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Watkinson’s Dominican Republic Service Team

For the 11th time since 2010, Watkinson School will send a team of students, teachers, alumni and parents from Watkinson School, and medical professionals from UConn Health to the La Romana region of the Dominican Republic. Through mobile medical clinics, building hurricane-proof houses, and improving schools, Watkinson School’s DRST aims to improve the quality of life for the displaced Haitians who live in the sugar cane work camps of that region.


During the week of Thanksgiving, our team ventures to La Romana to help improve the lives of families living in the bateys. While in the Dominican Republic, the group partners with El Buen Samaritano Hospital. Through this partnership and funding from many gracious donors, we are able to build hurricane-proof houses for numerous bateys, build infrastructure for the local Joe Hartman primary school, provide a traveling medical clinic that sees over 800 patients, and distribute food to residents of the bateys.

Building Hurricane Proof Houses for Batey Papita and Batey 50 is the main project of our service trip. Both Bateys are privately owned; therefore, the government does not provide hurricane-proof housing. Our service team has built many hurricane-proof houses for older adults and families with young children on both Bateys. Before teams like ours built homes for them, residents lived in homes they cobbled together from found sticks, cardboard, tar paper, corrugated tin, and weathered, discarded pieces of plywood (before and after shown in photo).

Also, our mobile medical clinics allow families to be seen by a medical doctor and patients receive treatment for ailments from basic colds to high blood pressure and diabetes. Each patient that is seen is given a three-month supply of vitamins and medications. In addition, they receive a pair of shoes and a food kit. Each year the team encounters individuals with severe injuries who cannot get to the hospital because many bateys are in rural areas away from the city. With our mobile med clinic, we can bring them to the hospital and pay for their medical care.

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