Health for all
ILAC Mission Board of Directors Mons. Ramón Benito de la Rosa y Carpio Ernesto Fernández Travieso, S.J. Marcel Morel Mario Dávalos Mercedes Carmen Capellán Carmen Ureña Ricardo Brugal Cristóbal Viera Alfredo Estrada Robert Heaney Andy Alexander, S.J. Joseph Lynch Robert Della Rocca Irma Frank General Direction:
Texts Jesenia de Moya, Ambar Mena and Grisbel Medina Photos Juan Guzmán and Hanu Graphic
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Editorial Our Personnel Creighton University & ILAC Mission Monsignor says... Society of Jesus
9 Our Founders 12 From arts and crafts 20 Testimonies 22 Georgetown University 24 Contributions to Education
Cover Photos Juan Guzmán Collaborator José Miguel Portes Graphic Design Edma’s Grafics Printed by: Editora de Revistas ILAC Mission: Licey al Medio Tel.: 809.736.0095 www.ilac.org.do firstname.lastname@example.org
Desde el 1973
40 YEARS OF THE ILAC MISSION
n those days, many institutions were taking volunteers to Third World countries to expose them to the social and economic problems afflicting the majority of the world’s population. Many offered a needed service to the people of these countries. However, some of these projects and experiences offered only a partial and negative view resulting in frustration. Some of these missions disappeared into oblivion and their participants came up with a bleak perspective plummeting them into bitter cynicism. The ILAC founders created a unique experience that would move its participants toward a profound personal commitment, motivated solely by their love for others. As a method, they integrated the spirituality of Ignatius Loyola into their programs. At the beginning of the XVI century, when humanity went through many struggles, Ignatius Loyola devised the Spiritual Exercises to lead individuals to discover their lives’ purpose. This concrete goal could only be understood by discovering the God of love who invites us to collaborate in his plan of salvation. Ignatius’ method changed history by applying the Christian attitude explained in the Gospels to have a loving commitment to work for others and with others in God´s liberating mission. The ILAC experience was not a superficial and naïve experience to make people feel good for some time. It was designed to transform them by giving themselves in true service. The founders, especially Fr. Narciso Sanchez-Medio, S.J., prepared the participants, not only to respect the campesinos by not forcing or manipulating them for our own purposes, but even to learn from them
By: Ernesto Fernández Travieso, S.J.
and their values in life. Thus, the foreign participants were, not only transformed themselves, but also helped transform the campesinos. Immediately, cultural, racial and social barriers disappeared. It was a true exchange of love in service as they worked together. It was also a spiritual union of mind and heart. Friends and generous benefactors also joined our mission. We were not intending to save the world, but just humbly plant the seed of hope. In the beginning of ILAC, we were particularly encouraged by Creighton University and the Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros. Thousands of people have benefited from the IL AC experience by committing themselves to others. Many were of different faiths and religions, even atheists and agnostics, who found the God of love, compassion, and justice: the only God with answers for the world today. It has not been easy. We have suffered trials and tribulations, including tragedies. There have also been some persons who never understood our mission and even tried to destroy it. However, we always believed that persecution and suffering must be present in every good work: the Cross. If the grain of wheat does not die, it will never give fruit… The IL AC Mission keeps bearing fruit. Our rural communities keep effectively bringing new initiatives. Participants from all over the world contribute to better projects in health, agriculture, education, community development, natural environment, etc. God continues to shed his light on us to bring hope with the fire of his love.
Honest and dedicated people 42 people support service and cooperation from the ILAC Mission’s headquarters
olidarity, cooperation and genuine interest to serve the less privileged of society are values that are respected and planted in the ILAC Mission’s headquarters.
