Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wow, what a day! Today is our P-day but today we joined about 100 Elders and Hna.’s from the capital to do a very large service project. The service project wasn’t confined to our mission or even our church. It was called the “International Day of Coastal Cleanup”. It included the whole island, volunteers from all of the churches, civic clubs, businesses and government agencies.

The coast of the Dominican Republic sure needs to be cleaned up. There seems to be tons of trash everywhere we look in the DR. The Santo Domingo West Mission was assigned to clean up the Haina Harbor. This is a very busy port with huge cargo ships coming and going all the time. The port is on the Haina River as it reaches the ocean. A few years ago the Haina River in the DR was ranked the #2 most polluted rivers in the world! I believe it, the river is a floating sewer.

The Elders and Hna’s from the capital arrived at the Haina Harbor at about 7:30 this morning. Hna. Johnson and I used our passenger car and the AP’s used the mission van to shuttle all of the missionaries to the spot at the harbor where we were assigned to work.

After a brief orientation and opening prayer everyone went right to work picking up trash. There was no shortage of trash to pick up. It was very dirty work. Everyone was required to wear rubber gloves. To help officials measure the results of the nationwide cleanup campaign we were required to inventory the trash we picked up. The number of soda bottles, styrofoam cartons, shoes and other clothing, etc. Then each large trash bag had to be weighed and recorded.

We worked all morning. We were scheduled to stop a little before noon. We actually had to stop 20 minutes early because we ran out of trash bags. When we finished there was a mountain of full trash bags all piles up ready for pickup.

It was a great service project. Everyone worked hard and had a feeling of accomplishment when it was over. However, looking back at the stretch of coast we worked on for 4 hours, it was still covered in trash when we left. I think it would have taken triple the people and several days to really clean up that piece of beach.

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