Dominican Republic, May 23-25, 2008:
Rolando Vasquez, American Airlines Purser, Reports:
Airline Ambassador/Kids4Kids Hand Delivery of $150,000.00
Worth of Aid in Mission to Cien Fuegos
North Santiago, Dominican Republic
"The Story of a Burning Trash Dump Community"
The American Airlines Team totaled over 25 volunteers and included volunteers, Mr. Gary Bosciano and Renzo Rodriguez, American Airlines Platinum members and founders of Children of Eros foundation.
Kids4Kids and Spirit Airlines brought teams as well.
The volunteers cleared customs and prepared to deliver over 22 boxes, as well as many pieces of luggage carrying aid, for this mission.
As the mission began,
the volunteers were introduced to each other and shortly after,
the dump trash tour took place.
The Burning Dump
The Trash Dump Community
And...Trash Dump Survival
The mission team, including the American Airlines Santiago Ground staff volunteers, were enthused and ready to begin the work.
Once briefed, the group proceeded to the
Congresion Christiana Church and began sorting bundles of clothing to begin the hand delivery distribution.
The water hoses to bathe the needy children, the barbers to cut their hair, the volunteers to cut their nails and dress them were assigned. Waiting in line for a Bath
We assigned duties to all volunteers and some exchange duties throughout the day.
The poor families and children of Cien Fuego began to form lines.
We started the distribution of clothing,
toys and other items.
It was an ongoing process.
Lines formed for hours.
We were all happy in participating and volunteered tirelessly.
At about 1:20 P.M., lunch was available to all of us and we took a recess for about 45 minutes or so.
After the break, we continued the process of distribution, bathing, cutting hair, teaching the children hygiene, dressed them and handed clothing to the community until 6:00 p.m.
Throughout the day, some volunteers
managed to go to the field and watched the baseball team play with the new uniforms and baseball shoes.
The Children of Eros organization offered and committed to fix the so called baseball field by leveling it, and by placing all the required items to make it a full baseball field.
Baseball Field (above photo)
It was amazing how the children were transforming from dirty and unkept, to fresh and clean. Most of the children had not taken a bath for months. It was sad but we kept on with our focus of helping them throughout the day.
Different children kept coming and they received clothing, baths, haircuts, hygiene and were given toys.
The parents were given advice, clothing, etc. as well.
We the volunteers focused in the project and managed to accomplish all that we volunteered for.
The First Lady of The Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeno de Fernadez, was invited to participate. She called to excuse herself and promised the Pastor’s wife that she will make it on the next Cien Fuegos Mission.
I personally, commend all volunteers and can’t thank each one of them enough for their efforts and support.
The Airline Ambassadors team organized a piñata party for the needy children, too. We were able to decorate the area with balloons, candy, piñata, and more toys. It was a success. The children were excited and expressed how happy they were, they shook hands with us and embraced me. They all wanted to hit the piñata. There were over 100 children forming lines in order to be the next person to hit the piñata.
The day was a success. We were tired but happy that we helped these needy children and their community. We were sad to leave so much poverty behind.
Their faces expressed how much they appreciated having the volunteers come to help and bring hope to all of them.
I’m happy to have been a part of this team to participate and represent American Airlines-Airline Ambassadors volunteer team. I will gladly return to coordinate another mission to Cien Fuegos or any needy areas in the near future.
I am already missing the children’s faces.
First Child Receiving Hygiene Care
With my heart I want to thank American Airlines, my New York flight service Manager, Tom Pawlukiewicz, Gail Berger, Yota, New York M.O.D. and Airline Ambassador, Nancy Rivard, for allowing me to touch so many lives. My willingness to volunteer is saving and helping the needy children of the world. We can bring hope if we all work together in fighting poverty by giving a better quality of life.
Truly and sincerely,
A Proud UNICEF Champion For Children
AA JFK Purser