I was walking with some local people in a marginal urban area of Santo Domingo when someone told us that a member of the community, a middle-aged man, had had a stroke and had been taken in emergency to hospital. After hearing the news, we set out towards his family house. It was a very simple, small, four-room house in the midst of the noise of an overpopulated area. All his children, as well as numerous neighbours, were gathered around his wife to offer support. Two days later, his wife came to the house of local people where I was staying to seek financial help because her family could not bear the costs of hospitalization. This was one of my first contacts with the reality of a country which experienced the highest economic growth in Latin America in the 1990s but exhibited the sad record of having the lowest social spending ratio of the continent. But other surprises awaited me.
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