In total, there are 42 people who, from the offices in Licey, have a role in the maintenance of the structure, working in logistics and programs that benefit 147 rural communities in the country
Bélgica Pérez is one of them. She has worked at ILAC Mission since April 2002, where she ser ves as an accountant. She is pleased to list the values that are promoted in the community of employees, as she mentions: respect, strength, cooperation, fairness, honesty, perseverance, solidarity and dignity are intangible values that you live “in an atmosphere of fellowship that produces peace.” Putting more love in deeds than in words, says Bélgica, is the best teaching of ILAC Mission. The accountant, native of Santiago, graduate from Politécnico Femenino Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes and the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago, is known for her affable manners and right proceeding. The ten years she has worked in toils proper of accounting, don’t keep her from looking beyond the office. That’s why she doesn’t hesitate to say that there, below the bell tower they have learned to “be men and women who fight for the needed ones, the forgotten people, for the defenseless, so that their voices are heard, so that they can feel valued and worthy of a more decent and fair life.” IIn a decade, Bélgica has seen many delegations of volunteers that enter, leave and say good-bye moved, in
the edge of crying. “The volunteers come full of dreams, to surrender their professional and human potential to our peasants, with ILAC Mission’s serving as a connection between them, to benefit each other.” She says that foreigners provide professional service in exchange for a smile, a handshake, a hug. Formation Both administrators and managers of health, education and agriculture programs are constantly trained in the preparation of technical documents, human relations, teamwork, first aid, leadership and community education, occupational health and safety, as well as environmental conservation and protection, thanks to agreements with the Instituto de Formación Técnico Profesional and the Asociación de Comerciales e Industriales de Santiago. Each employee has the opportunity to complete their training with the support of ILAC Mission. The essential requirements to enter are to have and constantly feed the spirit of solidarity and willingness to grow.
A relationship of transformation and solidarity
he first thing to express about ILAC and Creighton University is deep, mutual gratitude for a relationship which has been a blessing for so many campesinos of the Dominican Republic and for so many Creighton students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as many others who have come to ILAC through the many Creighton sponsored programs.
The second thing to emphasize is that this has been a relationship of mutual support for many years. It is a relationship which has had as its goal the service of those in need for la salud integral – comprehensive health: physical, spiritual, communal – health care promotion and maintenance, caring for the land, assuring clean water, community sustainability and development. It is a relationship which has offered those who come to serve more than they give. Through this relationship, many rural communities are healthier on every level and hundreds of North American guests have been personally transformed by their experience with the Dominican culture and personal relationships with Dominican people who share love, a warmly welcoming community spirit, and a faith and joy in the midst of adversity.
The spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – which grounds Creighton University’s vision and ILAC’s mission, has offered this relationship the depth of personal reflection on experience. Each participant asks, “Where am I finding intimacy with God in this experience?” This question, throughout the years, has helped transform cultural differences into cultural awareness, challenges into blessings, struggle together to overcome disadvantage into deep gratitude. The result has been that this spirituality has led so many Creighton participants to become women and men in solidarity with campesino communities they come to serve, and by whom they were served. Over the years, ILAC’s programs have grown and Creighton’s programs have grown. Together, the summer health care program, the other school medical programs, the high school groups and the surgical teams Creighton coordinates, all have made a difference. The great grace we celebrate is that this relationship, rooted in care and cooperation, has blessed so many. For that graced relationship we are all profoundly grateful. Andy Alexander, S. J. Vice-president for University Ministry at Creighton University Member of the ILAC/CESI Board of Directors
Santiago, Dom. Rep. October 1, 2012 Distinguished Members of the Board of Directors of the ILAC Mission Licey, Dom. Rep. Dear Board Members: I am pleased to greet you while at the same time acknowledge the spirit of dedication, service and solidarity that you have developed over the past 40 years for the benefit of rural communities in the Cibao Central region. Getting started with a project has always been a difficult task, but not impossible. Driven by the spirit of Ignatius Loyola, present in the hearts of its founders, the ILAC Mission has helped restore dignity in the life and works of the people of the Dominican countryside. I join in the celebration of four decades providing comprehensive health, preventive education, development tools, and high quality health care to rural areas of the Northern part of the country. May your love for your neighbor continue to inspire the social work of your institution. In Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Mar铆a de la Altagracia and Santiago Ap贸stol, I bless you.
