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EMI DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – INTRODUCTION & ORIENTATIONYou're Going Where…?It's September 24th, Aaron Quaresma (Project Engineer from our Oakland office) and I arrived at Santo Domingo (the capital of the Dominican Republic). For those of you (like me) who aren't quite sure exactly where that is, the Dominican Republic (DR) is located in the Caribbean and shares the eastern portion of the island with Haiti. Aaron flew in from Haiti after finishing up his work with Build Change (see previous blog posts) while I flew in from LAX to meet up with the Engineering Ministries International (eMi) staff and the rest of the design team."Earthquake safety worldwide" meets "Designing a World of Hope"Here at Degenkolb Engineers, part of our purpose statement is to encourage and pursue earthquake safety worldwide. Just as a number of people from Degenkolb have been able to partner up with Build Change to promote earthquake safety in Haiti, on this trip, Aaron and I will be serving as the structural engineers to ensure that the final design is both safe, constructible (following local construction practice) and affordable. A little bit about EMI: EMI is a "non-profit Christian development organization made up of architects, engineers and design professionals who donate their skills to help children and families around the world step out of poverty and into a world of hope." They in turn achieve this by partnering up with local churches, understand their needs to reach out to their community, and help with the design process to implement and bring those ideas to fruition. You can learn more about them here.Who We're Helping (CCR)The local church that we're helping, Comunidad Cristiana de Restauracion (Christian Community of Restoration, CCR) is well known in the community for its active service. The first night, our hosts gave us a brief history of their church and all the different service opportunities they have been able to achieve. As Aaron and I sat there, we just couldn't believe how they managed to do so much, with a fraction of the resources that we have! The church is based in the community of Villa Duarte and is "surrounded by many marginalized barrios… where there are all sorts of needs such as: extreme poverty, malnutrition, alcoholism, drug addiction & dealing, riots, theft, gambling, uncollected garbage, illiteracy, gang violence, and unsanitary water. They run a total of 17 programs, some of which are:
  • Clean Water Program – Provides the community with water at roughly one-fifth the price of commercially available bottled water
  • Child Survival Program – Helps local pregnant mothers with health education and provision of heath services to significantly decrease infant mortality rates
  • Drug Rehabilitation Program – Helps those struggling with drugs to get out of a drug culture/environment and provides reeducation
You can find more about CCR here and here.A Little Bit About our Project…As camp facilities are not very common in the Dominican Republic, it has been both difficult and expensive to hold camps and retreats that provide an opportunity to reach out to the local youth. Having obtained around 14 acres of land, they hope to lead the way and create a large campsite that will prove helpful not only to their current programs but, similar to their water program, be able to serve the community by opening up the proposed facility for others to use as well (you can find more about our specific project here).Although situated on a beautiful hillside, there aren't any utilities on site, there's a harrowing river that needs to be crossed in order to get to the site, and by the way did we mention that a majority of the site is on a sloping hillside…?So it's definitely a good thing that our team consists of architects, civil engineers (drainage and site gradation), water engineers, land surveyors, an electrical engineer, a solar panel engineer, a bridge engineer, and a couple of structural engineers!At any rate, Aaron and I will try to keep you posted about our project as the work progresses and highlight some of the people we get to come across and meet during our stay here!In the meantime, here are some pictures for you to enjoy:CCR – The local church that is hosting us and where we spend most of the day working with the rest of the design team.Reminiscent of Fording the River on the Good Ole' Oregon TrailView of Site from Base of HillView of Site from Top of HillAaron asking local engineer Raul about local construction practice and available materials
Filed Under: Community, Degenkolb
Posted by noblestudios on September 27, 2011 9:53 AM
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