In this series of Thursday profiles, we’ve introduced you to everyone from our founder to our Costa Rica program coordinator. We’ve also introduced you the smiling cooks of our Dominican Republic home base. Today, we’re taking you back to the DR to profile a really cool project we’re involved in: the construction of a plastic bottle clinic.
If you’ve ever wondered what you’d actually be *doing* on a volunteer vacation, this is one fantastic example. Keep reading to learn all about how and why we’re building bottle clinics on our volunteer vacations in the Dominican Republic.
What Is a Bottle Clinic?
A bottle clinic is just like it sounds: a health clinic built from discarded plastic bottles. Like a regular building, the foundations, columns, and beams are made from concrete or wood. The difference lies in the walls: instead of using cinder blocks, they’re made from plastic bottles held together by chicken wire. A brilliant interpretation of reduce, reuse, recycle, right?
[bctt tweet=”Brilliant! @discovercorps is building clinics of plastic bottles in the #DominicanRepublic (You can help!): ” via=”no”]
Our Bottle Clinic Team
Our volunteer travelers work with local craftsmen and community members to construct these innovative buildings. Spearheading the project is Dr. Kerolle, who serves both rural Dominican communities and communities of Haitian migrants called “bateys.”
Dr. Kerolle visits each clinic once a week to provide free consultations. In each location, he receives assistance from a Community Health Agent (CHA) who lives permanently in the community and provides ongoing support.
Working with him, we’ve completed three clinics — and are currently working to build three more.
[bctt tweet=”How you can #volunteer and build a bottle clinic in the #DominicanRepublic –> “]
Why Are We Building Bottle Clinics?
We’re building bottle clinics for two huge reasons:
1. Everyone has the right to medical care — yet millions of people around the world don’t have access. In the Dominican Republic, the most common health problems include diabetes, high blood pressure, and malnutrition.
2. Our consumer society generates tons and tons of inorganic trash every year, much of it plastic. Rural communities in the Dominican Republic don’t have a way to deal with non-biodegradable trash, so it is often burned or tossed into rivers, oceans, streets and fields.
Bottle clinics are an efficient solution that tackles both of these problems at once. Not to mention, they deliver environmental education, empower residents to learn transferable skills, promote community ownership, and dually function as a community center.
We’re proud to be affiliated with such an innovative project and look forward to building many more bottle clinics with the help of our wonderful Dominican Republic staff — and our intrepid volunteers!
Want to get involved? Check out our Dominican Republic volunteer vacations!