Ram贸n Benito de la Rosa y Carpio Metropolitan Archbishop
Desde el 1973
THE SOCIETY OF JESUS Antilles Province ANTP_12-33 / Santo Domingo, October 5, 2012
Distinguished Members of the Board of Directors of the ILAC Mission Licey, R. D. Dear Members: A warm greeting to celebrate with you these 40 years of service and unconditional giving of ILAC to the humble and needy communities of the Cibao Central and the border. Contemplating ILAC Mission, we thank the Lord for the sign of hope that you represent for many thousands of farmers and hundreds of volunteers who since ILAC’s founding, have recognized “so much good that has been received” through the human encounter and fraternal service, with its various programs of volunteer help. During these forty years, ILAC has been the incarnated response to the reality of poverty and exclusion in our country and, under the guidance of our Ignatian spirituality, has oriented many to “ponder with great affection how much God, our Lord has done, and then meditate considering with great reason and justice what I must offer his divine majesty “(EE234). You have been brave and, as good children of Saint Ignatius Loyola, have “loved more in deeds than in words”. The Antilles Province wholeheartedly thanks the extension of the generous response that your Mission provides, mainly to promote the integral health of many Dominican and Haitian families. Your commitment responds to Decree 3 of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, which invites us to “establish fair relationships from the perspective of the marginalized, learning from them, working with them and to engage in building bridges between rich and poor, dignity bonds between people and their cultures.” Entrusting ourselves to your prayer and confirming our sincere congratulations. Your work reminds us that we are called to “love and serve all.” In close and grateful fellowship, Fraternally,
P. Fernando Polanco, S.J. Provincial of the Antilles
Desde el 1973
Visionaries inspired in
Saint Ignatius Loyola Father Narciso Sánchez was a kind, generous and helpful man.
Narciso Manuel Sánchez Medio
Ernesto Fernández Travieso
he Jesuit priests Narciso Manuel Sánchez Medio and Ernesto Fernández Travieso were born in Cuba. United by friendship, service, studies and the ministry inspired in Saint Ignatius Loyola, both planted in the Dominican Republic the generous roots of the ILAC Mission. After studying and working in different cities, universities and nations worldwide, fathers Narciso and Ernesto found in the Dominican countryside fertile ground to give birth to the memorable and romantic experiences of practicing faith through voluntary assistance to needy families. Since then, the ILAC Mission, with its services for human and spiritual development, promotes social responsibility by offering up our wealth and spirit. Today the ILAC Mission celebrates four decades of the Jesuits’ ssowing in 1973, which promotes and encourages the attitude of life that Jesus planted in humanity.
1985. On the back of a donkey, father Ernesto Fernández visiting medical groups in the fields of the Cordillera Cental.
Consciousness that GROWS all crops
he IL AC Mission has been educating for seventeen years about the impor tance of prioritizing organic planting to eradicate the culture of “slash and burn” in the Dominican countryside. The Agriculture Program model grants multiple advantages to families who live in rural areas and whose lives have been improved through agricultural systems that are economically viable and environmentally sustainable, said José Miguel Portes, who is responsible for these progressive initiatives. Portes indicates that the Agriculture Program is focused on rural development based on production, especially of fruits and vegetables. It was instituted in 1995 and, since then, the program benefits families by providing them with a new way to increase their income while also receiving knowledge and skills about organic agriculture. Benefits: • Training of the farming community to produce and sell their products directly to supermarkets and shops in town. • A u gm e nt a t io n of t h e
productivity and encouraging conservation of natural
resources through agro ecological practices. • I m p r o v i n g f a m i l y ’s nutrition by consuming over 80% of the vegetables they produce. • Raising the economic condition of the farming communities. • Decreasing rural migration to urban centers. 10
Desde el 1973
Genaro Desiderio Delgado Coronado Farmer and businessman
“Las Cruces” of Jarabacoa and the poverty with in the mountains accompanied him when he was born. His attitude and physical appearance symbolize the dignified and hardworking men of the fields, ready to face challenges. Genaro is the husband of María Isabel Payano and father of Kelvin Alexander, Samuel Alexander and Isaura. Despite the economic conditions in which he lived, the farmer of 46 years reached the tenth grade, serving as an example to the neighborhood’s youth. Eight years ago, before joining the IL AC Mission and becoming a health promoter for the community of “Las Cruces,” Genaro was a laborer earning $50 Dominican pesos a day with his machete. Limited by the distance and with a family to feed, he dedicated his time to food cultivation for personal use only, because he didn’t have the possibility to sell his products. Because of his lack of resources to produce and take care of his goods, his crops were constantly damaged from being kept in open fields. Due to excessive exposure to sunrays and lack of water, in addition to the atmospheric pollution, Genaro only harvested food for his family’s consumption. Upon arriving to the farmer’s house, students from Creighton University’s Encuentro Dominicano Program became aware of his struggles, and built a 300-meter greenhouse along with a water system to supply the crops. It was the push the family needed in order to produce, sell and benefit from their crops. Thanks to this projec t, the family’s open field and greenhouse peppers are sold in Santo Domingo, generating approximately $25,000 Dominican pesos from every eight collections. Soon, they will be marketing the crops from two hectares of papaya they have since planted. “I do not regret working at ILAC. I leave everything behind when I am needed to serve in the fourteen communities of ‘Las Cruces,’” expresses the emotional micro entrepreneur, who does not hesitate to look after the people he supervises when conducting social projects and medical operatives.
