On Sunday we went to a Dominican house in a town 60 km from here called Samana. The house was 70 years old and made of wood. It was the house where our friend Ana Luz lived from 4 to 19 years old (she’s now 53).
The house was in the country down a rocky road that was very bumpy indeed. It had no tarmac and was made of rubble.
It had a tin roof that had holes in and there were big gaps between the walls and the roof. The windows had no glass and no shutters so when it rains the rain comes into the house. It was painted blue.
The house had no running water. There was a big tank outside to catch the rain and a small tap to get the water out. This is their water for everything except drinking. They fill up a bucket from here for washing up, for washing themselves and flushing the toilet. There was an old washing machine outside that they fill up from buckets. It has a hose to empty it. There were no drains so the mucky water runs down a ditch in the garden. They have big bottles of water for drinking.
The toilet was in a big cupboard outside and there was another cupboard for washing. There was also a big plastic bath standing outside on concrete blocks.
There was a small sitting and dining room and kitchen. There were two bedrooms but no doors between the rooms, only curtains.
The house is connected to the electricity but the supply is very unreliable. There was no electricity whilst we were there so when it went dark the house was black apart the light from two small candles. It was great to watch the fire flies racing around the house in the dark.
The kitchen had a table, a sink with no tap and two concrete shelves but no cupboards. There was a cooker and a charcoal pit for cooking. Lots of things here are made of concrete because they make lots of it cheaply in this country.
Outside the house were big piles of rubble and sand that we could play on. There were plantain trees and chickens. There was no driveway or garden.
Addendum from mum:
Despite the harsh living conditions, the house was clean and cosy and the two girls gave us a big warm, Dominican welcome. Somehow, in the pitch dark, they cooked a wonderful meal of tasty pasta, bread and hot chocolate for the 12 of us who arrived (probably unannounced) including 6 total strangers (our family). It was served on lovely china plates and which we balanced on our knees in the dark. It was a wonderful and extremely humbling experience. We never cease to be amazed by the generosity of the Dominican people. The two girls had very little but the little they had they kindly shared with us. All we could do was offer our profound thanks and humility in our best (but very inadequate) Spanish; we couldn’t even offer to help with the clearing up as it was pitch black.