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Go MAD update from Claire Hodgson

It has been a bean based few months!

For me, this will be the lasting image of this time in my personal history! Ever since COVID began to impact the Dominican, my life became about beans…and rice! And sourcing them, and finding funds for them, and transporting them, and finding bags to put them in, and splitting 100lb bean sacks into 3lb sacks, and splitting 125lb rice sacks into 6lb rice bags, and handing them out. Then 2 days later, sourcing them, finding funding for them, etc etc. All helped by road blocks, bank closures, cash points not being stocked, not being able to drive myself, not wanting to be in the truck and share air space,, flat tires, 5pm curfews, etc! There have definitely been some highly stressful moments, as there have been for everyone over the past few weeks/months!

I have been overwhelmed at how incredibly kind, generous, helpful, willing and wonderful people are.

I can’t even lift one of these sacks of rice, they weigh almost 9 stone each. Each week a small army of volunteers in the DR have been involved in helping me to deliver 175 stone worth of food. 175 stone a week!!!! Can you see why I’m amazed?

I’m also amazed my 18 year old pickup truck can chug up a dirt track on the side of a mountain carrying it all!

Each week it costs £1,300 to provide just rice and beans to each of the 280 families in Esperanza Village, and to support around 50 families in Severet. So far I have spent £11,700! Go MAD UK is a small charity, and we definitely didn’t have this money sitting in the bank, but thanks to all of you who have donated, we have been able to keep going, keep buying beans and keep families fed!! The restrictions here are beginning to lift ever so slightly, and so I am hoping that in 3 weeks time, people with jobs will be able to go back to them. Construction sites are beginning to open again, hardware stores are reopening this week…. It will be reviewed, but hopefully 3 more weeks will be enough! If you are able to donate towards the next 3 weeks, please go to and donate online.

In other news, Nazareth House have so far remained virus free, thank God! Sister Mercedes stopped allowing any non-essential visitors to the home in early March, and I’m desperate to get back there and see all the children – and her - but for now I will stay away.

Unfortunately, the financial support she was receiving from a hotel chain here has stopped. Tourism is closed for the foreseeable future, and the hotel donation stopped in March when their doors had to close. This leaves us in a bit of a pickle, as their donation was paying for the food for the home.

If you, or your church, or rotary club, or anyone you know is able to help meet this new need, please get in touch with me urgently, I would love to hear from you!

I have never been away from England for this long before, its been 15 months! I am so looking forward to a good curry, and to seeing all of you! But I am also very thankful to be in such a beautiful place, and to be able to help people during this crisis.

I was due to speak on the Discipline of Celebration last Sunday, I had the sermon ready, and then Zoom crashed and the service didn’t happen. Ironically, I was then celebrating that I didn’t have to speak! Preaching is scary! But, in writing the sermon, I was challenged to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, even in difficult times.

I am very thankful for all of you, for praying for me, caring about me, sending me encouragements, and reading the emails!! Also so incredibly thankful to all of you who support me personally, and the work out here. 10 years with no pay check, is absolutely a miracle to me.

Thank you and God bless you all!

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