Since the start of the pandemic, the leaders of the Los Toros Foundation, which is closely associated with the Los Toros Mission, are receiving many more requests from families for food. They are shifting priorities from less immediate needs to help ensure that people do not go hungry.
Health care and medicine have always been a challenge in Los Toros and now it is even more difficult. Though there is a hospital in Azua, it is poorly equipped. People who are seriously ill must travel two hours to a hospital in the capital. The limited number of hospital rooms and respirators is another concern. As the spread of the virus proceeds, it will be increasingly difficult to get medical care and the specialized equipment needed.
In Los Toros cellphones have become precious because some teachers are using WhatsApp to get assignments to high school students. Primary school students have no online classes and have very little to do. University students have some virtual classes, however not all professors are equipped to do that. This will slow the progress of all students, including our Beca Program students.
The Dominican economy is mostly based on tourism. With resorts and factories closed the famous power outages are now less frequent in Los Toros. The government has issued a small stimulus, but it is nowhere near enough.
Many of those who had moved out of Los Toros for jobs would regularly send money home to their families. Now, without those jobs, many have returned to be with their families.
Requests for food are coming to the Los Toros Foundation from people in various situations. Some normally earn a living in the informal economy, selling things on the streets and hoping their earnings will be enough for food for the day. Others are out of work as businesses are closed per the government order. Still others have additional family members who have returned home.
Just as we in the USA are facing difficult challenges, Dominicans are also facing a very uncertain and probably very difficult future. They deeply appreciate our friendship and solidarity and hope to maintain it during this time of crisis. May we all get through this storm united in solidarity with faith, hope and love.
Your generosity at this time can mean a big difference to families in Los Toros as they deal with major disruptions in their lives.