The Mission Office of the Diocese of Orlando has set three ambitious, but critical construction goals for 2016 to improve the safety and well-being of the people of our Sister Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic. Local villagers are working on the projects throughout the year, but Emmett Sapp, associate director with the Diocese of Orlando Mission Office says additional help through diocesan mission trips are essential for the projects to be completed in a timely manner. He invites all the faithful to join this important effort.
“Knowledge of construction is helpful and needed,” explains Sapp, “but the desire to show love and compassion for our marginalized family is the only requirement.”
The top priority is the construction of a safety barricade and erosion control system around one of the village schools. The St. Maximillian Kolbe Middle School in Los Frios is located on a beautiful mountainside overlooking a steep valley. A 2014 addition to the school created educational space for the growing student population but also created the need to install a safety barricade to protect the students from the drop-off outside their play area. Four hundred feet of 6 foot high fencing is required in addition to a 400 foot concrete culvert to stop water erosion that could threaten to undermine the foundation of the school. The Mission Office expects to complete this project in the beginning of April for the safety of the students and longevity of the school.
The remaining construction missions this year will focus on the village of El Montazo with the repair of a damaged aqua duct system and expansion of the school. On August 30, 1979 Hurricane David pummeled the Dominican Republic and completely destroyed the aqua duct system of El Montazo. Currently residents must hike to the site of the destroyed aqua duct and collect water in 5 gallon buckets to carry back to school or home.
Additionally, the increase in student population at the school in El Montazo has caused overcrowding. Initially the school was designed for preschool and kindergarten classes. Today the school serves children from pre-k to 4th grade. Due to a lack of space, 3rd and 4th graders must hike to a different building about a half mile away up a very steep hill. A new design will incorporate the open spaces around the school to keep all the students together.
“Don’t pass up this invitation to show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters living on the fringe,” says Sapp. “Working hand and hand with our less fortunate family will open hearts in life-changing ways for both yourself and our often forgotten community.”
Upcoming Construction Mission Dates:
- April 16-23, 2016
- April 23-30, 2016
- July 23 – 30, 2016
- July 30-August 6, 2016
- October 15-22, 2016
- October 22 – 29, 2016
For more information or to get involved, contact Emmett Sapp: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit orlando.diocesanweb.org/ministries-offices/mission-office