Sunday, July 31, 2011

We found a nursing home!!!

We will be donating the equipment to a new nursing home in St. Vincente De Paul. This nursing home is perfect for many reasons.
Esperanza, one of the residents of the home, was serenading us with her sweet voice. 

  1. St. Vicente De Paul is located in Los Minas Sur, a poor area in the Dominican Republic. Poverty is visible throughout. Garbage thrown throughout the streets, houses run down, beggars all over the streets (common in the DR). 
  2. St. Vicente De Paul nursing home is presently located on the third floor of the Catholic School. The nursing home is only temporarily located there while a new location is being built (slow process given the low resources). 
  3. Because the area is predominately Catholic, and locals are avid church goers this nursing home also gives equipment to those in need. In other words, locals who do not have the resources to pay for medical equipment ask the church for help. This is great news for the Camelia Institute in that we will be able to donate to more people than anticipated-- the seniors and community members.  
We anticipate the actual donations to occur on Thursday, when a few family members will be in town. Because the organization is named after my grandmother Camelia, many want to be a part of the first donations a day before her 5th anniversary.

One of the rusted wheelchairs presently at St. Vicente De Paul. 

Until next time!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Raining Cats and Dogs

It has been raining continuously since I landed in the DR. Even though I'm not made of sugar and won't melt, I really hope the rain stops. It will help us ask around for different centers, and actually enable us to be able to visit different nursing homes/ community centers.

Until next time <3 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Greetings from DR!

Greetings from the Dominican Republic!!

Quick update:

  • Baggage was lost for 3 days, traveled more than I did (Atlanta, Mexico, Panama)... thanks, Delta? First couple of days was spent on the phone with Delta, travelling to and from the airport, tracking baggage status, etc. This put me completely off my game, pushing back a few things...
  • We have sorted and cleaned the equipment, and are presently looking for a nursing home with a visible need of the equipment. We've seen some nursing homes which fare better than others, we want to be sure the ones we donate have an immediate need for the equipment. AKA drastic improvement to their quality of life 
  • The Camelia Institute originally wanted to donate equipment to Dajabon, a province boarding Haiti. Though things in our plan have changed given the increasing black market in the area, my family and I went to the area with a few walkers and canes to donate to elders. Unfortunately, we were only able to donate one cane to an elder man, given the deplorable conditions in the area. More than medical equipment, the area needs a clinic, doctors, and equipment. This will enable seniors to get the care they deserve, and help seniors and their families have a higher quality of life. (Future project?)
To Be Continued...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I've been slacking with the pictures, my apologies on that. Here is a picture of some of the goodies we are giving out to our viejitos. 

Yes, there ARE sweets. Who doesn't love sweets? (We also purchased sugar free candies for our Diabetic friends).

Progress "Report"

Equipment is in the Dominican Republic!!! You know what that means, right? We are one step closer to distributing these items to seniors in need.

Next stop: Going to the Dominican Republic to begin the search for a nursing home in actual need. Having visited the Dominican Republic annually, I have seen firsthand how certain items end up being sold into the black market. This is a risk I'd like to reduce as much as possible. By visiting multiple nursing homes in impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic, we will be able to determine whether our equipment will get proper usage. We will also be able to determine which nursing homes will benefit from the equipment collected by the Camelia Institute for the future.

I'm super excited and happy to see the project come to fruition. I won't lie though, I am also a bit anxious and nervous since this is a new experience for us.

Please keep us in your thoughts & prayers and send positive energies our way!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Promise is a Promise! -- Updates :)

 Have you ever had sooo much to say, yet when putting your thoughts on paper you don't know where to start? Yeah, that's certainly us at the moment... I guess I should start off by saying we are incredibly EXCITED and happy to finally make our dream one step closer to reality!  We thank EVERY single person involved in this process, we could not do this without you! Although there are still a few steps involved in the delivery of the medical equipment to seniors in the Dominican Republic, we are still elated that things are in motion and about 60% complete! I know I've mentioned it more than once already but I really cannot contain my happiness! We cannot wait to see the smiles of our viejitos when receiving the equipment & goodies we will have for them.

Okay okay, enough about the excitement we are feeling (for now at least ). Time to let you know what we have been up to. We made this promise to you in the past, a promise is a promise! 

What we've been up to:
  • Cibaeno Shipping- I know I've mentioned them in our previous post, but they are worth mentioning again! From the first time the Camelia Institute has reached out to Cibaeno Shipping, they have offered us incredible advice and service! They have helped us understand the different requirements and regulations involved in shipping items to the Dominican Republic. Thanks again Cibaeno Shipping, in particular Ana M.!
  • Equipment pickups- You probably don't know that our very first donated equipments were dropped off- thank you Rafael C.! The remaining equipment was picked up in shifts by Lutful, my wonderful parents Eugenio & Milagros, and myself. Equipment was collected primarily from Brooklyn, though we did venture into the Bronx and Queens. We now have 21 medical equipment thanks to all of your donations and help!!! A special thanks to Jessica R., Sara Y., and Diana for your kind donations.Our inventory now includes walkers, canes, shower chairs, crutches, and commodes. We also have a wheel chair :)
    • Although we picked up equipment from multiple locations, we were unable to collect all of the pledged items for our summer 2011 shipment. Thank you Liz C., Natalia R. and Mario R. for your pledges- please hold on to the equipment for the next round.    
  • Sanitizing equipment- Once the equipments were picked up, we inspected the items once more to ensure safety. We tested the equipment ourselves, ensuring the equipment functioned properly without any problems. Almost all of the equipment we procured passed the test! We did have to discard one item which was not in the best condition or shape. After our second inspection, we sanitized the equipment with hot water and detergent. (We intend on repeating this process in the Dominican Republic once the items are shipped).
  • Packaging equipment- Our equipment was nicely packaged by my dad and myself (Lutful couldn't be there because of his summer course). We used large plastic bags to cover the equipment, and labeled each package with our Logo and contact information. 
    • You can see pictures here: 
  • Equipment pick up- The boys from Cibaeno Shipping were super helpful when they picked up our equipment. They gave us a great price too! If you ever want to ship anything to the Dominican Republic, I highly recommend their service!  Our equipment will arrive in the Dominican Republic in mid July, can't wait to donate them to our viejitos!
    • (pictures of the pick-up to follow)
  • Purchasing items for goodie bags- Aside from donating medical equipment to a nursing home in the DR, we want to give our seniors a special surprise. We have already purchased some items that will be handy for everyday use such as hand sanitizer, lotions, tooth brushes, & reading glasses. We have also purchased some sweets to put into the bags, to sweeten their lives ;) We are considering purchasing an item which can be used continuously, such as tee shirt's, night gowns, or even bed sheets but that depends on how much it will cost. If we can't afford it this year, we've always got next year, right?  
  • Website went live- If you haven't had a chance to look at our website, I HIGHLY encourage you to have a look. Lutful did an incredible job! Don't you just love the banner? The banner happens to be my personal favorite! 
Until next time!