My Peruvian Experience: Culturally Enriching and Personally Fulfilling

By Cindy Tieu (Peru: February 21, 2019 – March 3, 2019)

A map of the regions we stayed at: Illimo and Chiclayo in Lambayeque, and the Lima District

I spent my reading week travelling with ten students and two faculty members to and from Peru as part of Centennial College’s Faculty Lead International Program (FLIP). In summary, we spent 1.5 days in the capital – Lima, and 7 days in their fourth largest city – Chiclayo (located in the Lambayeque region of Peru). During the week (Monday-Friday), we would commute an hour from Chiclayo to Illimo where we worked at the Instituto de Educaciόn Superior Technolόgico Publico (IESTP), providing our recommendations for their pilot plant. Our week was very busy, with an industrial site visit each morning, followed by working on the pilot plant in the afternoon up until and sometimes after dinner as well. We wanted to ensure that we provided our Peruvian partners with the best quality recommendations we could to strengthen their path to success.

Ministry of Education & Impact of Centennial College


At the Ministry of Education on our very first day in Lima.
Photo by: Thanh Sang Huynh

On our first day in Lima, we visited the Ministry of Education and shared our views on the importance of education and hands on experience. This meeting was an eyeopener, hearing from the ministry representatives how important education is for the students to give them hope for a better life. We also heard about the impact of Centennial College’s involvement with CiCAN (Colleges and Institutes of Canada). The goal of the partnership is to help strengthen technical skills and training in the food industry for students in Illimo, Lambayeque, to help prepare the students for employment.

In Lambayeque, we also had the opportunity to meet with the regional government. We acted as support to our Peruvian partners to gain funding and prioritize education for the students in Illimo. A press release of the meeting can be found here: https://www.regionlambayeque.gob.pe/web/noticia/detalle/26831?pass=Mg==

Peruvian Culture & Food

Anytime we had the opportunity to interact with someone in Peru, they always asked if we enjoyed their food. The answer was an obvious yes! In preparation for the trip, I had a list of foods I wanted to try with anticucho (beef heart) and ceviche (cured raw fish) being at the top. Lima, Chiclayo, and Illimo did not disappoint. I especially loved the home cooked feel of the dishes from Chiclayo and Illimo, with almost all dishes in some form of saltado (stir fry), like lomo saltado or polo saltado. The second thing the Peruvians are very proud of is Chiclayo known as the City of Friendship. This was very evident with all the Peruvians we interacted with. Even with a significant language barrier, everyone was very welcoming to us during our stay. Our Peruvian partners spent every moment with us from our very first day in Chiclayo up until we passed security at the airport to leave Chiclayo. They stayed with us during dinners and took us to industrial visits, museums, and as much site seeing as we could squeeze into our busy schedules. They made sure that our trip was not only filled with lots of work, but enjoyable and culturally enriching.

Industrial Site Visits

In total, we visited five industrial sites in Lambayeque: Guinea Pig Farm, Animal Feed Production Facility, Banana Plantation, Bee Apiary, and Gandules International. I learned about:

  • the challenges of breeding guinea pig in hot climates and the different characteristics of different breeds
  • the variety of animal feeds one small scale facility can produce
  • Peruvians wanting to expand the banana market in Peru to have a sustainable business both internationally and nationally
  • the value of the Queen Bee (in monetary value and its role in the colony)
  • the functionality of a larger scale production facility for international exports of peppers and mangos

IESTP Work & Students

Prior to our departure, our group had been working very hard to research and compile documents to be applied to a dairy production facility in Illimo. Our goal was to work on the Pre-Requisite Plans, specifically the Premises, Receiving & Storage, Equipment, Personnel, Sanitation & Pest Control, and Recall System. This is something we study extensively in our Food Safety Management class in our final semester of the Food Science Technology Program. We were divided into groups to further become expertise on butter, yogurt, and cheese, something we studied in our Food Processing and Technology classes taken in Semester 4 and 5.

