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Community Connections

Students Travel to Dominican Republic

Carol Whittaker, Director and Assistant Dean of the Center for Global Health, traveled with twelve students to the Dominican Republic.  They were accompanied by Sony Stark, freelance videographer. 

A group of twelve University at Albany students, alumni and faculty members traveled over the recent spring break to El Seibo, Dominican Republic, one of the poorest provinces in the country, to participate in a service-learning project focused on a local Haitian community. Working with the Community Service Alliance (CSA), the Albany team partnered with ten members of a local community health promotion organization called PACES (Proyecto Alianza Communitaria El Seibo) to work on several projects. The work included providing nutrition advice, planting gardens and installing water filters.

Early in the trip, the Albany team visited two hospitals, one sponsored by a non-profit charity organization, “Fundacion Activo 20-30” and the other a public hospital administered by the Ministry of Public Health, observing the differences between the facilities and learning of the progress made, since our last visit in 2011, by the public hospital in reducing crowding in waiting areas, as well as expanding services being offered.

The team spent time clearing land, planting household gardens and assembling water filtration systems to provide families access to healthy  food items. In the Dominican Republic, the word "batay" refers to the communities ruled by sugar plantation owners where extremely poor and often uneducated residents, primarily Haitian immigrants, work to produce the sugar cane. For four Batay families, the UAlbany team transformed small plots of land into vegetable gardens,
and assembled water filters to provide safe water and abundant fresh vegetables.