Moving in the Dominican Republic

Obviously it is quite the challenge to move to any foreign country. There are so many things that will be different making a transition difficult. We moved down to this country with mostly books and clothing (and a few kids.) Most of the houses in Sosua were foreign owned and were furnished or partly furnished like the last house we lived in there.

Moving across the country itself is a whole other adventure. First we tried to find a house on quick trips either by driving or by me taking a bus. That didn’t help too much except it helped me learn a few areas and meet the real estate agent that we eventually used. We finally just moved down a lived for a month in a vacant house used by missionaries that gave a place to sleep and eat during our house search.

We eventually settled on a 4th floor apartment with the 5th floor rooftop with extra bedroom. We thought this would be perfect (except all of the stairs) for our family and plans to use the extra room. We spent the next week waiting for “mañana” as the man in charge of the apartment was getting the papers ready. When we finally met with him, we had to walk away because of the contract. He wanted us to claim responsibility of the the taxes even though we “didn’t have to pay them.” We could not do this for 2 reasons, if we paid the taxes it was too much and if we didn’t we would be liars and damage our testimony.

After having that happen, we were put into a last minute cram, yet thankful God kept us from having been in a contract with a corrupt person. We also have our friend Miriam (March) who was a huge help in all of this as an interpreter and overall friend.

We then called the real estate agent I mentioned who quickly showed us another couple of houses, one of which we made an offer on. We then met the lawyer (many rentals are handled by lawyers here) who happened to be a Christian who goes to church with our missionary friends Kent and Janet Norell. Esperanza is here name and she has been a help and a blessing to us.

Signing the papers on the house led to the next adventures in houses in the D.R. First I try to get power, only to hit a roadblock because the power company says there are already two contracts with that address. Both Esperanza and Miriam made multiple calls to the power company to help get things straightened out. After a couple of weeks and us living in another temporary location, we finally moved in with no power on. Power in this country is different than in the states, were if the power is off, it is from a storm or maybe a traffic accident involving a drunk and telephone pole. Here, even in areas considered to be “24 hour” power, it can be off a few hours a week at best. Some areas are only on so many hours a week, usually in areas were no one actually has a meter or pays for the electricity.  Being without power wasn’t a huge shock, but it has it’s challenges. We were thankful to have a neighbor who offered to let us use an extension cord to plug in our fridge, while we waited.

Back to dealing with the power…. I ended up finally going down and trying to get the power on. The next hurdle was the address. The papers for the house have the address the community gave it when being built, but since then it has a street address that is nothing like it. I had to make a couple trips back and forth to get the papers changed and then stamped in a correct manner. Now, I finally had that and was able to get the account set up. They told me someone was coming out that same day to turn on the power and put in the meter. Not surprising it didn’t happen. The next day while still waiting, the neighbor said we just need to keep going down the office or it won’t happen, so taking her advise and went down again and returned home after they said someone was on their way at that moment. After waiting over an hour, they showed up!!! The technicians explained they were late after having the ladder rack re-welded to their van.  Needless to say, we had power on in about an hour after that!

Now we are in our own (rented) house and found some of the necessary furniture, minus some things I wanted to build. Praising God for guiding us through, for the friends and new friends who helped us and for the learning experiences we have had.

Now to get busy with our call…


The Oliveria family, missionaries serving in the Dominican Republic.

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