Cholera found in nearly all Dominican Republic provinces

By May 26, 2011

Dominican Republic (MNN) — Cholera
is rearing its ugly head again on the island of Hispaniola, this time in the
Dominican Republic.

Health officials there are
reporting hundreds of new cases of cholera as the outbreak flourishes.    

The first cases cropped up in
November, but the spread has been virulent. According to the Health Ministry, the number
of new cases is up about 50 percent since the middle of May.

Doctors say new cases have been
confirmed in 28 of the country's 32 provinces. Because it's a waterborne disease, they are
expecting the situation to worsen with the onslaught of hurricane season. 

Worldwide Christian Schools
partners with COCREF (Colegios Christianos Reformados) — an association of
Dominican Christian schools that began in 1981. COCREF consists of 21 Christian schools,
serving over 5,000 students and employing 250 people within the Dominican
Republic.

Their mission: "To provide a quality Christian education to
our students through our schools, implementing active and participatory
teaching that promotes the development of the God-given gifts, talents, and
abilities so that they can transform their lives, those around them, and their
nation through being servant leaders."

Under
that vision, Jericho Christian School began classes in the tiny Christian
Reformed Church in Batey Fao. 15 years
later, Worldwide Christian Schools joined the partnership. With their help, a four-classroom building was built near the
church. Jericho serves students from
preschool through 5th grade and is growing. Geurink agrees. "The Gospel message
doesn't just impact the children when they go to school. They take their lessons home, and the hope of
Christ begins to change families."

Their location puts them in a
risk area where cholera is likely to be found. However, pokesman Steve Geurink says the good news is: "We have not seen any impact from any of the cholera
reports and our team, and our project is going well at this point." Their team is careful with sanitation at the
facility; they use bottled water, significantly lessening the contamination risk.

However, clean water is a
constant concern. Prior to the outbreak,
the ministry decided to take a pre-emptive strike. Geurink says, "A doctor who has a real
interest in water quality traveled down to various bateys and took a look at the
schools to see whether or not there would be an opportunity for us to improve
the water quality by using Biofilters."   

Water quality testing is in the
works for the partnering schools, and those in need of clean water on site are
expected to have a Biofilter installed. 

The schools with the filters
would be an open door for the Gospel.
Geurink explains that "the whole village is going to know that there's
clean water, where it came from, and what this school stands for. I think it's
just another example of the way that we can show the love of Christ to a
community through better quality water."

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