Sunday, November 13, 2011

As Promised...

On our very first day of picking up equipments in the Spring of 2011, the weather wasn't very favorable. It was raining continuously and to top it off, Lutful was battling the flu! Despite the weather conditions and Lutful's temperature, we managed to collect a few equipments, which by the way were in excellent condition!! The success of the first pickup gave us the momentum needed to continue collecting equipment. We ended up collecting over 20 items (not including the items which are pledged) for our first shipment overseas!! 
With the help of my wonderful family, the Camelia Institute was able to sanitize and package the equipment collected. We also ensured that the items were safe and usable by performing small tests. Of the equipment collected, we only had to discard a pair of crutches which were unstable and faulty. After sanitizing the equipment, we sorted and packaged the items to ensure the items would arrive together, not getting lost in transit. Once neatly packaged, our friends from Cibaeno Shipping came to our rescue! Not only have they provided the Camelia Institute with important resources, they also provided us a discount. (If you're reading this Cibaeno Shipping, thank you!)
Items arrived in the Dominican Republic a few weeks later, where family members accepted the equipment on my behalf. I (Jennifer) then flew in to the Dominican Republic on a quest to find a nursing home which NEEDED the equipment the Camelia Institute had in its possession. Although things hadn't gone according to plan thanks to Delta sending my luggage to a different state plus 2 additional countries, I eventually received my luggage (not as shipped, but c'est la vie) and was able to go out and explore the various nursing homes in the Dominican Republic. We searched, and eventually found a nursing home that seemed to be a perfect fit for the Camelia Institute. We met the viejitas at the home, and spoke with various staff members. We questioned why a nursing home would be on the third floor of a building with no elevators. We asked who was paying for the viejitas to live there. We asked questions upon questions to ensure we would be giving the donations to the RIGHT organization. We felt we found the right fit, and decided this organization would benefit from the items the Camelia Institute collected...

We delivered the equipment on August 7th! (One of the BEST days of my life).  We prepared goodie bags  for the residents in St. Vicente nursing home in addition to the 'real' donations, the medical equipment. Residents were extremely happy with our presence (and presents too!).  We had a total of 6 volunteers (myself included) for delivery. Overall- GREAT experience!

I'd like to note that not all equipment was donated at once to the nursing home. We donated the bulk of equipment collected, not all of the equipment since we wanted to ensure our equipment wasn't being  misused or end up in black markets. 

Now that we've completed our first project, we are looking forward to what's to come for the Camelia Institute!  Excited to plan and execute our next trip to help improve the quality of life of our seniors!
UNTIL next time!!!

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