Tag: Dominican Republic

Oct 28 2009

Baseball: not just an American sport

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, as the saying goes. And tonight with game 1 of the World Series, which pits the New York Yankees against the Philadelphia Phillies, fans and teams alike will wind up for a nearly a week and a half of baseball mania. We wanted to know what another baseball-crazed nation, the Dominican Republic, thinks of the sport, so we asked Nelson Figueroa, Santo Domingo project coordinator, to weigh in on the topic.

Nelson FigueroaBaseball in the Dominican Republic is considered a national entertainment. This is the sport that gathers all levels of society. Pretty much life in the DR flows around baseball and the teams of the Dominican Baseball League. As a matter of fact, we have a saying here. Dominicans talk about two things: the ìballitic,î or baseball and politics.

The children generally like to wear the colors of their favorite team. There is no place in which people donít talk about who is or isnít the best player. Baseball makes the front page of the newspaper all the time. Even politicians use baseball terms in their political material.

Everyday language uses baseball terms. For example, when a person does something illegal, people say, ìHe/she batted a foul.î In contrast, when a person does something really good people say, ìHe/she hit a home run through the 411.î The number ì411î is the measurement through the center field of the largest stadium in the country.

It starts early
SamuelIn general, the life of Dominicans flows around this sport, and children start playing it at a young age.

We could probably say that children start playing at about age five, but they begin learning the basics when they take their first steps. In fact, one of their very first gifts is a plastic baseball bat and ball. Children play in parks, streets, their backyards and on organized leagues.

The organized league starts with the mini league at age 5 to 7. The organized leagues are for boys only. Girls usually play informally.

Improvising the equipment
Children usually play baseball in the streets. They use juice or milk cartons as mitts by flattening them and making a horizontal opening for the finger, similar to regular baseball mitts. Baseball bats are made with broomsticks or a piece of wood carved to the shape of a bat.

Many times the balls are rubber balls sold locally, but most of the time they are made by wrapping a small rock with paper and holding it with tape. Once that is done, they put the ball inside of a sock to form the ball.
Children use anything available for the bases: electric posts, trash, rocks, whatever wonít blow away. Sometimes they paint bases on the floor with paint or charcoal.

A famous legacy
The most popular baseball player in the Dominican Republic is Juan Marichal, the only Dominican player in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the U.S.

The Professional Baseball League of the Dominican Republic is the major league, and the season starts in October. Most Dominican baseball players in the U.S. come from this league. At the same time, players from other countries are brought here as support.

For some time, the town of San Pedro de Macoris turned out many professional baseball players. I donít know the reason why so many baseball players came from this town. Nowadays, there are players from all over the countryófamous players such as Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, Placido Polanco, Alex RodrÌguez, JosÈ Reyes, Omar Minaya (general manager for the New York Mets), Robinson Cano, and others.

Of course, one of the dreams of our boys and their families is for them to become a professional baseball player. It is a way out of poverty

CFCAís Santo Domingo project does not usually organize baseball games as recreation because children usually play it in their own communities.

Check back tomorrow to read an interview between Nelson and Samuel, a 17-year-old sponsored youth from Santo Domingo.

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Aug 11 2009

August isn’t back-to-school month for everyone

As U.S. students prepare for the onset of school, students in other countries have already taken mid-terms.

That’s right. For students in many countries where CFCA works, school does not start in August or September.

The school year in Central America started in January or February. Those lucky children are only two months away from the end of school. Schoolchildren in India and the Philippines are already into their third month of the school year. And students in Kenyaówell, they follow the British system and attend school all year, with long breaks at the end of each quarter.

Find the school calendar for your friend on the graph below.

School calendar

Related links
Time for school

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Jul 2 2009

Celebrating freedom

On the Fourth of July, Americans will gather to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades and picnics. Although the United States and the countries CFCA partners with do not celebrate independence on the same date, we share many customs and events.

In Central America, most countries celebrate their independence on Sept. 15 with parades and music. The running of the Central American Freedom Torch from Guatemala to Costa Rica, taking a total of 14 days, reenacts the news of their independence spreading through Central America.

