against our mission down here. We are creating everything to be sustainable.  The goal is for our projects to continue after we leave the Dominican. Teaching in this facility shows us firsthand the failure of just throwing money at a project and allowing it to run its course. Sure, it is a great thing that Caminante is able to rent out a room in the facility and have space to teach, but to be without basic necessities is just awful (especially when the façade clearly suggests otherwise). I would definitely have to admit that I preferred the first homework room to this one.   -Lacey

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One Response to “Day 11 and 12 for the Sci Ed Team: Lacey’s Perspective – “Appearances can be deceiving.””
  1. Sarita says:

    Nice insight Lacey. I am Sara Evjen, a PCV who works in Los Botados. I have to say that while you point out some great points about the building and the need for electricity and water, it is important to remember that this building is built in one of the poorest parts of Andres, and before it was built, there was nothing for the people of this barrio. Buildings and “things” don’t make schools. The people of the barrio know how to work and function without water and electricity. What they need are motivated community members that know how to teach and how to provide educational opportunities. While it is frustrating to think of the money that is used in building this building, if it can be used for what it should be used for, it has the potential to do amazing things.

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