S.O.M.O.S En Paraiso- Follow Ups with Representatives and JdV members

After spending a couple of days off from going into the community, we decided it was time to go back and begin the last meeting we had detailed out in our summer protocol. That meeting, being a meeting with the representatives and the executive members of the Junta de Vecinos (JdV). What worried us was that the night before it had rained pretty badly. We really believed that the community was accessible and that getting in wouldn’t be a problem, but we didn’t expect as much water/flooding as there actually was.

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S.O.M.O.S En Paraiso – Block B and A meetings

So after we had the meetings with Block D and C, we went back and transcribed the notes and observations for each meeting. It is important to do this, because of the major problems that we talk about in SOMOS is the idea of maintaining continuity amongst the members and the project. Since all members of SOMOS graduate, the take a lot of valuable information, data, and knowledge with them that eventually could be lost and no use for the project’s future. So as a way to maintain continuity, not only do we code data, but we also transcribe our notes and observations and place all types of valuable information in our joint SOMOS wiki. This website is accessible to the undergraduate members, alums, and our advisor. This way, all members of this project can go back and be informed of past research and acquire the knowledge/ information already known, that way we are all on the same page and ready to work forward with the project.

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S.O.M.O.S in Paraiso- Block C meeting

Only July 20th, Walked house to house to talk with each household in Block C, explaining the same concepts we used for Block D. At the same time, we handed out invitations to La Reunion de Bloque C which contained similar information on Block D’s invitation, but specific for Block C’s section of the community. Rather than being a public place like La Gallera (location for Block D’s meeting), the location chosen by community members was in front of community members house, which social network and members themselves described as someone influential and fights for the community.

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S.O.M.O.S in Paraiso, DR -Block D meeting

So as the summer progressed, we have been working on invitations for the first meeting. We believed that having something physical, like an invitation, that community members would be more prone to participate in the meetings. Each invitation was written on a blank index card, which was titled with the appropriate block meeting (Block A,B,C,D Meeting) and gave information pre-established in the representatives’ meeting such as time, date, and location.

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S.O.M.O.S in Paraiso, DR- The Primary Findings

As I left from Bolivia to start off my summer work in Dominican Republic, I had a bunch of feelings running through me. The work myself and two other SOMOS (Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability) members (Bruce Pfirrmann ’13 and JoAnna Weeks ’13) were about to start was a big change for our student organization. We were moving away from the various interviews and GPS layouts we have done in the small community on the outskirts of Villa Mella zone of the Dominican Republic that we’ve been working with for the last seven years; and moving towards what is hopefully forming a contract for the next 4-5 in the future. This contract will not only outline the relationship of SOMOS with the community, but also contain 3-5 goals, ideas, and/or projects that the whole community and SOMOS members both agree to work towards to improve health in the community.

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