Dominician Republic

The Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise has been working in the Dominican Republic since the hurricane devastated the island in September 1998.

The first trip to the town of Consuelo in October 1998 was by two rotarians, Blair Buchanan and Bob Jarvest together with chain saws and generators. Since then, many members have visited and worked on various projects in Consuelo and the bateys (small communities) located in the sugar cane fields which surround Consuelo.

Bob Jarvest is known in the Dominician as Sr. Roberto....since his first trip in 1998 he has continued with no signs of stopping.  Whitby Sunrise Rotarians venture to the DR every spring to assist Bob in helping others.  From the installation of solar lights to bringing food to those who have virtually nothing, Bob's work is appreciated and noticed by many.

Our partners in Consuelo are three Grey Sisters who have lived and worked in Consuelo for over 50 years. The Grey Sisters are Canadian nuns whose mother house is located in Pembroke, Ontario. The Grey Sisters, an order of Nun’s founded in Canada in 1737, have been working in the Dominican Republic since 1951.

Viva La Loma

“La Loma” is an adult training center in the small town of Consuelo, Dominican Republic (approx 1½ hrs East of Santo Domingo). The Grey Sister’s of the Immaculate Conception established La Loma in 1997.
La Loma’s purpose was to train locals for the emerging resort industry. In 2001 the local sugar mill closed, and as a result, the school was besieged with people wishing to be retrained and thus find work. The school was unable to accommodate the increased demand. In 2001 a Canadian Rotarian, Bob McAllister & friend Bob Kirk rode bicycles from Whitby, Ontario to Chicago, Illinois in order to raise money for an addition to La Loma. By raising $35,000, a new building was constructed and opened in 2004. Last year (2006) saw 314 graduates in areas such as waiter/waitress, bartending, small engine repair, & plumbing to list a few. All found placement in their area of study. This is significant since the unemployment rate of the region prior to La Loma was 90%. Ongoing stewardship of La Loma is carried out by Infotep (approx. English translation: Institute National Formation of Technical Professionals). Infotep is a Dominican agency controlled by private sector and government funding. They provide salaries for teachers, along with curriculums for various courses. An Infotep diploma is internationally recognized, thus students graduating from La Loma can find work throughout the Caribbean and around the world. La Loma has just been recognized for Educational Excellence by Spanish American countries, and will receive this prestigious award in Panama later this year. Due to its success, La Loma expanded once again. The new building was constructed with the provision of adding a second floor at a later date. That later date was in 2009.  In 2008, 8 people rode bicycles from Vancouver BC to Calgary AB to raise funds for an expansion of the school ( Construction was completed in the fall of 2009. Dominican Republic - Bob and Margaret Jarvest Lead the Way Take a look at the fantastic work being done in the Dominican Republic by our very own Bob Jarvest and his amazing wife Margaret, along with a host of other Whitby Sunrise Rotarians.
Above: Bob Jarvest inspects typical home for the purpose of installing solar power
Bob describes the children with Brittle Bones disease and the work that Linda Raney and Sean Perry had done with the Shriners Hospital. It should be noted that, this is an ongoing project, as Bob has a 4th child in mind. Bob spoke about Bob McAllister’s bike ride to Chicago to help fund the school and then the massive undertaking of biking from Vancouver to Calgary with other Rotarians (Barry, Sean, Blair and Peter) to raise over $100,000 for the La Loma project. It was so cool to see a picture of Salon de Bob McAllister, a classroom in Bobs name.The work didn't stop there either.Since then, there are several ongoing projects including the bio-sand Water Filter Project and the Solar Lights project, providing excellent hands-on experience for those who may wish to go.
Above: Installation of solar lighting Bobs wife Margaret manages the food drives, with a bag of food for every family she can reach. Each bag contains enough food for a week for a family of 5.
Bob continued with a brief history of the building of the seniors centrein the Bateys, and how Rotary had helped. He reviewed the new Seniors Centre that was under construction and once again highlighted the grant we received with the assistance of Rob Morton.
Bob spoke of a few of the challenges in the Dominican, and the quirks of the people. He mentioned what he had learned from mistakes he had made in the past, and plans for the future. Bob said that his greatest joy, was working with Craig Howie down in the Dominican. Thanks Bob. A fantastic presentation by a fantastic Rotarian. Bob has been down in the Dominican 23 times, often for 6 week stretches. We are lucky to have him as a part of the Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise.Here are a few highlites;
Above:Bob Jarvest and Blair Buchanan building a swing set.
The Welcoming Committee How could you not keep going back with those smiles!
School supplies for a teacher who is assisting adults to read and write in the bateys.