Archive for the ‘Dominican Republic – Las Palmas’ Category

Dominican Children Provide Church Programs

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Earlier this year, the children at our Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic prepared a special program for their church. Samilin Lori, the Administrator, sent us the following report and photos.

The Children of Las Palmas Present a Special Program

The children of Las Palmas present their special program

The Young Peoples Society leadership for 2011 is made up of young people with an adult counselor, Mrs. Samilín. This committee met to see what they could do to get the children and young people to read the Bible in a way that would be interesting for them.

They developed a program which would involve all the children and young people in actively reading and studying the Bible.

The Leadership Committee with some of the presenters

The leadership committee with some of the presenters

The program consists in following the annual Bible reading plan that is included with the youth daily devotional book (morning watch book). In order to interest the children and young people, we prepared a good promotional program ahead of time.

We created four groups for the whole church, called Action Groups. Each group has its leaders, a name that identifies it, a color, a motto and aim.

They earn points for various aspects of the program of the Young Peoples Society, such as:

  • Bible reading
  • Developing and presenting programs
  • Participating in Sabbath sundown worship
  • Participating in Bible games on Sabbath afternoons
  • Preparing social activities
  • Preparing spiritual activities

The Bible year was divided into four quarterly sections. For the first quarter, the final program was a weekend devoted to the Sanctuary theme.

Each group was given a portion of the Sanctuary materials so that they could present it in an attractive and dynamic manner. The groups had to develop the Sanctuary implements/equipment and memorize part of the message that contains the truth about the Sanctuary.

We invited Christian singing artists who gave a special touch to the activity, and each action group presented the portion which they had been assigned.

One of the children as the high priest of the Sanctuary

One of the children as the high priest of the Sanctuary

It was a joy to see how the kids learned portions of the Bible on the Sanctuary theme. This was a marvelous experience for the kids, and they felt even closer to God. During the entire year, the Young Peoples Society has presented precious programs during which the children and young people have developed their talents for Christ.

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

Waste Container or 40-foot Container?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The choice was quickly made when chairs and cupboards were being replaced at the Community Center ‘t Nieuwelant in Vlaardingen the Netherlands. The center had contracted with the company IVA Groep BV to supply the center with new chairs and cupboards. The question came up, “What shall we do with the old ones? Should we throw them out.”

The account manager for IVA Groep BV, Jonne Klaucke, contacted ICC Netherlands (IKN) to see if an ICC project could use 100 chairs and 6 cupboards and thus prevent them from going in a waste container.

Quickly agreements were made between the parties.

On Tuesday the 9th of August these items were loaded by transport business Slager & Zandbergen and delivered to a temporary storage space. These items will eventually be loaded onto a 40-foot container and shipped to the Dominican Republic where they will be used at the Las Palmas children’s village that IKN supports.

Photo of the chairs donated to ICC Netherlands (IKN) for our project in the Dominican Republic.

Chairs for ICC's project in the Dominican Republic are loaded for transport to a storage facility till they can be loaded onto a container and shipped to the Dominican Republic.

Employees and the board of the Community Center ’t Nieuwelant have the heartfelt wish that this furniture will make a positive difference in the lives of the Las Palmas children.

By Christa Breure
IKN Project Assistant

Violent Storm Damages Las Palmas Crops

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We’ve received some disturbing news from Mario Lora, ICC’s business and farm manager at the Las Palmas Campus in the Dominican Republic. On Friday, May 27 an isolated and violent storm swept through the Las Palmas campus and caused extensive damage to the farm crops which had been growing in such abundance.

Weather forecasts had not predicted the storm, and it hit the campus unexpectedly and with terrific force. According to Mario, “Its radius of action was practically in our locality and towards the mountains. In fact, the nearby city of Bonao had no damage.

“We understand that it affected an area of about 10 square kilometers with us in the center. We haven’t heard anything about it on the news, and everyone who comes here is surprised when they see the destruction.

“In fact, one of the engineers in charge of the greenhouse project, when he came here was stunned because he didn’t know this had happened, and he was investigating a lot to see what happened. It was quick, only lasting about 20 to 25 minutes as a strong storm, and then the rain lasted for a long time afterward. There was no warning to prepare.”

Plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm destroyed by a focused storm.

Some of the destroyed plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm

About 2/3 of the plantain crop was damaged by the heavy winds and rain that accompanied the storm. Many of the trees were laden with plantains and according to Mario, “With a few exceptions, all trees that had stalks (bunches) of plantains fell to the ground. The stalks varied a lot, from ones that were just flowering to those that were ready to harvest.

Of the trees that didn’t have stalks, only a few fell to the ground, but a very small percentage. We think that about 2,500 plantain trees fell over. Each stalk has about 30 to 40 plantains, which at the current market price are worth between 5 and 7 pesos, so each stalk is worth about 150 pesos [$4.05]. When we multiply that by 2,500 trees, it comes out to a loss of about 375,000 pesos [$10,135]. Also, we were left with about 1,250 trees which will start flowering in the next three months.”

The loss of the trees means more than the loss of the crop. A tree can produce several crops, plus they produce other “children” – small trees that grow up to the next generation. Mario, the staff and children at Las Palmas have quickly started the process of rehabilitating trees that can be salvaged and planting new trees.

Mario states that, “when we plant a new crop it takes about 8 or 9 months to start producing.” One piece of good news is that the project already has enough seeds to do the replanting and together with rehabilitating the damaged trees, the project should be able to expand the crop. This will have to wait until the rains allow the workers to prepare the land.

Plantains are a staple crop at the children’s village. This loss will certainly impact the project. Mario continues. “Of the production that we had projected, we consume almost the entire crop. What was happening at this moment was that as the plantains would get ripe we would cut them for use in the homes. They were not all ready to cut at the same time. In fact, many times we have had to cut them before they were really ready because of the needs in the homes.”

One of the other important crops at Las Palmas is Yucca. Mario estimated that perhaps 30% to 40% was affected. Since Yucca are tubers, it’s difficult to say at this time what the effect of the storm may be. However, there was significant damage to the plants themselves and the tubers may rot or not develop normally.

Garden vegetables were also hit hard, and according to Mario, “everything we had was ruined.” The house father and children of house 4 on the Las Palmas campus had put forth dedicated effort to supply the homes with vegetables. Mario estimates that this was valued at the equivalent of $135 per week so over the next 8 weeks as they wait for new crops to mature, they’ll need to spend about $1,080 to replace what was lost.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm

There are some bright spots in all this discouraging news. All the children and staff escaped unharmed. Praise God for that! Also, the sweet potato, corn and pineapple crops were not damaged. As well, there is something telling about how Mario describes the attitude of the staff and children on campus. “What has impressed me the most in all this,” he states, “is the good spirit that exists among the employees and the kids. We can see complete unity in order to reestablish, with God’s help and our efforts, what has been damaged. We have courage to continue on as long as the Lord gives us the strength.”

We’re pleased to report that when the Versacare Foundation heard about this tragedy, they immediately provided a donation of $10,000 to help with this food emergency. What a blessing this is! Additional funds are needed, and if you would like to help, please mark your donation “Las Palmas Farm and Food Fund.” It will directly assist with this need.

Thank you for your generous support.

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC

Sewing Success at Las Palmas

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Recently we received this report written by María Teany Cuevas, the sewing teacher at the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.

Thanks to the donation of sewing machines, 15 girls in our children’s village are taking a sewing class every Sunday from 9:00 to 12:00. They are very happy and enthusiastic with this opportunity. Despite having only a few machines, we have seen a lot of progress since these girls’ interest allows them to progress. This is an opportunity with a lot of benefit for each of these girls. We would like to present some of the objectives of this course in its first phase.

The sewing class at ICC's Las Palmas Children's Village.

The sewing class at ICC's Las Palmas Children's Village.

We hope that when we initiate the second phase we can have a small graduation where we can display the clothing items that they have made. Later we hope they can make some of the clothing for the children [in the children’s village] such as the skirts for school uniforms.

