Today we visited another centre in the same area as yesterday. It was much nearer a village with stores and gas pumps but still rural and the same situation of nice houses next to vacant properties, houses half built, and fields with cows and other farm animals.
The property for the Compassion centre itself was pretty amazing. The church purchased an empty warehouse and the adjoining field and proceeded to put a church, a cafeteria, classrooms for tutoring, and an area for basketball all inside this warehouse. In a shed outside, they even have two ambulances.
As part of the Compassion Intervention Program, the church submitted a proposal to build a baseball stadium in the field so that boys from 8-15 would have the opportunity to develop not only baseball skills but self-confidence and would have a safe place to do safe activities. The proposal was approved, the ground was prepared, the dugouts built, and stands put in place. They have a coach who played for a time in the major leagues who has trained them well. They are awesome players.
In addition to serving the children snack, we were once again greeted with hugs and music, and a welcome from the pastors. Three girls even sang a hymn in English for us. Very brave of them.
We had a tour of the complete facility including classrooms decorated with artwork just as we would see back home. Then we had an information time about the programme followed by another scrumptious buffet lunch. Then it was time for baseball. Not all of us Canadians played but those who did played well. Sometimes, though, it seemed as though the Dominican team was letting us score runs. Nonetheless, they came out on top.
Then it was time to go home so we presented our gifts to the staff and prayed for the centre and the children it serves and took a picture. I think the kids look great in their uniforms.
Cheers for now from the sunny DR!