that weave PROGRESS Ana Vicenta Fernández Disla Craft Group Coordinator of “Las Lajas”
welve years ago, before meeting ILAC Mission, Ana Vicenta Fernández Disla worked as a housewife and was studying for an elementary teacher education degree in CURNE (Higher Education Center), an extension of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in San Francisco de Macorís. She was also part of The Housewives’ Club and a group of cooperatives. She is originally from “Las Lajas”, borough of Fantino County in Sánchez Ramírez province. Ana Vicenta desired her craft store to help her husband with the household expenses and complete the career that she loved and wished to pursue. Thanks to the After School Program and Pre-school sponsored by ILAC Mission, and health helper Bernardo Cruz, Ana enrolled in the course of crafts and macramé, that was given by a Japanese volunteer. By creating and selling necklaces, handbags and bracelets, Ana managed to graduate as a teacher and currently contributes with the expenses in her home. She also serves as coordinator of the group of craftsmen from “Las Lajas” and oversees the Pre-School and After School Programs in
the elementary school built by ILAC Mission. “Quisqueya”, a crafts store, is also part of her responsibilities. When medical operatives, cooperating meetings and social activities are organized, Ana always offers a hand to help. “My children, Breylin, Analy María and Ana Lisbeth are my craft assistants” she said with laughter. “My life has changed. I am a professional and I help my husband”, emphasized the entrepreneurial woman. “I am proud of being part of ILAC Mission, because it is a brilliant institution, organized and prestigious. I also appreciate the treatment and care they provide to our people, “she said.
Dominga Núñez Contreras
Craftswoman and volunteer teacher.
ediated by A na Vicenta, her college roommate, Dominga Núñez Contreras, met ILAC Mission’s work and joined the embroidery course given at “Las Lajas”. She is mother of Crisleidy Andreina and Endry Miguel. Dominga also wanted to produce resources for your family and pay for her career expenses. Once she finished the course, she began to make purses, belts and bracelets, which she sells in the “Quisqueya” crafts store with other craftswoman from “Las Lajas”. Many good gifts she celebrates, as she also headlined in Elementary School Education. Today, Dominga is a volunteer teacher at school in Las Lajas. “When they’re medical operatives, teachers meetings, I’m always available to serve the institution,” she said joyful. “In ILAC I acquired professional and personal knowledge. I have shared with people from different places and my life has changed, I am a professional and entrepreneur woman. I earn my pocket money, I help my husband support my children, “Dominga testifies.
Desde el 1973
he health department of ILAC Mission, under the banner of responsibility and the acquired accomplishment of its functions, gathers in this space the list of activities done over the quarter year from January to March 2012, which aims to demonstrate the fulfillment and compliance with the goals set in the schedule of the 2011-2013 Strategic Plan of ILAC Mission.
HealtH Each year the Mission receives new proposals for clinical and surgical operations after a careful evaluation and selection process by the medical board of ILAC, they are integrated to be and to do the mission that ILAC has proposed. The activities accomplished in the period include endoscopies and colonoscopies, hip and knee replacement, shoulder and knee arthroscopy, abdominal and inguinal hernia repair, minimal access surgery, consultations in various medical areas, tonsil, ear and nose surgery, hearing assessment for adults, consultations and surgery for cataract, strabismus, pterygium and ocular plastic, dermatological consultations and skin surgeries, consultations and glaucoma surgeries, gynecological assessments, prevention of dental disease in school children, prophylaxis, restorations, ex tractions and preparation total and partial dentures.