In this course we are using the Rocha Method which is easy and practical. In the first phase we are working with the following objectives:

  1. Learn the fundamentals needed for basic sewing.
  2. Design and implement a pattern for a basic skirt.
  3. Design and implement a pattern for a blouse.
  4. Design and implement a pattern for a dress.

Objectives achieved:

  1. Basic knowledge of sewing.
  2. Design and implementation of a basic skirt.
  3. Design of a blouse.
Learning to Sew

Learning to Sew

These achievements were accomplished, thanks to God, and all the students had maximum participation and showed great interest. The course was affected by a lack of electricity at times. We hope to continue in order to reach our objectives and then continue with a more advanced course.

The girls are very excited to soon be able to make their own clothes. It is really beautiful to be able to make your own.

María Teany Cuevas
Las Palmas


Thanks for reading!

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC

Las Palmas Pineapple Plantation

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Have you ever had a garden? Some tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, maybe even zucchini? From your garden you got fresh vegetables, better nutrition and less money spent at the grocery store. Our children’s villages each use their gardens and farms to accomplish the same goals. Several of our projects have been able to use their farms to offset their operating costs.

A Baby Pineapple From Las Palmas

A Baby Pineapple From Las Palmas

Our Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic has recently begun growing pineapples on their farm for on-campus consumption and for sale to the public. A few weeks ago we received a report on the progress of our pineapple project from Mario Lora, our business manager at Las Palmas.

A pineapple almost ready for harvest

Almost Ready For Harvest

Mario told us the first harvest of pineapples from their original planting of 22,000 plants was excellent. In fact, the number of pineapples harvested was so great they had a hard time selling them all. The extra crop was given to the homes for their use and as Mario puts it; “Our children did get the opportunity to eat pineapples in abundance—more than we could count.”

The second harvest produced very good results as well. Buyers have commented that the Las Palmas pineapples are unequaled in quality and of superior size.

Three harvested pineapples sitting on the kitchen table

Examples of Our Pineapple Crop

Currently the Las Palmas pineapple plantation is in its third cycle of planting with a total of 25,000 plants in the ground. This staggered planting cycle assures that the pineapples will be available throughout the year. This number of plants also provides Las Palmas the ability to recycle the harvest into new plantings thus eliminating the cost of buying new seedlings for each new planting cycle.

What is needed now are resources to expand the plantation as demand dictates. Right now, we are the lone farm in our area growing pineapples. This means there is no market to which we can sell any plants we can’t reuse in a new planting. Those plants must be plowed under. Rather than plow under these plants we would like to be able to use them to expand the plantation or, in the future, sell them.

Field of growing pineapple plants

One of Our Fields of Pineapples

We would deeply appreciate your help, large or small, in growing this pineapple enterprise. It not only benefits the children of Las Palmas, through cost savings it also provides the resources for us to expand the reach of ICC. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help. Thanks again for all you do for “His Kids.”

Thank for reading!

Ken Wilson
Media Director
ICC

Las Palmas Medication Blessing

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Tattered clothing
Little bodies needing a bath
Evidence of malnutrition
Eyes that show fear and emit tears

These are outward appearances of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children when they first arrive at an ICC children’s village. Immediately our staff provide for their obvious physical needs: the children are bathed and dressed in clean clothes, food is offered, and the children are given abundant assurance that they are in a safe place where they will be happy.

However, even with all these efforts to provide for the apparent needs of the children, underneath, lying hidden perhaps for months and even years, are wounds and scares from a past life that in many cases was filled with neglect, abuse and fear. As a child grows and develops within the children’s village these wounds and scares begin to manifest themselves in attitudes and behaviors that require intervention.

At the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic, several of our children have undergone psychological evaluations and are now receiving psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment. Critical to the success of such intervention for these children is correct follow-up to this process and that involves ensuring that the children continue the medical treatment without interruption and without missing the established appointments as part of their therapy.

At a time when there is a great need at the project for this intervention, the project is also facing economic challenges as costs outpace ICC’s ability to provide for all the needs at the project. The medications and general process are expensive yet essential.

