A Visit to a Dominican House in the Country by Matt & Ben

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.


  1. Ian says:

    Hi Matt and Ben – great story – …. have told Sam we’re going to go without electricity and live by candlelight…. he said that would be “coooolll!!!” Not sure, at 4, he has completely worked out the downsides – perhaps we’ll have a DR day for our New Year’s Eve Party buddies… Think the health authorities might have something to say about adopting toilet types though…. (though we do have a toilet in a cupboard!!)
    Hope you’re all having a wonderful Madventure – we all love reading all about it!!!
    Ian, Chloe, Sam and Caitlin x

    • Al says:

      Didn;t want to elaborate too much about the shower and loo but if you read Lin’s description below of her aunt’s house in Malaysia you’ll ge the picture. If you want a DR style NYE you’ll need to turn the central heating up to 30, disconnect yourself from the National Grid and mains water and invite a family of hungry mosquitoes round to use you as the buffet! Just kidding, Loving our adventure but bits of it do defy belief!
      Keep your comments coming, we love them
      MAdventure MAdre

  2. Azlin Bloor says:

    Hi Ben and Matt, this story brings back some very old memories for me. I remember visiting an old grand aunt in Malaysia when I was very little, probably around your age. She lived out in the sticks and the showers and toilets were outdoors. The shower was more like a huge tub of water that you scooped up with a little jug! The toilets were little holes in the ground – I shan’t describe them, they were gross!
    Keep your wonderful stories coming!
    Lin x

    • Al says:

      Hi Bloors
      Didn’t want to elaborate too much about shower and the toilet but you have the picture! Our cold shower and intermittantly flushing loo seemed positively luxurious when we got home!
      Keep your thoughts coming, we love to hear from you.
      MAdventure MAdre

  3. Ted & Liz says:

    A very interesting story Matt & Ben, I will check to see if your Nana & Grandpa have opened it on their computer.

    Love Liz & Ted xxx

  4. caroline britton says:

    Hi Ben & Matt,

    We love hearing about your experiences – you describe things very clearly, puts quite a picture in our minds!!!! Keep having fun.

    Love Caroline & Andy xx

  5. Alex Lochhead says:


    the two girls sound really nice, but the house doesnt sound so good. I’d like to come on holiday to see you. hope you are all ok.

    p.s mum says youve written a brilliant story, really well described. love to you all

  6. Al says:

    Hi Alex
    Thanks for reading our story. It is really great to hear from you. Are you getting excited about Christmas? How’s the juniors? Are you doing a Christmas play? We don’t finish school until Dec 23. Send us another message, we love to hear from our friends at home.
    Love Matthew & Benxx

  7. The Albones says:

    Hey Ben and Matt
    Hope your having a great time there sounds really nice.
    I’m at Sharon and Pauls house for Catherine’s birthday party.
    Hope you guys have a great Christmas there, what will you have for a Christmas dinner?
    Anyway looking forward to seeing you when you get home next year!
    Your friend Matt Olliff

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