According to the director of CEDE Aruba, Daniel Tecklenborg, at the head of this very humble and super-efficient organization working in collaboration with the Dutch Kingdom on community projects, there were 207 projects planned and almost 4,000 volunteers mobilized, over last weekend.
I was attached to Nannelle, a physical therapist and a mother of three, we had thirteen projects to photograph, document and assess; I photographed, she did the heavy-lifting. In my book, all project we visited were amazing, well defined and nicely executed, as a bonus, I enjoyed Nannelle’s intelligent company and learned about rehab options on the island. I filed the info away. It’s good fodder for a future column.
On day one we met a group on elderly who were bussed from St. Nicholas to mingle with a group of elderly from Santa Cruz. Both groups made pumpkin soup together, shared the delicious recipe, along with yogurt and cookies, but best of all expanded their circle of acquaintances. Genius project, with MOBIS, check them out @BarioBibo, and Rudy Lesner from Movemiento Ta Bida.
Next, Aruba Doet paired the Anti Drug Foundation, with Artesano Aruba a group under the direction of artist Claudia Ruiz Vasquez who provides free art education to drug addicts in recovery, together they sprayed 4 walls with the #AmigoDidi graffiti, reminding locals NOT to drink and drive.
At Colegio EPI, students and volunteer carpenters hammered, nailed and stained six picnic tables together for the use of the students, under the trees, in the shade, during breaks.
A group of cancer survivors from the Mary Joan Foundation enjoyed a driftwood art class at COSECHA, in St. Nicholas, under the direction of an accomplished driftwood artist, with charming results. They had lunch in community at O’Neil’s Caribbean Kitchen afterwards.
The foundation for abused women, FHMDD, signed up for a facelift including fresh paint and murals. While making the paint purchase, the foundation was greatly helped by an anonymous man in line at the hardware store, who volunteered to charge his Maestro for the amount, when the cashier refused to accept an FHMDD check.
(Kooyman mega store: You should apologize for that, you could have release the goods, and received payment the following Monday)
We also visited Colegio Conrad Coronel on the second day, where team members of the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino put together a stage to be used in schoolyard shows and performances. The resort brought in the power tools and the know-how, delivering a first class finished product.
A group of volunteer teachers painted decorative motivational messages on the whitewashed school walls: We Treat Each Other With Respect and We Are Creative, among many others, plus the Gymnasium received a good scrub by a volunteer industrial cleaning company.
I had tears in my eyes at FAVI when a group of Island Finance volunteers took a group of visually impaired foundation clients on an adventurous island tour in a wild safari vehicle, by MAW Tours. You should have see the joy on their faces, as they went up the ladder to occupy their seats in the open air, high above the road truck.
According to Daniel, 2018 was special. He did not have to do it all alone as in previous years, he had some volunteer coordinators to think about every detail. And they did. Compliment to Thixianne and Marieke, who pulled the strings with the help of 18 coordinators. The promotion of Aruba Doet was also exceptional. By participating in Carnival with a group of people with limitations, in costumes, with music. Daniel says the community got behind that project and supported it wholeheartedly! Of course, it helps when the Island’s Governor, personally shows up for the opening, and supports every stage of planning.
Aruba Doet is the largest volunteer event on the island. People sign up to help social organizations or a good cause together with friends or colleagues, school or companies. Whether you help painting, repairing playgrounds or spoil a group of elderly, you are guaranteed to have fun!
ARUBA DOET, is part of a larger organization with NL DOET, ARUBA DOET, BON DOET, CURA DOET, STATIA DOET and SMX DOET, unfolding at the same time. The Dutch fund makes large investments in social causes on the islands and strengthens the ties between the islands and the kingdom. www.oranjefonds.nl