DAYS ONE, TWO, THREE AND FOUR
We landed in Puerta Plata/Dominican Republic on the last inbound aircraft in La Aeropuerto, on route to our lovely Eco-Lodge in the serene hills of Tubagua. The immense culture shock was felt in a profound way. Rustic, natural, open, sentimentally attached bungalows were our home. Not many amenities we were used to back in the suburbs or back in the city, but still we were captured by the atmosphere.
February 25, breakfast (fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, sausages and fresh toast), then a coaster (15 seater) bus emerged for us to live the day in the life of a tourist. Just a peek into the day’s activities: one of the most amazing, breath-taking, exhilarating, well-maintained tours here in Puerta Plata was called the Cable Car (aka. El Teleferico) tour, which is located on the mountain of “Isabel de la Torres”. That left us speechless. Touring the city of Puerta Plata was a reminder of back home (Jamaica). This city has all that is needed to survive in a thriving country. The newly refurbished, open, free, accessible zone on the waterfront boulevard called La Puntia (an old fort built by Columbus) was just another prime example of giving power to the people. This park hosts a gigantic dome, play area overlooking the ocean and an old fort that has so much history (sad, but owned by the people) behind it. The day’s activities culminated at the Sosua Beach, which is described as the heartbeat of the city; the active, fun mecca of Puerta Plata, a beach (playa) designated for tourists and locals alike.
Caves we discovered!!!!
When we speak of community-based assets and how community members own them, then we speak of what’s developing now in Puerto Plata. Listening to a refreshing, enlightening explanation of how many of those excursions came to fruition by Senor Juan Pablo, Director of the Chamber of Commerce for the province of Puerto Plata. In his elaborate presentation, we were engulfed in how the formation of groups, organizations, and community leaders that have shaped community development projects and products such as: Rincon Caliente and Hacienda Cufa among others. We were educated by Dominican’s elite. This educational value cannot be bought.
Ingles professor y professora’s we became, teaching our native tongue and learning or for me brushing up on my Espanol, was the order of the morning. In an open truck, we travelled down the countrysides to this well-organized Escuela (School), well behaved (Students) estudiantes. Bueno estudiantes.!!!!!! A part of our learning experience was to ensure sustainable learning was imparted, and impart we did with a lot of fun!!!!!!, meeting up with two of Centennial’s best SSW students, who are currently in the Dominican Republic carrying out their mandate of creating sustainable, beneficial projects for the community of Tubagua.
Day three, in the classroom again, as our well-spoken guest speaker Mrs. Amber Ahus-DeAbbot, told us on the many contributions that her company FATHOM has made and is continuing to make to the sustainability of community-based assets. FATHOM which once operated an exclusive cruise for community-based excursions directly impacting the communities, due to challenges which we will face in our future endeavours, had to abandon ship!!! FATHOM is still in the business of creating projects that are not dependent on any particular company/organization for its survival. HATS off to Amber and her Carnival Cruise Lines Company. One of their projects that they oversee is the Coffee tour right there in Tubagua, where guests are able to experience coffee at its finest. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE, “from the ground to the tree and from the tree to the cup!!!!!!. One of FATHOM’S babies!!, that they maintain and continue to nurture.
We had our class moments, completing Reflections, blogs and evaluations amidst all the experiences.!!!!!