Once we arrived at the IESTP, we got to see the beginning stages of the pilot plant and the equipment to be used for the production of butter, yogurt, cheese, and the addition of jam. The structure of the building is there, but there is much more construction to be done before it is ready for production. Over the course of four days, we worked as a group to provide our recommendations and technical background on the production facility, procedures and training to be done, and processing of each product to ensure food safety and quality. We did not have access to internet at the facility and had a very poor connection back at the hotel, so we heavily relied on our knowledge and each other as a team to provide quality content for our Peruvian partners. We wrote SOPs and SSOPs, designed product flow charts and diagrams, developed a traceability program, and provided general recommendations on premises, sanitation, pest control, and GMPs training. The pilot plant will not only be able to produce product for local sales, but to also serve as a teaching facility for the students enrolled at the IESTP to further prepare them for the workforce.

The highlight of my trip was interacting with the students there, and learning about the impact of our visit and the values and hard work of each student. We had the opportunity to speak with the students who took off a day of work to welcome us at the institute. Most of the students are young, but they hold much more experience in the agricultural field than I do as a Food Scientist working in the industry at present. They’ve spent their entire lives working in the field, and their passion can be seen through their commitment to education and the industry. Although there was a language barrier, I could feel the appreciation and the excitement the students had for us being there – something that we hopefully conveyed on our end as well. We were hearing about the impact Centennial College has and will continue to make for our Peruvian partners, but it wasn’t until this point that I truly felt humbled because the students and the professors at the IESTP made an impact on me, bringing value to this trip. I feel incredibly grateful for this opportunity to share and to learn, realizing that language barrier is nothing compared to our shared passion in the food industry which crosses cultures and countries.

FLIP PERU-2019: Once in a lifetime experience

Hello everyone,

My Peruvian journey started with a cover letter, resume and interview and ended with international culture, friends for life, work experience, fun with mentors and a lifelong memorable learning experience.

Initially, I was really anxious about the journey, due to multiple reasons like food, since I being a vegetarian, whether I would be able to fulfill the work for which I was selected and most importantly travelling and living with people I rarely interacted during my time at Centennial College. My first memorable experience was the visit to Ministry of Education, Peru. I was really touched by the words of one of ministers, “studying in this college would be last chance for students to get over their current situation and become a better educated qualified individual”. Hence, I made sure that I make full use of this opportunity by contributing to this mission during the time in Peru. At IESTP, Peru I got to know some really motivated, excited students with a strong learning desire and willing to contribute in making society better. Likewise, the professors and college staff at IESTP, Peru greeted us warmly and kindly with open hearts while our time in Peru.

However, as the time passed, I experienced a lot many things including the visit to Apiary, Guinea Pig farm, Banana plantation and an industrial visit to Gandules Inc. Apart from this, I experienced the local Peruvian culture by a visit to museums, a jungle safari and visit to rock and sand beach, local handicrafts shops. All this combined with really tasted ethnic Peruvian food and drinks: I still remember the Chicha.

During the entire journey from boarding the departure plane to Peru and back to Toronto, it was a mix and complex amalgamation of feelings which can’t be described in words. I experienced and understood the people around me, carried with me both tangible and non-tangible skills and tried understanding the world from a different view altogether.

My deepest thank to SAGE, FLIP, Centennial College and two most important persons: Steve and Professor Xavier. I thank Centennial College once again for giving me an opportunity to represent centennial college as a college ambassador.

Thanking you,

Bhupesh Chandra Tiwari

Puerto Plata and Community Based Tourism

By Sara Archambault

Being given the opportunity to travel thousands of kilometres away with 11 of my classmates and 2 of my instructors to the beautiful Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic was a once in a lifetime experience. It was humbling and eye-opening to the way in which other people live in different places. The first thing I noticed was the people and how friendly and kind they were to us, regardless of what they may be experiencing and that caused me to feel a great appreciation for my life back in Canada. I was flooded with emotions and a renewal of energy for change. I was finally able to look through the community development lens in real life situations while I endured this experience and I was able to relate it back to the community economic development principles.