Desde el 1973
Years sowing the present and future of the fields
uman priorities may be marked by the circumstances. In cities surrounded by “LED” lights, personal emergencies can emerge from external motivations, and even be the result of clever advertising or successful marketing strategies.
In the countryside, in remote communities far away from the human trend of having an “iPhone 5”, the needs are often different. Among families living in valleys, mountains and dirt roads, a bridge a few meters long and several columns is the difference between life and death, between oblivion and progress. For the past forty years, the ILAC Mission has promoted not only the construction of viaducts of hope, but bridges of love, care, preventive health care, education, affection, closeness, and integral, timely and comprehensive care in the Dominican countryside.
In the institution rooted in the town of Licey in Santiago, Christianity has been practiced since 1973. It started with a program to educate young leaders and improve the living conditions of peasant souls. Today, it is an organization present in 147 communities, divided into the following zones: María Trinidad Sánchez, Cotuí, El Limón, Esperanza, Jánico, Juncalito, Dajabón, Sabana Rey, La Vega, San José de las Matas, and Tenares. From the cluster of experiences, one of the most gratifying moments has been seeing the success of the Rural Health Promoters Program, composed of community leaders chosen by their own people, who ILAC trains in education and communit y health prevention. These leaders
multiply their knowledge through workshops and home visits. They also assist in the coordination of the surgical programs that the ILAC Mission has throughout the year at their center in Licey. In the mountains, in remote dir t tracks that almost hug the sky, they promote development practices and plant seeds of hope. The Organic A gr i cul t ur e p r o gr am
transfers knowledge to farmers on soil conservation, composting, and vegetable production in large quantities. This instruction improves production and provides for the tables of hundreds of families. In addition, the Rural Education Program of the ILAC Mission benefits more than 800 children in Pre-School and After School Programs. They also work training craftswomen, who from this project and from the sale of their products have the ability to live free from being enslaved in their kitchens. And, as the urgency is constant, with the collaboration of local and foreign surgeons, free surgical operatives are held throughout the year with the highest standards of modern medicine to benefit people who are poor and living in distant places.
“Q: How can one ser ve without falling into subordination? A: “Because we believe in empowering people to be the drivers of their own development. We are opposed to promoting paternalism.” Q: H ow do you p e rc e i ve t h e c h a n g e i n t h e communities after receiving ILAC’s supportt? A: “ILAC leaves traces in the communities, in the way that promILAC leaves traces in the communities, in the path that promotes the integral development of the human being. ILAC contributes to the reduction of the conditions that make up the various dimensions of poverty in the humble and decent communities in which we work.”
Faith and love of service are the vitamins that move the ILAC Mission. The quiet space with the bell tower with a cross that stands past the vegetation mobilizes dreams and blesses the hope of the people who breathe far from basic services. The people of ILAC walk through difficult paths to reach areas where dentists and gynecologists have never gone before. Here, volunteers come and go, Dominicans and foreigners, leaving with their backpacks full of stories and with their hearts overflowing with the joy that serving leaves in their veins.
Radalme Peña Q: What role do you have in the ILAC Mission? A: “I started my work in 2002. I am responsible for the executive management of the Mission, having as a priority the execution of the annual action plan, whose main objective is to have a positive impact on improving the lives of hundreds of rural communities in El Cibao. The annual action plan is approved by the board of directors, who are guided by a strategic plan that is reviewed every three years. 19
Desde el 1973
“Mission ILAC is a landmark of great respect when referred to health, education, community development and human promotion. Mission IL AC dignifies the most remote and impoverished communities in the country and greatly benefits a large population that has no guaranties of their rights to health. Its contributions to sustainable agriculture are of great value and their actions educate; they considerably dignify and improve living conditions for many Dominicans”.
