Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dominican Republic Trip Re-Cap - Aguas Negras

A roof top view of Aguas Negras. This is a predominantly Dominican slum in Puerta Platta. As you may have guessed by the name (black water) this place does not smell too great. The whole of Aguas Negras is built below the waste water treatment lagoons for Puerta Platta. When the heavy rains come, Aguas Negras is flooded with sewage. Nearly every home we entered had high water marks two feet up the walls. Aguas Negras has no sewage collection system of its own. As you can see in the picture below, the privys and toilets drain out to the street, and down to the ocean shore untreated.
My faithful guide, Stefan Schmid. Stefan has been working in Aguas Negras and Villa Ascension for over 10 years with Mercy Ships. Everywhere we went, people would call out to Stefan telling him how glad they were to see him. He has worked hard through the years to do more than just build houses for the poor. He has developed real lasting relationships with the people in these poor communities. Stefan showed me that we have to do more than just come to build houses for these people. They need training and skills in order to find jobs in order to pull themselves out of poverty. They need help, not handouts. Stefan has an idea to bring teams of skilled people down to Aguas Negras. These teams would build homes for people, but they would work with local people to teach them how to build, how to use computers, how to do electrical work, etc...
This is my young friend Chico standing on the shore of Aguas Negros. Behind him you see a powerplant. This is also where the sewage runs to. You and I would never even consider swiming in these waters, but the people of Aguas Negras not only swim, but fish here.

This is the school in Aguas Negras run by an amazing lady named Sandra. She told us her story my first night in Puerta Platta. She has an amazing testimony for what God has done in her life. I hope to tell her story more completely in a later post. The school is a bright spot in a very difficult place. She is truly devoted to these people, she is one of them. That is Sandra's daughter in the picture.

1 comment:

  1. Good story Bill, its amazing to show it but the reality more people in the world live in these conditions than those who do not!