Being placed in a difficult situation, our administrator contacted the National Counsel for Children and Adolescents in the Dominican Republic to see if they would offer assistance. Here are the results, according to our administrator. “After satisfying all the requirements of that institution and a long waiting period, we obtained, by the grace of God, a satisfactory response from them in the sense that they will commit to providing monthly the needed medications for the treatment of the boys and girls in our program.” What a blessing this is and a cost savings to ICC of nearly $600 each month.

Pineapple Crop Ready at Las Palmas

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Mario Lora with Pineapples

Mario Lora with Pineapples

Mario Lora, Las Palmas business and farm manager sent the following report concering the pineapple crop:

The pineapple project has been excellent as far as production goes. The fruit has been very good quality. But there has been such an abundance of pineapple that in many cases they are paying less than the cost of production, and one has to sell just so they don’t rot. The ones that can’t complain are the ones who live in the Children’s Village. They have been eating pineapple like you could never imagine. They have even been able to eat a whole pineapple for breakfast. But the economic results have been very bad. We just hope we can break even on this project.

The problem with the pineapple is that when it starts to ripen it can’t wait. You can’t wait long to harvest it in order to get a better price. You have to pick it when it is ready. If you don’t, it falls off the plant and rots. It has been a long time since there has been such an abundance of this product. Many farmers have gone under. In our country they aren’t planting in a planned manner. When the pineapple is selling for a good price all the farmers plant pineapple because they think they will make money, but when the harvest comes the price falls, because apparently many people have had the same thought.

We think we can plant some pineapple, but just enough for what we consume in the home, and that can be managed by the personnel in agriculture. Since we have enough seeds, we can plant in phases (different times) and only good seeds, and that way we’ll have first class harvests in more than one time during the year.

Well, I am letting you know about this project, but when the harvest is over we’ll know the final results. Maybe in one or two months the prices will go up, because there will be less pineapple, but we will also have very little. We have harvested about 60% of the fruit.

Special Need in the Dominican Republic

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Click on the picture below to find out more informaiotn about a special need at the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.

Las Palmas Graduates Share their Reflections about ICC

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Earlier this month, two of ICC’s children completed their university studies in the Dominican Republic and graduated.  Here are their reflections about ICC:

“ICC, through the Hogar Campestre [Las Palmas], has influenced my life in a marvelous way.  I managed to feel prepared physically, emotionally and spiritually to face the rest of my life.  I will feel eternally grateful for the professional preparation given to me  and for the Christian principles that I have adopted.  The Hogar has been a fountain for dreams and imaginings – it has been motivation for success.  Thank God, the 7th of December I will graduate with honors.  I am certain that I will continue, with God’s help, to fulfil His plan for my life.”  Name Changed to Protect Privacy

“The Hogar Campestre has significantly impacted my life.  Through this institution I have managed to acquire an integral formation (preparation), and a healthy growth, physically, socially and spiritually.  Having received the support of ICC for my development as a person is a great sign that God loves me and is interested in me and my salvation.  With my Hogar Campestre family I have learned that I can’t live just for myself – there always has to be room for others; that we don’t have to panic about the things of this life because everything will pass. It is important to value and respect the differences in others. We each have different qualitities which make us special and inique, and this is essential for the world to be dynamic and full of life.  God has a purpose and plan for each life, and I am part of God’s puzzle – nothing happens by chance.  For those whom God loves, all things work together for good, even those things in life which seem unfair to us.  I profoundly thank God for giving me the opportunity to be part of the fmaily of ICC, who prepares and forms children and young people for the heavenly kingdom.  Sincerely, with all my heart, thank-you.  May God always bless you.”  Name Changed to Protect Privacy

Fatima and Julio

Las Palmas Graduates

Pineapples Thriving at Las Palmas Children’s Village

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Just received today – a report and pictures from the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic.  The pineapple project is doing very well.  The report stated that “of the ones that have grown naturally without putting on a chemical to get them to germinate we have about 400.  But now, with the chemical product, about 6000 have germinated of the better plants.”   

In one of the photos below there are three pineapples on a table.  The report continued by saying “…you can see the three pineapples that we harvested today, whose value will be taken to the church as an offering of thanks.” 

First Fruits

First Fruits

 

Pineapple Project Thriving

Pineapple Project Thriving