Approximately 350 people live in Barrio Blanco, Cabarete in 120 dwellings called "habitaciones”. 60% are Dominican, 40% are of Haitian ancestry. The barrio is 2 1/2 acres in size and is surrounded on 3 sides by a canal. There is one road in. Cabarete is 20 miles from Puerto Plata airport, and on the central North Coast.
Barrio Blanco was founded 23 as a squatters' camp on national land. It is named after Jose Blanco, the first squatter. For years the authorities chased the people out, but finally gave up. They had nowhere else to go. The land was all lagoon land, and people brought in dirt (often in 5 gallon pails) to raise the terrain above swamp waters to create living space.
The oldest people in the barrio are two ladies who are 63 years old.
Before our project there were 17 reasonably decent homes although only half of these have any septic system, and for those that do, it's just a hole in the ground. The rest are shacks made from scraps of rusted metal or wood. A third have dirt floors. After completing our project, there are now 35 homes that are "ok".
96% of barrio workers earn between 0.00 and $8.00 per day...and $8.00 is hard to get.
Cabarete itself has 25,000 people and is a tourist beach town with several nice hotels. People come for windsurfing, kiteboarding, golf and beach.
Built 18 new homes, a new school-clinic-community center, and a new water distribution system. Between 15 and 37 workers working daily. In addition to my family's contributions, $168,000 was raised and spent from people who donated to Providing Opportunity. This money was spent 100% for building.
We will build 8 - 10 more new homes and look for employment opportunities as well as seek to expand the school classes to early evenings.