Number 10

22 February - 8 March 2004

Dear Friends and Supporters,


We have traveled exactly zero nautical miles since our last update. Instead, we have been sitting gloriously anchored in beautiful tropical heaven Luperon, Puerto Plata, Republica Dominica.

We spent the first five days getting my wrenched knee looked after. It is all good news on that front: the specialist doctor spoke better english than I do, in 60 seconds knew exactly what was wrong with my knee, agreed to the exact treatment I wanted him to give me (cortisone and lidocaine injection) and I am walking normally (though will not be climbing the 52 foot mast for several weeks at least).

Luperon is a small rural village near a medium-sized "all-inclusive" beach resort. The people visiting the resort are almost never seen in town, but many of the local people find employment there.

The people here mostly live in houses that, on the outside, would be deemed barely suitable for storing your lawn tractor and bicycles. And these are the people well-off enough to live on one of the four main streets in town. The really poor live a bit further out.

Cost of living comparisons:

   1. Quick sit-down restaurant lunch (pork chops, fried chicken or beef with rice and beans and a salad, plus beverage) = US$ 1.50
   2. Custom tailored (from scratch) slacks, wash and wear tropical material = US$ 10.00
   3. Nice clean metropolitan hotel room, downtown in the national captial, with air conditioning and private bath = US$ 25 - US$ 45.
   4. Five gallon bottle of "spring water" for drinking = 50 US cents
   5. Bus travel north to south across the entire country, 80% in modern air-conditioned highway cruising bus (with toilet in the rear) = US$ 5.00
   6. Shoe shine = 15 to 25 US cents
   7. Warm smile and "best friends forever" = free for the asking

Despite their apparent poverty, none go hungry and most are so friendly they put our hometown to shame. One example: We bought a cell phone and were having trouble with it. This was stressful, because the next day we were to travel to Santo Domingo and wanted to be able to call ahead and be able to receive calls from Jon who remained with the boat. While we were in the cell phone company office trying to sort it out, a man (to whom we have perhaps said "Hola!" to on the street once or twice, but otherwise was a total stranger to us) overheard our problem (speaking a little english) and simply offered to lend us one of his family's cellphones for the two-day trip to Santo Domingo....and did! Imagine this is the US: a total stranger overhears you complain that your cell phone doesn't work and that you need to to travel to Boston from NY for a couple of days...."Oh, hey folks, you don't know me, but you can borrow my phone for the trip." :-) Amazing.

Speaking of amazing things.....

Last year in May, we helped the Millington's (Dallin & Sarah and their three kids) move. To do this, we helped them drive the motorhome they purchased from us 2500 miles from Kingston, NY to Salt Lake City, Utah. (Yes, your mental math is right, that is five Millinton's and three Hansen's in one motorhome for 2500 miles equalling 12,000 person/miles).

Our purpose in visiting SLC (other than helping those sweet people move) was to visit church headquarters and meet with church leaders there in Humanitarian Services and Welfare Services about our proposed project. We met finally with Brother Bennie Lilly, Manager of Operations, LDS Employment Resource Services, who has responsibility for, amongst many other things, the employment services efforts in the Caribbean. We discussed demographics, need, and political realities with him and a couple of other brothers there and from this discussion we decided to focus our efforts in the Dominican Republic. Brother Lilly gave us a name, address, phone and email for his subordinate in Santo Domingo, DR.

Having settled my knee problem, we emailed Juan Pablo de la Cruz at LDS Employment Resources in Santo Domingo requesting a "getting to know you meeting" and, as a courtesy, sent a copy to Bennie Lilly in Salt Lake. The next day, we received a reply from Bennie Lilly - he "just happened" to be on an official visit to Santo Domingo and would be glad to recieve us and introduce us to the staff here! Brother Lilly did not think it was a coincidence. [see Arden's comments below]

So, as a result of our meeting with Brothers de la Cruz and Lilly, we have tentatively decided to focus our attention on the north and northeast/central regions of the Dominican Republic, where the job training efforts of the church tend more to lend themselves to self-employment and micro-enterprise.

