|LA PIEDRA—background history and most urgent current
Some of the oldest residents,
like Juan in the photo at right, remember life in La Piedra (its
name, appropriately, translates as “The Rock”) in the 1940s, around
70 years ago, when all the nearby Ingenio San Luis sugar lands and
the undeveloped lands around them were a small part of the vast estates
of “El Presidente” Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, the fierce dictator who
ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. After Trujillo´s assassination
in May of 1961, the Dominican government laid claim to all the surrounding
land and promptly sold thousands of square meters of it to an international
or U.S. company called Torre B (concrete facts about this company
are not available at this time).
topography. Karst topography refers to land that is composed principally
of highly soluble, very jagged rock, mostly limestone. It is the
farthest thing from agricultural land that most people can imagine,
even though the dirt that has collected in holes among the jagged
rock formations is highly fertile. La Piedra is also a very dry
region, although vast quantities of fresh water lie beneath the
parched rock in the underlying limestone catch basins…. Torre B?
The company abandoned whatever project it was that they’d had in
mind for La Piedra, and a few people who lived in nearby towns like
Toro de Baní and Guerra moved in to take over—the biggest business
of the time was cutting down and burning the local trees to make
charcoal, although some farmed the rocky land. Large stretches of
it, however, remained abandoned.
Day by day, Guanin Center, inc., is rescuing la Piedra community
with different projects and programs. We have begun educational
literacy project for adults, project build a latrines. Latrines
that will not allow waste materials to leach into and contaminate
the ground water. (The fresh water in the limestone basins below
La Piedra is part of a vast aquifer that provides drinking water
to the Capital.) Today most residents just dump urine and feces
into large pits or holes in the limestone outcroppings around their
homes. Educated and counseled the youth and adults about the pregnancy
prevention and the HIV the AIDS, programs of ESL for children. This
summer we are working in a summer camp for 100 children and youth
8 to 15 years old, beginning this June 28 to Julio 30, of the 2010.
Also we are working with Michigan University Medical Department,
Program director Dr. Reza Nassiri where we will build a permanent
clinic of first aids where, 1300 people will be beneficiary, among
children, youth and adults.