How do you help WOMEN...
who have no running water or electricity to take care of themselves?
This was the challenge facing St. Louis hairstylist Carmencita Perez as she prepared for her mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
“I was not nervous. I was very excited. My grandmother grew up in a small village in the mountains of Puerto Rico and so my anticipation was all cultural for me.” Packing wasn’t all about the most appropriate clothes for a different climate. “I got all my clients to donate products so we could have them available when we went to the Dominican Republic.” But once Carmencita arrived, she discovered she was getting an education too.
“I am a Latina woman! The people of the Dominican Republic educated me as well as confirmed what I have always known about the Latino Caribbean culture. We LOVE no matter what class, no matter how much money you have, or do not have! To remember to always have passion about life no matter what your situation is.”
Determination is what Carmencita found most inspiring about the women of the Dominican. “They never give up! They were determined to learn and they were determined to grow.” Life in the Dominican is different than it is here in the United States. “You will see small, one-room shacks, with no electricity most of the time. They use community water to cook outside. Some women, children and men don't even own shoes. Also, it is very common for young girls to be married and have babies, multiple babies.”
Kitchens in the Dominican are quite different too. Here in the United States, most kitchens are inside. But in the Dominican Republic, “Most kitchens are outside, and some of them use coffee cans with coal on the bottom as their cooking apparatus. They put their pots on top of the coffee can to cook. The Pujols Kitchen cookware works wonderfully on these created cooking structures.”
How can those of us who haven’t been to the Dominican help those in need? “There are many ways you can help in the Dominican Republic. Once a year you can volunteer and go to the Dominican Republic with a group like the Pujols Family Foundation. Also, you can donate products, money, or medicine to be delivered to the Dominican Republic through the Pujols Family Foundation.”
Thanks to the friendly people she met in the Dominican, Carmencita’s outlook on life was forever changed. “Life is too short not to help someone. We are all God's children and we should want to help others. Helping others can change your life.”
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