According to the official website of Major League Baseball, the city of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic produces more professional baseball players per capita than any other place on earth. Yet, many neighborhoods in this city, nicknamed “the Cradle of Shortstops” struggle with extreme poverty.
San Pedro de Macoris is the hometown of over 76 Major Leaguers, past and present, including Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Luis Castillo, Fernando Tatis, and Robinson Cano. To get a sense of how important baseball is to the city’s identity (and how important this city is to the “American pastime!”), click on the image below to watch a short video from mlb.com documenting life in San Pedro de Macoris.
As the video states, talent for baseball is “in the water” in San Pedro de Macoris, but unfortunately it’s lack of access to clean water that poses one of the most serious challenges in this community. Esperanza International, an organization that’s been working in the Dominican Republic for the past 15 years, describes the water situation as dire:
“Water-related diseases are simply part of everyday life in these communities, with poor community sanitation systems, dirt streets, pools of standing rain water everywhere, little or no-existing water systems, where the only way to get some “safe” drinking water is to buy it at very high price from distribution trucks, but where many will just choose to drink it directly from a contaminated source such as any faucet on hand.”
The need for clean drinking water is so prevalent that kids in San Pedro de Macoris have developed a locally-famous variation of baseball, in which the lid of a five-gallon water jug is used instead of a traditional ball, which can be hard to come by.
DFB’s NY chapter has partnered with Esperanza International for their next project, which will underwrite the equipment and installation costs for a new water filtration plant in the impoverished Barrio Blanco section of San Pedro de Macoris. The capacity of this plant will be approximately 3,000 gallons of water per day, which translates to over 450 families gaining daily access to safe drinking water. Sounds like a homerun to us!