Google Maps now has high resolution satellite views of central Dominican Republic. The blue placemark indicates where Ashley stayed last school year while teaching English at an orphanage. Go to satellite mode and zoom in to see the group house she live in with her adopted family.
The houses just south of the orphanage washed away in the middle of the night from floods that accompanied tropical storm Noel.
Perhaps it is easier to never leave home. Never take risks. Never adapt to other cultures. Never fall in love with a people other than your own. We decided that was our fix. To get home and never ever leave again. It was just to painful to put everything we had into something that we eventually said goodbye to. Of course it’s not a reasonable solution. Especially considering I plan to leave again in less than three weeks. I’ve learned that not only do the things worth having require hard work, but they may even end before you are ready.
Although Ashley’s Internet access has improved, the drinking water situation has not:
First water topic – I am really thirsty! I have a quarter liter left in my water bottle so you would think I would quench my thirst. However, we have been without running water for about 3 days. That means that when you turn the faucet, there’s nothing there. We had some water stored in the freezer, but today when I opened it, there was no more left. We all knew it was coming. We rationed pretty well considering. 10 liters of water for 16 people for 3 days. I just hope it comes back fast.
We are concerned. Although the orphanage has deep wells and generators to power the pumps, something broken in the filtration system is preventing their use. I’d say it’s time for the old standby: boiling water and bleach.
Please keep Ashley and the orphanage in your prayers.
Ashley has been calling us daily (or more often) as Noel has wreaked havoc in the Dominican Republic. Tonight she called to say that the proper humidity, clear skies, available electricity, and spare time have converged to equal Internet access. I have mail!
Hey Dad. I am doing well. We survived the Storm. It continued until late this morning when they decided to hold school but only for an hour and a half. Two of the teachers completely lost their homes. Others had feet and feet of water, and animals floating through their homes. The death count is 127 children, 60 women, and 30 men. Another storm is coming from the north and is expected to last two weeks. Keep us in your prayers. We are supposed to have school tomorrow but it will be a tough day. These kids have been cooped up inside for a week. Anyways, I am doing well, I’ll call later, but here are some blogs concerning the storm and one from before. Love you all!
I’ve published the posts on Ashley’s blog. You can find them at the following links.
Ashley called again today. We had a little more time to talk this morning (and maybe we’re better able to talk, having already processed that our daughter is in a flood in a distant country).
Although the weather maps show tropical storm Noel as having moved away north and west, the orphanage is still getting heavy rain. Ashley says the water continues to rise, with ten inches of water in the front yard now. The raised sidewalk around the house and out to the front remains above water, though. Once again, they won’t have school today.
Ashley assumed flooding is a regular event near the orphanage since heavy rain is so common but was told that they’ve never had flash flooding in that area before.
The power came on for about five hours last night so Ashley was able to charge her cell phone. They were probably able to run the well pumps to refill the fresh water tanks on top of the houses. Internet access via satellite is still blocked by the rain.
When I told Ashley that the news had reported 6-8 deaths in the Dominican Republic from Noel, she said shacks housing around 60 people across the road from the orphanage had been washed away in the middle of the night. The status of the people is unknown.
Please keep the Dominican Republic in your prayers.
The ringing of the telephone woke me this morning. It was Ashley, “Just in case the Dominican Republic is in your news today, I wanted you to know I’m okay.”
The National Hurricane Center in Miami called Noel, which formed Sunday, “a major flood threat.” The storm could dump 8 to 12 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, with totals as high as 20 inches in some areas.
The rain is flooding in and around the orphanage where Ashley is working. One of the homes has a foot of water in it. The back of Ashley’s home has three inches of water against its foundation. Although they have no power, this is a common occurrence and may not be related to the storm.
There have been no injuries at the orphanage, but the status of some students who live off-campus was not yet known.
Ashley asked that the orphanage be remembered in our prayers.