And that, folks, is where we (and you) come in. The church helps people receive the training they need to start small businesses: such as a small welding operation, car and motorcycle repair, sewing shop, beautician shop, household appliance repairshop, etc. These people need a source of capital to get started. Just a couple of hundred dollars for six months or so. This source could be YOUR FAMILY. See our web site at , read about our project, talk it over with your family at Family Home Evening and then use the Contact Us page to volunteer to be a Lending Family.

More next time, God bless you all.


After the trial of your faith comes the witness. Apparently spending nearly four months on a catamaran slowly creeping down the coast of USA and through Bahamas with varying degrees of space, food, water, church and comfort deprivation was enough to grant me a wonderful witness that we are indeed doing the Lord's work and He is paving the way for us. Our first day in Church the brother who asked us to dinner at his house "just happened to be" also involved in making loans. We find this out later and he gave us valuable information about our work. Then we discover Brother Lilly from Salt Lake "just happens to be" in Santo Domingo the very week we are planning a trip there. We blindly choose a hotel in an unknown city which turns out to be a 5 minute walk to the office where we meet. And so it goes on and on: local angels showing up to lend us phone or give us rides at just the needed time, finding a branch with a returned missionary who speaks perfect English and arriving here at all, in one piece both boat and body . We have indeed been blessed and will continue to move forward in building a better world in the Dominican Republic as servants of the Lord. As I told Kip and Brother Lilly, this all might make a believer out of me! In any case, it has given me alot of comfort and strengthened my will to go on.

Some local color: the boaters here, also known as the lushes of Luperon, are a mixed bag of retired school teachers, rich cruising couples, drop-out hippy types and successful authors. Some have landed here and seem determined to drink themselves into tropical oblivion. Others have set up shop and run restaurants or do sewing for the other boaters. Then there are the older guys running around with pretty Dominicans. Strangest case I heard was a 65 plus guy marrying a 15 year old local girl,no joke. All are very friendly and we help one another out like any other community.

The crumbly little houses Kip talked about above often have decent furniture inside including the omnipresent TV, many are actually beautiful inside. Doors are wide open most of the time and lots of living on the street a la poorer Hispanic areas of NYC. Most of the modern concrete block better houses have what I would call maximum secuity provisions and often they look like bird cages with all the decorative wrought iron bars over the windows, terraces and doors when closed up for the night.

Have enjoyed travelling across the entire country by bus to the South and seeing the lush country side with lots of sheep, goats and cows agrazing about. There are the picture book peasants walking their burros with huge machetes by their side going to cut the sugar. Everyone has a little stand by their house where they are selling orange juice, coconut milk or other fruits and necessities. I have to admit I really like it here. It is undeveloped enough to be calm with totally basic living conditions, yet there are bustling cities within hours where one finds anything one could want. Street sweeping is not a high priority, but on the other hand warmth, joie de vivre and unquestioned helpfulness are. Which would you prefer?


[Jon wont write today because he is busy working at Max and Ginas restaurant. He also has a job working on fixing up their boat. He has found some good friends on Katmandu who have been aboard their boat all their lives. He has settled in quite nicely and will probably be really ticked when we have to move up the coast to be closer to church and work areas. Such is the life of the young bucaneer who, I might add, gets up at 7AM to travel over an hour to church with us on local busses which are hot, crowded and noisy. He will speak Spanish better than I in a few weeks I'm sure. - Arden]

Our best wishes to you all,

Let us hear from you,

The Hansens

Kip, Arden, and Jonathan Hansen


The Family-to-Family Project

c/o Kip and Arden Hansen

153 Malden Tpke

Saugerties, NY 12477

(845) 246 0131 (home - messages)

IMPORTANT NOTE: We no longer have USA cell phone service. All communication to us must be:

1) BEST = via e-mail at (we will hopefully be able to get e-mail at every landfall - please text messages only [not HTML messages], no attachments or images)


2) via phone message left on our Saugerties, NY phone (845 246 0131 - these should reach us within one week - please state clearly if the matter is urgent and our sons, Brett and Ben, will make every effort to contact us at the first opportunity)


3) via the "Contact Us" page on our web site at (the comment section is limited to just 256 characters -- we will have access to the Internet less often than simple e-mail.)


4) via postal mail sent to our Saugerties address -- Kip, Arden and Jon Hansen, The Family-to-Family Project, 153 Malden Tpke, Saugerties, NY 12477. Mail is forwarded to us periodically.


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