Colegio Evangelico
​Nueva Vision​​​​​​

​Maranatha, Dominican Republic

About This School
This school originally started as a meeting place for adults and children who wanted to learn.  Some of the students couldn't get to other schools because they couldn't afford the uniform and books, or because they couldn't get there due to rain swelling the river to the point that it was unsafe to cross.

The amount of students that started joining grew and it was ovbious that there was a need for a school.

Together, members of the community built a second floor on the local church as a place to meet and learn.  Now this school has grown to over 260 students.

This school struggles to pay its teachers, it also needs many stupplies such as science equipments, and a computer and printer in the main office.  They have computers for the students to work on but they are rented and it would be ideal if they could buy their own.

This school asks for the students to pay for their books and uniform, but if they cannot the school will still accept them.  They would never say no to a child in need of an education.  But because of this, they sometimes struggle to pay for what they need.

Davris' Favorite Domino is the book created in this school.  Buy one today and help them get the things they need to give a proper education to these children.

My Story

My First Day... Ever!

This was my ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​first school I had the pleasure of doing a book in (to find out how this all got started you can read about it on the ‘​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ About Me’ page, in the section titled ‘How I Met My First School’).  Not only was this the first school I got involved with, but it was also my first experience travelling by myself to a foreign country.  On top of this, I planned on staying with the family of the director of the school, I had never done something like this before.

​When I arrived in Dominican Republic, I was a day late because I had missed my original flight due to a snow storm in Canada.  My contacts in Dominican were amazing and picked me up from the airport to take me to my new “home”.  In this little house was a beautiful family of four who welcomed me and gave me my own room. There was a mother and father as well as a son and daughter. Also staying in the home was an older woman who was a friend of the family.
One night I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed that the two children were sharing a bed, which was large enough for both of them, and the older lady was sleeping on the cement floor I felt terrible when I realized not only did they gave me a room to myself with a door, causing the children to share a bed, but this woman had to sleep on the floor! 
The next day I mentioned this to my friend, the gentleman that originally introduced me to the school, he told me not to worry and that the woman slept there by choice. Dominican Republic is a very ​​​​Christian country and sleeping on the ground is something they believe makes them closer to God, it is a common practice. My friend also told me that he himself once slept on the floor for a whole year to get closer to God.​​​

​My first day in school was pretty amazing. Knowing I was coming to do this book I had studied Spanish for the last year in preparation. I had practiced reading and re-reading my book for about a month. Thank goodness, I did because in total I must have read it out loud about 20 times to all the different classrooms! But it turns out that studying Spanish alone at home didn’t give me any listening skills. I stood in front of a confused classroom and gave instructions in my broken Spanish, which I thought was amazing. Now, knowing more Spanish, when I watch this video I have to laugh at myself, I was terrible!!  lol.

​Also, in preparation, because the first book was about a bumblebee, I had gone to the Innisfil Public Library, which has an amazing ‘Idea Lab’, and cut out over three hundred wooden bumblebees. On the back I glued a pin and every child got a bumblebee pinned on their shirt the first day. It was so much fun, the little ones swarmed and almost knocked me down, they were so excited to be pinned!  It was adorable.
​​I purposely left many details out of the story because ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​I wanted the children to be as much a part of creating the book as possible
I had the children come up to the board and write Spanish boy names that we wanted the character to be called. Once we had a bunch written on the board I pointed and had the children vote. What a wild and exciting assignment!
​The kids were screaming and laughing, in the end we decided on Davri. In the story, I knew that ‘Davri’ was going to loose his favorite toy, so just like choosing the characters name, together the kids chose the toy. We had suggestions like scooter, baseball, cell phone(!) (I thought this one was funny and called them on it. Lol). ​​​

Everyday I went into the school for a hour or so, and everyday day I gave the children instructions on what to draw. Every time I received a drawing I would say, “​​​​​​​​Awesome!”, and give the child a huge smile. The girls thought this was hilarious, and before I knew what was happening they were all imitating me! So, we made ​​​The Awesome Dance! Lol.  Teach them to make fun of me! 
The Awesome Dance!
​​It was really awesome working in this school. All the kids called me teacher and when I walked through town, or was riding on the back of a bike, all the kids and their parents would wave at me from the sidewalk. I felt loved and extremely famous. Lol. 

In the end it was ​​​​​​​​a domino they chose, hence, Davris’ Favorite Domino. The story also has many places where Davri looks for his domino, the park, the wedding, the baseball field, all these places where also chosen by the children.  I did this because I wanted the book to be as culturally correct as possible. I am so glad I did too because it was so much fun to do this with the children!

Staying with a family and working in a school, both for the first time, was such a experience.  ​​​​​​​​​I’d say though, the full experience was reached after I ate that apple....​​​​​

​​​My friend, who was the original gentleman I met that day at my resort, had taken me out for the day and shown me some other schools, and a local swimming hole. After we went to the home of a friend of his. On the property, there was a tree with water apples. My friend picked one for me and splashed it around in a bucket of rainwater to rinse it off.  Eager to try it, I didn’t even think about the bucket of stagnant water! That night at about eleven o’clock, just as everyone climbed into bed.... I had no choice but to remember that water...  
Travellers sickness hit with a vengeance!  The worst part was my ‘home’ had walls that didn’t reach the ceiling, and just a curtain for a door on the bathroom. Everyone in that house had no choice but to be apart of my experience.  Ugh.  I’ll never forget. I messaged my friend back home and she messaged back, “Well girl, show um how us Canadian girls do it!”  lol.  I had no choice... so I did!

All in all this was an amazing experience. Putting all the drawing of the kids together to make the illustrations of the book was a little intimidating since I had never done it before.  But the end result is amazing and I am so pleased to present to you ‘Davris’ Favorite Domino'!
Heidi-Marie
​xoxo​