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Day 3: Cultural Day/Rehab Hospital

Today was a different, yet still exciting day. Last year we did our culture day Wednesday after we had two clinic says under our belt, but the way the schedule fell this year it worked better to have our culture day a day earlier this year. On last year’s trip, we found out that Kristin, the foundation for peace missionary, had recently discovered a rehabilitation hospital in Santo Domingo so we visited it and meet the director and various administrators. We returned again this year and had a more serious talk with the director and several of the administrators. This is a truly complete rehab hospital they have departments of PT, OT, a complete prosthetics/orthotics lab, and also provide some early intervention services along with running a school for children with disabilities. As the children finish school they have some life skills training in addition to vocational training. There is a wood shop (furniture), an electronics shop, a wheel chair shop, a second wood shop where they make puzzles, games, and therapy materials/manipulatives (think Melissa & Doug-esque toys). We were able to see the various shops and observe some of the classrooms.

There is a speech and hearing department with 8 individuals working as SLPs/SLPAs. There is also an audiologist every Thursday morning. One of the most critical desires of the director is to develop staff training opportunities for speech, audiology, and SPED. Dr. Wark, or director of graduate programs and an audiology faculty member is on the trip so he was able to contribute greatly to the discussion. The general plan we came up with is to look at establishing some type of post-bachelor’s certificate for their staff around 12 hours in each of the three hours with the long term goal of looking at a possible distance degree program. Also with the SPED program there was discussion about providing training for their local education professors who can then instruct regular education students. This project will of course require collaboration with the college of Education.

We spent the afternoon walking around part of the historical district following a delicious lunch at the Hotel Conde, one of the more well known hotels in Santo Domingo. We visited the first cathedral in the New World. I always love seeing the architecture and quality of these old churches throughout Latin America. We then headed to the market, didn’t buy much just a few small paintings that are supposedly reflective of the indigenous Taino people.

We returned to the house relatively early which was nice as it gave us a chance to brainstorm for Thursday’s trip to Casa de Luz. Tomorrow’s activities will be construction/ manual labor in one of the bate’s west of town (Haitian camps/barrios). Being on the cinder blocks!
Food watch: lunch at the hotel was fabulous. I had chillo al ajillo (whole red snapper in a garlic sauce) with an avocado salad, a half avocado sliced, topped with oil, vinegar, and a dash of salt incredibly delicious. Can’t forget the Coca-Cola with cane sugar which is adjusted a treat. Dinner was choc chicken and beef tacos with MORE YUMMY AVOCADOS!