My name is Rachel Ng and I was the leader of the day. The Question of the Day was What does the word help mean to you? How should help and international aid be delivered to benefit the community, to make it more independent and sustainable? We started exploring this issue at the academic seminar in the morning. The discussion was sparked off by a the statement that United States should not give money to other countries until we solve our own problems. Many, including myself, disagreed because there are problems much more drastic in other countries compared to the problems in the U.S. However, it is upsetting how 50% of the U.S.’s international aid goes to our allies against terrorism and drug trafficking, who don’t have the biggest need in money. The quote of the day of “Mass poverty, famine, and murder blight our globe. However, the understandable desire to do something should not become an excuse to maintain the counterproductive policies of the past For five decades foreign assistance has failed to deliver self-sustaining economic growth or prevent poor societies from collapsing into chaos. New aid flows will do no better.”- Doug Bandow. As Lucia says, the words “help” and “aid” are unsuitable because it implies a condescending attitude. Countries shouldn’t give money blindly for charitable satisfaction without considering the other country’s economy, agriculture, development, etc. For example, the U.S.’s cheap import of rice into Haiti out compete the local rice agriculture and stumped Haiti’s development. The aid given to other countries should support their own efforts of development.
To better understand aid and development, we traveled to El Batey where FUNDASEP has installed programs to help the community. Before leaving for El Batey, the director of FUNDASEP, Wilma, gave us an introduction to what we will see today. She said that we need to solve the necessities of the community in order to solve the problems that they have. It is important for us to see the reality, identify ourselves with the reality, and finally reconstruct that reality. When we arrived, the community at El Batey gave us a warm welcome by singing a prayer and reciting a beautiful poem. Then they gave us a presentation describing how the community is divided into specialised teams in charge of different programs such as primary health care, house construction, orientations for young mothers, etc. Because of the lack of access to health care, he community themselves dedicated a home to treat infants, children, or elders who suffer from fever and diarrhea. The locals also showed us the bathrooms built so that women have not only more safety but also higher self-esteem. All these changes are important to create a “dignified life” for a human being because people can have the necessities of life. A big theme among these programs is community involvement and sustainability. To make something sustainable, the members of the community were trained to treat the sick, construct aqueducts, build homes, and install bathrooms. These are role models of sustainable projects that we should get inspiration from as we design and deliver our Community Action Project. When we make changes to the ludoteca and sala de lector-escritura, we must involve the members of the community and make sure they can continue the project after we leave. We would not be there to help them as an outsider, but rather to support their efforts of development made by themselves.
After we returned, we have a program seminar about writing letters to our sponsors to express our gratitude and personal impacts of the trip. Then we had english preparation before we teach English at Colegio Lucillle Rupp. Today was less regulated without the presence of our GG leaders, Max and Victoria, who had a day off in Santo Domingo without the students. Although the students were obnoxious at times, we still learned a lot from FUNDASEP and taught effectively during english class.