The title is a reference to Tolkien, more precisely to Bilbo Baggins. Why? Well, because just like Bilbo, I have been on an adventure with a group of people almost unknown but returned with friends.
Our journey through the Dominican Republic aimed to look closely at how community economic development works. Community economic development happens when a community, government, and business work together to improve the quality of life in a place such as TUR!SOPP (Operational Partnership Public-Private Project in Tourism) has done. There, in Puerto Plata city, we spent eight intense days learning.
Learning from Juanin how to use our knowledge in favour of the community and creating opportunities.
Learning from Sandra how to transform realities regardless if the resources are denied.
Learning from Alexis how to save the environment and at the same time bring income to home.
Learning how to be determined with Sally.
Learning how to be welcoming hosts from Mr. Tim Hall, Señor Orlando Doña Julia.
Learning how to absorb knowledge wherever it is from my teachers Linor and Rachel.
Learning from my friends how to support and take care of each other. We had two birthday parties!
Learning from myself how to make my week productive, physically active and enjoyable at the same time.
In addition to formal learning by Ambra and Juan Pablo.
However, learning is just one of the many products that I bring from this trip. Being part of the workgroup to design activities using a community-based tourism approach is another reward from this trip. Understanding how to use community assets to improve local tourism will be valuable in my career. Besides, of course, all the tours around the beautiful city, the hiking and waterfalls, the delicious food at Tubagua Lodge and Sandra’s restaurant, the traditional Merengue and my dance class, thank you Rita, the smiles and hugs.
Now it is time to practice all learning because being there brought me memories from my last jobs in Brazil where I worked inside the communities like Puerto Plata, and I miss that.
Thanks to Sage, who splendidly provided everything for this trip since the beginning. The Flip Dominican Republic 2020 is among my unforgettable experiences. I wish to say to Centennial students pay attention to the Sage website and take every opportunity they offer. You won’t regret it.
Luciano de Lima
Community Development Work student