WEIGHT: 59 kg
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We hope that this brief overview will help leaders of other teams selected to work with the San Francisco de Macoris affiliate. Almost all of the team members flew into Santiago. One team member found a cheaper flight into Santo Domingo and took a 2-hour ride on a public bus to Santiago.
As in most all developing countries, HFH GV staff requested that our team meet early enough to travel on roads in daylight. Early arrivals stayed at the Hotel Platino www. The hotel is very comfortable, and it is safe to walk around the area. The hotel does have several very helpful English-speaking staff people. Although it is the 3rd largest city in the DR, we found little about San Francisco online other than it is known for its agriculture — primarily rice and cacao, the plant from which cocoa is made.
We looked forward to living in one of the greenest places in the country. Unfortunately, San Francisco de Macoris is a very tough city with significant drug and prostitution problems. We were cautioned to never go anywhere unescorted. Everyone — including the GV staff, the local Habitat committee members and the masons we worked with — were very protective of us and ensured that all of our activities were safe.
Photo courtesy of Geralyn Thompson. The two person rooms are very simple and adequate, each having a private bathroom and screens on the windows. There are several indoor and outdoor meeting areas that team members could use to play games and have conversation. Photo courtesy of Kevin Yavorcik. The team enjoyed the wonderful food prepared by the staff; breakfast and dinner in the dining hall, and a daily lunch delivered to the construction site by the Center staff.
On a non-working day, team members had fun helping with kitchen duties. The Center is in a gated compound that has security staff 24 hours, and Sister was very diligent about keeping our team and our possessions secure. We brought a hard-sided, locking suitcase in which team members secured their valuables. Sister Milagros insisted that we secure the suitcase in her room with our heavy bicycle cable and padlock when we were away from the Center.