South Americans celebrate with large celebrations, flying flags, parades, fireworks and feasting. In India, all cities have Flag Hoisting Ceremonies run by politicians and other officials. Indian schoolchildren gather to sing songs and watch the hoisting of the flag.

Under colonization, Haitians were forbidden to eat soup, a meal reserved for the upper classes. Now on Independence Day, it is traditional to eat soup to demonstrate the equality of all citizens.

People of the Philippines celebrate their independence with ceremonies, historic exhibitions and memorial events. Festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony and parade in the historic city of Cavite, where Filipinos first proclaimed their independence.

We would like to encourage you to research how the country your friend lives in celebrates its independence. And from all of us at CFCA, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day.

The Independence Days of the countries CFCA partners with are listed below.

Jan. 1
Feb. 27
Dominican Republic
May 24
June 12
June 26
July 5
July 20
July 26
July 28
Aug. 6
Aug. 15
Sept. 7
Sept. 15
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Sept. 16
Sept. 18
Oct. 9
Dec. 9
Dec. 12


Updated July 1, 2011

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Mar 17 2009

Bob’s notes – special report

Mission awareness trips and Colombia national encuentro
Nicaragua – Colombia – Dominican Republic
Feb. 21 – March 7, 2009

Sponsors grow in grace
From the moment we landed in Managua on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, we have been a pilgrim community. The sponsors of Nicaraguan children, youth and aging have a culture all their own. Many have been here several times in the past. They have formed strong relationships with their sponsored families and with one another. It is wonderful to see them grow in grace through walking with the poor.

My group had the pleasure of coming to know an admirable young family. The mother, Alba Luz, 27, has taken special courses in the cultivation and use of medicinal plants and natural medicine. She teaches the other mothers in the community, and her husband, Uricer, cultivates corn and beans on property owned by his father. Their 1-year-old Alvaro is awaiting sponsorship. Weíve been over 10 hours in the vehicle this day, much of it over slow-going rocky roads. One flat tire didnít slow us down much.

In the early hours of Feb. 23, we met sponsors Colleen and George MacKenzie, Alhambra, Calif., together with their granddaughter and outgoing 8-year-old sponsor, Danielle Shields. All three are advocates and have found and motivated over 200 new sponsors. George maintains that their relationship with three sponsored children has changed their lives.

National meeting held
In Medellin, Colombia, everyone has worked very hard to make this a dynamic learning experience for all. Each of the six Colombian projects plus our international team (Brenda; Sarah; my wife,†Cristina; and myself) covered a topic of keen interest to all. The topics included formal and informal education of children in Colombia, long-term and annual program planning, sponsored youth and their formation in values, and measuring the impact of our projects. I will add that the cross-project sharing and the CFCA spirit run strong in this group.


Music plays a big part in this encuentro (meeting) and all encuentros Ö and folkloric presentations by sponsored children and staff form an integral part of the meeting. The conclusions and resolutions of this encuentro are solid, balanced and heartily embraced by all.
Read more

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Dec 31 2008

Ringing in the New Year in the CFCA community

By the CFCA Prayer Team

As we give thanks for the old year and look with anticipation to the new one, let us walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world throughout the day. We have listed below the time it will be here in the United States when the New Year arrives at each of our projects. We encourage you to say a quick prayer for each of the projects as your day progresses.

Philippines8:00 a.m.9:00 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.
India and Sri Lanka10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m.1:30 p.m.
Tanzania, Uganda,
Madagascar, Kenya
1:00 p.m.2:00 p.m.3:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.
Nigeria3:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.
Liberia4:00 p.m.5:00 p.m.6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.
Brazil6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.
Chile7:00 p.m.8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.
Bolivia, Dominican Republic8:00 p.m.9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.
Venezuela8:30 p.m.9:30 p.m.10:30 p.m.11:30 p.m.
Colombia, Ecuador,
Haiti, Jamaica, Peru
9:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.12:00 a.m.
Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, Nicaragua
10:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.12:00 a.m.
1:00 a.m.

Please pray:

Gracious God, I pray for my sisters and brothers in ______. May the New Year bring them hope, joy and peace.

And from all of us at CFCA, we pray the New Year also brings you hope, joy and peace!

Receive CFCA’s weekly Prayer Partners e-mail.

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