Tale of Two Communities

“Once a Hawg, always a Hawg. No Hawg left behind.”

According to Doug Geist, this is the motto of the Sweat Hawgs, a group he leads that partners with Food for the Hungry (FH) in a community-to-community (C2C) relationship.

Sweat Hawgs and community members work together to build a chicken coop.

Sweat Hawgs and community members work together to build a chicken coop.
Photo courtesy of Doug Geist.

The Sweat Hawgs are currently in their fourth year of working with Food for the Hungry in the village of Placer Bonito, Dominican Republic. Some of the Sweat Hawgs sponsor children in the area, and have the joy of spending time with them on trips to Placer Bonito. But they are also partnering up with FH and Placer Bonito community members to help tackle some huge projects in this village. Their primary focus is on manual labor and construction – that’s what makes them Sweat Hawgs.

A C2C partnership like this allows the group to work directly in and with the community, helping to meet the specific needs that the village leaders and FH staff have identified.

In Placer Bonito, the construction needs include:

  • Establishing an aquaduct system to be used for irrigation and filtering drinking water
  • Building latrines
  • Various infrastructures for the farmers, such as a tree nursery, greenhouse, raised bed and keyhole gardens, and a storage space for crops

There are also a number of non-construction projects the Sweat Hawgs have been working on, including:

  • Helping to establish an official agriculture association for the farmers, and training them on marketing, business principles
  • Horticulture techniques to eliminate a parasite in their coffee trees
  • Coffee processing equipment (to help develop a coffee enterprise)
  • Medical, dental and veterinary clinics
  • Biblical education and tutoring

In working together with the community, the Sweat Hawgs can be assured that the work they are doing will help bring solutions to the most pressing issues, and that the community members are personally invested in this change.

Sweat Hawg team members conduct a dental clinic in the village.

Sweat Hawg team members conduct a dental clinic in the village.
Photo courtesy of Doug Geist.

“Through this holistic strategy, emphasis is placed on sustainable and reproducible projects that equip the community with the knowledge they can use far beyond when we transition out of the community,” Doug says. He points out that this strategy also includes meeting deep spiritual needs, “Through God’s Word, God shows us the transformation that can come only through the knowledge of Jesus Christ… The objective of this partnership is to get the community and the teams to understand the what it means to live the biblical world-view of holistic health.”

Doug says that through their work in this partnership, he and the Sweat Hawgs have been transformed as well. They have learned about grace and forgiveness, the immense value of prayer and relationships, trusting God’s plan and provision, understanding God’s heart for other cultures, and so much more. This C2C is truly a blessing to both communities involved: Placer Bonito and the Sweat Hawgs.

According to Doug, “What keeps me coming back is God’s vision of what needs to be done in His Kingdom.”

If your church or group has a passion to be part of this vision too, find out more information or fill out our church partnership interest form here.

To find out more about what the Sweat Hawgs are doing in Placer Bonito, click here, or watch the video below from their most recent trip.

[vimeo 95302619 w=500 h=375] <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/95302619″>Placer Bonito Trip – April 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6822851″>Jefehawg</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>