Quitman Rotary Club woman shines light on humanitarian work in Dominican Republic
Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Denise Monroe, active member of the Quitman Rotary Club, spoke to the Bainbridge club this week about the humanitarian efforts she has been engaged in since 2004 when she first went to the Dominican Republic.
Then, in 2009 she accompanied a group on a medical trip, taking much needed medical supplies to the remote areas. Now she goes twice a year — first in October to see what all is needed, then returns in March with a medical team from Ohio to help distribute the goods.
Her enthusiastic affiliation has also inspired the Quitman Rotary Club to take on the work as a club project.
She gave vivid descriptions of the abject poverty and extremely primitive living conditions of the people there.
She indicated as many as perhaps ten persons all live in a thatched one-room dwelling, and the only available water may be from what runs down a canal adjacent to the sidewalk.
Everything from butchering and cleaning of an animal to laundry and water for cooking comes from the same source. Consequently there are many water-borne illnesses such as E-coli and parasites.
She said when she first went to the area she was struck by the large numbers of kids she saw who had extra toes and/or fingers.
She clarified this by saying in these remote areas there are no police, abuses are not reported and many of the children are products of incest, and subject to birth defects. She went on to say there are many kids at age 8 or 9 who have full-blown STD’s.
The parents may make their kids available to an adult for a bag of rice or some other commodity.
Monroe also spoke of the intense hatred between the Haitians and the Dominican Republic citizens, to the point where Dominican doctors may refuse to work on Haitians.
The Quitman Rotary is heavily involved with the project, asking for donations from local pharmacies and physicians, many of whom set aside medicine samples for them.
She is encouraged by the results she has seen, indicating that every March since 2009 she has literally seen a mother bring a child into the clinic who would have been dead in one more day without medical help.
She witnessed one child who received a badly cut foot and the clinic had only two sutures and one Band-aid left to treat him.
They also make up small packs with such items as aspirin, Band-aids, toothpaste, etc. to distribute to the families.