Milagros de Féliz
Volunteer of “Acción Callejera” Educational Fundation
“ILAC Mission’s work is amazing, beautiful. They do an outstanding job. Since I met ILAC Mission, through Father Travieso I have admired all the work they do with their various programs of cooperation for the benefit of community development and health programs. I would describe ILAC as field assistance, education and health, three important and necessary pillars, especially in our rural areas. It’s wonderful to meet people with the gift of helping others and how they have achieved to unite national and international forces for the benefit of our region. With institutions such as ILAC I am sure that we will achieve a sustainable development of our country, with emphasis on faith, moral and ethical values that we need for a real growth. In ILAC Mission, dedicated people live together for a cause, with a vocation to serve, where common wealth is more important than personal interests. They feel a responsibility to help. I admire Mission ILAC. Just attending to one of its eucharists or a health operative, I feel a peace and joy that touches my soul.”
Lina García de Blasco
President of Association of Industrialists of the North Region (AIREN, in Spanish) 20 20
Desde el 1973
“I can’t be calm while there are others in need” Full of joy and satisfaction, Ady Viera remains strong looking for resources to help peasants that live in the fields of el Cibao. “I am an instrument of God,” says the lady of 71 years old, who explains the emotion she feels when the sick heal. Cuban-born and based in Miami for the past 52 years, Ady first arrived in Licey in 1986 with her four children and husband, Christopher Viera, invited by Father Ernesto Fernández Travieso, who knew her from college. 40 years ago, she decided to join ILAC Mission. At Licey, she found a reality that shook and motivated her to fight for the equality of the peasants, as they faced a denial of services from the society, such as commercial production, health and better living conditions. Perceiving this reality: extreme poverty, disease and the limitations faced by peasants to show their talents, Ady worked from Miami to seek resources to provide health care projects, build roofs and floors, and mold peasants into artisans and farmers in La Vega, Jarabacoa, Cotuí, Moca and other communities. Viera was the precursor and the search engine of resources for ILAC Mission with her husband, now deceased. She collaborates in the pharmacy and gives follow-up to projects and volunteer groups. She says that the main goal is “not to give the bread, but to teach the peasants to get bread” and give equal treatment. With her charisma and kindness, Ady says that what God has given her, she has been able to give to others and “that means that you will receive blessings in return.” “All the resources we have gained have been thanks to the work of God,” she said. “I have come to the fields on horseback, on foot and on mules, and the rewards are the smiles, the joy and the care that we receive,” she humbly says.
ILAC Mission Advisor
Georgetown University 10 years of immersion and medicine with ILAC
“My main obstacle before arriving here was the language, since I don’t speak Spanish. I spent hours those first nights sitting outside the house of the couple who took me in as family, t hi nk i n g h o w I c o ul d communicate, while they were there in silence, offering me a space in their lives, in their home and family, not worrying about what language I spoke. I always have the image of Fr. Bill in mind when he told us to come to this experience with open hearts. Here there is a great deal of love and joy to share, even though they don’t have much materially. After this experience, I know that I will be a better person, for my own good and for that of others, as well.” With these words, Mark Real, a medical student at Georgetown University, spoke of his experience of this year’s program, under the shade of a mango tree near a green meadow, in the small rural community of Comedero, Fantino, Sánchez Ramírez Province. The Georgetown University “Medical Immersion” program takes place in nearly 20 countries and has been coming 22
to the Dominican Republic since 2003. Yet, even since the beginning of the ILAC Mission, many Georgetown medical students have participated in medical programs in the rural communities of the Dominican Republic thanks to Irma Frank, DDS, Senior Associate Dean for International Programs at the Georgetown School of Medicine. The students see patients, give vaccinations, set up a de-worming program for the children and do Pap Smear tests on the women. The Pap Smears are part of a cancer screening program that detects anomalies in cells of the uterine wall of women in the area. These women normally do not have access to such services due to the distance from where they live and the medical centers or the related costs of receiving such attention. “I am a new person after this experience. Now I know exactly what I want to do in medicine and with what kinds of people I want to work. This experience has transformed me into someone with a bigger, more caring heart. I am happy about that”. Megan Janni These generous groups of medical students, enrolled in one of the most prestigious universities of the world and the first Catholic university in the United
States, are called “Georgetown Health Ambassadors” by Dr. Irma Frank, Associate Dean of International Programs at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. The program has borne much fruit, both individually and collectively. A community feels honored to be selected and grateful to have their quality of life improved year after year with new medical teams from Georgetown serving and learning and mutually sharing life and cultural differences. “It is difficult for us to go see a doctor, and thanks to the Pap smear test they did on me I was able to prevent getting cancer! Ana Silvia Muñoz, member of the comunity.
