domingo, 2 de marzo de 2014

On Time Another Month!

So I am happy to announce that this school year we have a pretty perfect record as far as paying teachers on time! Thank the Lord! This fundraising has been a problem ever since late 2008, and now we are back on track it seems! Also, thanks to the start up help of Project Esperanza's mom, named Larissa, we have an "office" in town... just a tiny room with a tiny bathroom, one block from the Malecon and ocean and one large block from La Sirena, the Wal-Mart. This post is a picture explanation of the office and of the way we record teacher attendance and pay teachers each month. So nothing too exciting about directly helping kids, but the behind the scenes stuff that goes on to make it possible that we help kids. 


So this was our bedroom/office. It was taken from the doorway so this is the entirety of the room, and it is the bigger of the two bedrooms in our house. Jeres, Ilayas, Maraya, and I sleep here and Yenilove and Junior in the other room. To get an idea of the whole house, read the No More Mrs. Nice Guy post and then imagine that two more kids moved in a month later. :) This is the picture that I sent to Larissa when I requested her help in renting a small office space in town. Plus, a volunteer placement organization that visited in August shared some critiques of Project Esperanza as far as it's predicted ability to be able to accommodate a higher amount of volunteers, and one was that we had no office in town. The hopes are that the cost of renting this new space will be offset by volunteer trip fees. 


Here is our new little office. If you want to send something or stop by, the address is Calle Vista Alegre No. 9, Puerto Plata, Republica Dominicana. 


This picture is taken in front of a business two houses down from the office. If you look hard, you can see the clear blue ocean water. I didn't take a picture looking to the right, but it's a shady, quiet street, one block down from a main street passing through town, full of businesses. It's right by the police station, soccer field, and sports complex in town. It's also a short walk from the Montesorri school I would love to send Ilayas and Maraya to next year. Walking down this shady street, I feel like I could be in Winchester, Virginia. And I thank God for this location, as there are so many streets that are very busy, or too sunny, or too noisy, but I do feel like this is just right. 


This photo is taken across the street from the office. If you peek through those trees, you can see the large yellow building that is La Sirena. If you don't know, La Sirena is the closest thing we have to a Wal-Mart. You can get most things there. 


La Sirena had some great sales on Friday! We are preparing to start doing school meals in Padre Granero, as we have some donated food items we can't let go to waste! I add in that part because, we don't actually have any extra funds available to do it, but are trying to get it going! And although this office is so close and convenient to store such things, I have to remember that when alone, not to buy more than I can carry back. 


To the right when you walk in the door. Want to put in some shelves along the upper parts of the walls to store the soccer jerseys and such.


This is what is left over after making shoe box solar ovens. I once asked Luckner to go find some boxes so we could ship items for the online art shop and he came back saying he couldn't find any. I can't wait to see him again so I can show him this picture, and pictures from the solar oven activities! I went all around Puerto Plata and found over 60 boxes! So these leftovers can be used for more solar ovens or art shipments. Again, we need some shelves! And you see that big barrel? Those are items, mostly clothes, that we use as bingo prizes, donated by Martine in New York City. Those are tamper free barrels that cost $150 to ship, no matter the weight! E-mail Cole at nsalvitti@gmail.com if you would like to give her any items to ship down in the next shipment. 


And just the view from the other corner of the room. That green suitcase is full of antibiotics donated by the last Helping Hands medical group that was here. If you look in the first picture in this post of our room, it was right by our bed. Not ideal for a house with toddlers! And we now have two sewing machines, hoping to do more classes in both Padre Granero and Munoz. The boys voted to learn mechanics next, if we can get that together for the summer. I mention this because they are the only ones who have done a 3 month courts on the first machine we had. But Isuna in the art shop has used it some too. 


Tiny bathroom door...


To the tiny bathroom. I really wish it just didn't have a shower. But maybe it will get used and water will get all over the place or we will somehow rig up a shower curtain to go around the little corner...


And now our bedroom looks more like a bedroom, with a little tiny home desk. :) Now, a look at paying teachers....


Teachers sign every day when they arrive at school, put their time, and the time when they leave. The director initials to verify that what they wrote is correct. At the end of the month, the director gives me these pages. 


I make a little slip to summarize the days of school that month, the excused absences of the teacher, unexcused absences, and total minutes late. 



Each slip and the money goes into each teacher/employee's envelope. 


No checks for us yet. That would require there being money in a bank account when in reality, I spent two hours Saturday night first waiting in a horrific line at Western Union, (which is in La Sirena, so close!), then being told that the transfer number was not bringing anything up, then going to an internet center to look it back up and finding that I had copied it correctly, then calling my mom who handles the orgnaization's funds in the US, then her calling Western Union and answering some questions and then releasing it. I gave up and went home, then went back Saturday morning. And this was just for half of the funds. The other half were sent Xoom. Sending too much through one method often makes them hold it up longer. 



This is the pay sheet (from a previous month as you see it is already signed) that I give to each school director to distribute the envelopes and have everyone sign and date and then give the signed sheet back to me. 


And then everything goes in one envelope, to the director. Yesterday when I did this, I called both directors to invite them to the new office space and to pick up the envelopes, but didn't get a hold of them, gave up, and went home. They both called me back and ended up coming to my house later, which is another reason why I desperately wanted the office space, to make the home a more private space! But at the same time, I do value them as friends. And I'll show them the space another time. I took a picture of Madame Judith receiving the Munoz manila envelope but she didn't want me to post it on the Internet because she didn't like her appearance. 

And that is the system we have down to pay teachers! We have had directors in the past (one) that have more access to internet and are more computer savvy and they enter the teacher sign in and also student attendance into a shared Google Drive doc, but for now, we are all on paper. 


And thank you for reading! 

Don't forget, if you want to support this humanitarian/missionary/social activist, please consider using this credit card or these awesome gift options. Sign up as a customer here. I do not receive a salary for running Project Esperanza so it is necessary to try to raise support in some way to be able to continue to dedicate the necessary time to it. If you want to support Project Esperanza, learn how to do so here. Thank you and God bless! 


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