My visit to the Dominican Republic
diary of a journey
(08/28 - 09/14/2012)
At the Sugar Kids School
The spay and neuter clinic in May 2012 with the German vets Dr. List, Dr. Bonin and Dagmar Stech took place in a small school. The lessons during this time were held in a neighbouring house. This is when we first learnt about the Sugar Kids and their wonderful teachers.
All of these children come from poor Haitian families and have no chance to visit a regular school, be it that their parents don’t live officially in the Dominican Republic or that they simply can’t afford to buy a school uniform. Haiti belongs to the poorest countries in the world, even without floods and earth quakes.
On many Caribbean islands Haitians cut the cane for the famous Caribbean rum. They stay for years; their children are born there, without legal papers and without legal rights. Cane cutting is a job nobody else in the Caribbean wants to do, too much it reminds people of the days of slavery; still very present in the minds of most of them.
The teachers of the Sugar Kids school work as volunteers to prevent the children from growing up illiterate. In addition they try everything imaginable to obtain the means needed to finance the school. When our vets were there, the school had just been given a stove and now the teachers were asking for donations of kitchen equipment and baking ingredients to be able to bake cookies and muffins for sale. We started a call for donations immediately and, once back in Germany, Dr. List and Dr. Bonin began to collect kids’ clothes and toys. When I flew to the Dominican Republic in late August I carried 2 heavy bags, filled with children’s clothes, shoes, toys, school material and a little bit of money.
When I entered the school everybody sang „Frère Jaques”, a tune that had very often accompanied our vets’ surgeries. Children and teachers speak French, a language I learnt during my years in the French Antilles, and so I could talk with them in their mother tongue.
When this little boy discovered a toy car in my bag he jumped at it with a scream of joy and tore it from my hand.
This girl looked a little sad. Her name is Daniela. When I asked her what she wanted she whisperd: “A doll !” Daniela , you shall have your doll!
The kitchen, where the cookies and muffins are baked, the little garden the kids plant themselves, the small library with quite a few books in French, English and Spanish, most likely not all of them suitable as school books.
These kids, that appear here scrubbed clean and neatly dressed every morning, don’t have enough to eat at home and the school can’t afford to feed them regularly. Every month the teachers struggle to be able to pay the rent for the school house, the electricity bill and the gas bill. Constantly they are searching for new creative ways to maintain the school; they have gone far beyond baking cookies.
Among other things they produce these beautiful artificial flowers; but their latest creation is simply incredible:
When I said Good bye I was convinced that we have to continue to try and help these children and their wonderful teachers. We would like to send each of the kids a little Christmas present. Judy’s friend WG, who is flying to the Dominican Republic between December 12 and March 13, will take the presents along. But what ‘s really needed most is some continuous support, something that our small animal welfare association can’t render. I try to raise interest for the Sugar Kids school in our community and our fabulous vets, Dr. List and Dr. Bonin, are very active in their vicinity. Together we could send 415 Euro to the Sugar Kids til 11. 07. 2012 and our efforts continue.
Needless to say that there’ll be more spay and neuter clinics at the Sugar Kids school in the future!