Many of the students comment that they went with the idea of serving, but, in the end, they received more than they could give. When they return they realize that they not only learned a great deal professionally and culturally, but also humanly”. Dr. Irma Frank Health Collaborator
The mission and vision of the program in the Dominican Republic has deep roots. Dr. Irma Frank has accompanied Fr. Ernesto Travieso, S.J., since the beginning and knows the commitment of ILAC to the Ignatian ideal of “an integral care for each person in his or her world and culture.”
Focused on offering competent medical care, acquiring better proficiency in the Spanish language and with the desire to serve, Georgetown medical students, together with teams from the communities and ILAC personnel, participate in this “Medical Immersion” by living in the homes of families of the community and thereby connecting with the Dominicans’ culture, hopes and values. They discover there, far from the surroundings of their normal lives, the presence of people who, despite their physical suffering and material limitations, possess an absolutely inspiring human spirit, with a high level of dignity and full of hope; traits that permit them to withstand conditions unimaginable in the more developed world.
“As a volunteer in the ILAC programs in rural communities, I have had the privilege of living a gratifying experience with the people and families of the countryside. In this fraternal relationship, I believe my heart received more than it gave. The unconditional love, joy and affection filled my heart with faith and hope; very important values that give meaning to life.
To practice and live the virtue of charity with suffering human beings who at the same time possess a huge capacity to face adversity with fortitude, is a revealing experience that changes students’ perspectives, opens their minds and hearts, moves them toward becoming agents of change and helps them to appropriate more fully the Jesuit ideal of becoming men and women for and with others.
For our students, the ILAC experience is very enriching from the personal and cultural points of view. As they begin their medical careers, ILAC provides them a clear and human focus on how they may want to practice medicine as future doctors.
Year after year, ILAC serves as the door and bridge so that rural Dominican communities and Georgetown medical students can encounter one another in this edifying immersion experience, fountain of hope for physical health and light for the human spirit.
EducatioN Desde el 1973
Education programs and graduations
he Education Program of the ILAC Mission starts their school year with great enthusiasm in the Preschools and After School Programs in our various partner schools. This year, ILAC initiated the journey of education and care with more than 400 children, which greatly pleases us and demonstrates the warm welcome that our rural communities show us. In June 2012, we celebrated the graduation of 40 children in the preschool level which highlighted the ongoing work of teachers and the achievement of the graduates.
Camping and family evenings
rom July 29th to August 1st of 2012, 60 children participated in the After School Programs Summer Camp Bao in Jánico, which involved a recognition act of educational excellence to more than 250 children for their hard work and effort during the school year. The camp seeks to educate children in the care of nature and the environment, as well as various personal, spiritual and social values. They enjoyed games, walks, contests and swimming in the river. On November 29th, 2011 a Family Evening was held for parents and students of the School “Limonal.” This event was attended by 115 people, including parents and students, with the goal of promoting family values and integrating parents and guardians to the teaching and learning process.
EducatioN Desde el 1973
n Feb r uar y 10 t h 2012, I L AC opened the Hall of Computation in Sabana Rey Latina, which started with 15 computers, which seeks to close the technology gap for more than 500 students in the school.
Training for teachers and neighborhood council
ducation Program offered the Neighbor Council of Limonal Abajo, Hogar Nueva Esperanza Board, St. Pius X, Núñez Molina Institute and its staff, the training workshop about “Hotel Maintenance” suppor ted by INFOTEP, in order to identify the procedures and basic elements to maintain a hygienic, clean and tidy area, with good reception. It was attended by 25 people, who became familiar with the appropriate use of operational techniques for service within the institution in cleaning and organizing rooms, bathrooms, lounges, organization tables, color schemes, placement of cutlery and the general atmosphere. They also performed workshops for teachers to help them improve their skills in providing a positive atmosphere of the room and creating a positive learning space for students.
