Caring for their Own

Since beginning my studies in social work, I now see life in a different light. I feel like I notice people more and understand or at least try to understand where they come from. Since being here, I am more interested in the laws and government agencies available to the people. I am also intrigued by the ways they care for each other and others. One of the things I have always loved about the Dominican people is their loyalty and hospitality. I have seen this again and again in the young and the old.
Sairy’s grandmother is very old and has had numerous health problems over the past few years. Just 2 Sundays ago we drove up to Sabanete to see her….not in a nursing home but her house. The house was filled with family, multigenerational. All of the family was caring and sharing the care of their grandmother. Just this past week, she took a turn for the worst and the family drove her to Santiago to see the doctor. The doctor determined she needed to have one of her legs amputated due to poor circulation and swelling. With family constantly surrounding her, she is recovering wonderfully in Sairy’s home in Santiago. The family takes turns laying down with her, carrying her to the bathroom, hand feeding her, and explaining to her what is going on. By US standards she is a huge “inconvenience.” The boys are sleeping on the floor to give her her bed and hours of time has been put in to care for her. By Dominican standards, it is just part of their day. They love caring for her and the thought of placing her in a home to be cared for by “professionals” is not even considered.
Lili is another woman, a social worker and old neighbor of Sairy’s, that is caring for her mother as well. Yesterday she told us it was only a matter of moments before her mother would be gone. Lili has given up work and play to bring her mother into her home and care for her. She feeds her, baths her, and changes her diapers. It is an amazing love and hospitality the people her understand and share with all.

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