By the voluntary HAND
Projects accomplished by the volunteer groups in 2012
LIFO Group of Miami: Boca FĂŠrrea Aqueduct in Las Lagunas, Moca For over 15 years, the group Living Instruments For Others (LIFO) of Miami, conformed by young professionals committed to the development of rural areas of the country, performs community projects, especially rural aqueducts, and works to improve the health and living conditions of the rural population of the Dominican Republic. This year, they built an aqueduct in the community of Boca FĂŠrrea in Las Lagunas, Moca. The project will benefit more than 300 families. Construction began on July 25 and ended in August. The labor was provided by the community and the LIFO volunteer crew, who arrived full of energy and with a spirit of service to live an experience with rural families.
An aqueduct in Carrasco thanks to the BLUE Group of Miami The Blue Group, composed of 25 young people from the city of Miami, joined the spirit of solidarity of many volunteers who come to build projects and promote community development. This year, they have brought not only their presence, but the financial resources to build an aqueduct in 26
ConstructionS the community of Los Carrasco in Rio San Juan, which will benefit more than 56 families. This aqueduct will improve the health and quality of life of its residents.
Georgetown High School students build the community center of Corral in Pedro García Thanks to a collective effort motivated by a desire to serve, farmers’ organizations, mothers, youth and children in the community of Corral in Pedro García have a space for meetings, social and cultural activities. Students from Georgetown Prep in Washington lived a beautiful experience with the families of Corral. They contributed funds and helped in the construction of the community center.
Belen Jesuit School of Miami builds bridge in San Felipe of San Francisco de Macorís With enthusiasm, we received more than 100 students from the Miami Belen Jesuit School, coordinated by Jesuit Father Willy García-Tuñón. The group built a bridge that benefits more than 500 families in the community of San Felipe in San Francisco de Macorís, who lived at risk of accidents crossing the river. The bridge has a dimension of one hundred meters of length and allows the passage of any type of vehicle.
contributed to the construction of a home in the community of Monte Grande in Loma de Cabrera. These homes have two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.
The construction will also provide an easier and faster way of transportation for the agr icultural produc tion, pedestrian safety for students and residents, as well as communication between the beneficiary communities. With the group of Belen volunteers also came a group of doctors who offered consults and donated medicines to needed people in surrounding communities.
Canisius High built road in the community of El Faro, Jarabacoa In 2011, Canisius College students built a bridge near the community of El Faro in Jarabacoa. And they were so thrilled with the experience, that they returned this year to continue working on the construction of one kilometer of road in the most critical and dangerous area that leads to the bridge. The trail was slippery and in rainy seasons visitors couldn’t reach the community.
Homes for countryside families
Thanks to the generous donations of Nidia Rodríguez, since 2011 we have developed a program of building houses for needy people in different rural communities. In Sabana Rey Latina, a town of Ranchito, we have built about 20 houses. With the donations of Ricardo Brugal, two houses have been built in the communities of Arroyo del Toro in Tamboril and La Javilla in Licey. The students of the school of the Sacred Heart of Miami have contributed to the construction of a house in the community of Los 21 in Tamboril, and Alberto Pérez
Medical clinic in Las Lagunas The Eine-Welt Foundation of Germany h a s c o l l a b o r a t e d w i t h I L A C ’s Agriculture Program since 1994. Yet, in recent years, has expanded with a medical mission composed of different specialists who provide medical attention that benefits more than 2,500 people living in the Cordillera Central. Because of the long distance between some rural communities and their nearest health care centers, the Eine Welt Foundation provided funds to build a clinic that offers year-round service and that is staffed by local personnel assigned by the Ministry of Public Health. More than 20 communities and 600 families will benefit from this project. The clinic consists of two offices, a kitchen, bathrooms, pharmacy, and a multipurpose room that can be used for meetings or as a waiting area.
School painting and floor repairs Like every year, high school students from the United States, in addition to having the experience of living with a family from the countryside, also provided the funds to build floors made out of concrete and latrines; rebuild houses; repair and paint schools and community centers; all important projects to improve the living conditions of the local people.
In 2012, groups of volunteers came from: • Creighton Preparatory, Omaha, Nebraska. • Marquette High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. • Gonzaga College High School, Washington, District of Columbia.
• St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland, Ohio. • Scotus Central Catholic High School, Columbus, Nebraska.
• McQuaid Jesuit High School, Rochester, New York. • Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Omaha, Nebraska.
• Marian High School, Omaha, Nebraska. 28