Fort San Felipe in Puerto Plata

Some of the community-based tourism excursions that we were able to participate in was a cable car ride, a visit to Fort San Felipe with a monument to General Gregorio LuPeron, Sosua Beach, a hike to Los Charcos, an amber mine, a week stay at Tubagua Eco lodge, and the Pedro Garcia coffee village. These experiences were full of breathtaking views and once in a lifetime experiences, it also highlights many of what Puerto Plata has to offer to tourists. These experiences relate to the principles of community economic development because of the use of locally produced goods such as food products or handmade souvenirs. It also displays the local skill development of the community members by utilizing their skills, knowledge, and social capital to create income. I feel that community-based tourism is essential in getting money back into the economy of Puerto Plata because it does not see as many tourists as other communities, and it also gets tourists off of resorts and into local communities. CBT is a great way to bring back those tourists and for them to see what Puerto Plata has to offer and hopefully with the recent revitalization in tourism, their economy can get the kick-start that it needs

– Cultivate the habit of being grateful-

View from the cable car ride in San 
Felipede De Puerto Plata 
The view from the Tubagua Ecolodge Puerto Plata


Sosua Beach in Puerto Plata

My Flip Trip Experience in Puerto Plata

Written By: Abena Martin

To begin with, it’s hard to put into words the way I feel while experiencing the flip trip in the Dominican Republic. However, overall this experience has been such a delight as well as life-changing. This was a wonderful and a great way of viewing and identifying the different communities of Puerto Plata. During this flip trip, I was able to explore a few communities as well as experience some of the extraordinary excursion Puerto Plata has to offer. For instance, some of these tourist sites entailed the cable car ride, 27 waterfalls, Amber Cove, hiking trip down the mountain, attending Sosua beach, viewing the military fort, God’s pool (Waterfalls), as well as giving the chance to pour a concrete floor for the UNPC office among other great things. Furthermore, I was giving the chance to explore life on a whole other level. I got the chance to view a different part of the world that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see up close in personal.

Moreover, getting a better understanding of life and having a better understanding of new-comers. Honestly, the thing that impressed me most, I would have to say was visiting the neighborhood of Neuvo Renacer and seeing some community member’s drive and in order to see and make a difference. For one thing, there was a community member name (Sandra) who was also known as the Mother Theresa, who was the community advocate, pastor, as well as other major roles she has played. Puerto Plata is a beautiful island with such richness of culture, during my stay in this great place I have come to realize the essence of how gifted this island truly is. Overall, this trip was a memorable experience with such overflowing knowledge to gain as well as looking at community structures in a different lens. I feel ecstatic to have been giving the chance to go on an excursion such as this standard. Besides, I was participating, gaining knowledge, as well as memories.

Therefore, this experience had made me be humble and understanding, and opened in allowing new advantages to not scare me rather than enlighten me. My heart is still smiling with such gratitude, this flip trip is like a gift that I will always cherish and hold close to my heart. I would recommend that students get involved with this great opportunity and challenge themselves to do something incredible that otherwise they wouldn’t have done. When individuals take a vacation, they usually sit on the resorts not really giving the chance to go view the area where they are residing at, in an up-close and personal manner.

República Dominicana

Insight on Community-Based Tourism

By David Cavalier

March 6, 2019

Eight days from snow fall to sunshine, from city life to country-side life, from heated showers to to cold showers, from waking up to noisy cars, bus and trains to waking up to melodic birds, dogs and roosters. Why am I speaking about this transition, what could be so interesting about this blog. Lets continue reading and we will find out. Lets expand on a life changing, career gearing and community economic understanding experience. This was sponsored by Sage and Centennial College for Community Development students who are taking the course Community Economic Development.

“The What!!!”

  • Hands On experiences of successful, progressive, and unsuccessful Community-Based Tourism.
  • Community Economic Development
  • Identifying Community Economic Development Principles throughout experiences

Journey Just Starting to Puerto Plata

One Stop Please!!! To Puerto Plata

Our arrival was very warm and welcoming. Many of my classmates have never been to a tropical island so their expressions were so assuming and innocent. I really appreciated being back in the tropics being a tropical islander myself #JamaicanForever

“The Gut!!!”

Most days I woke up feeling thanking, feeling fit and ready for whatever activity we had planned for that day. Its was exciting learning but my true excitement came from learning with my peers. My classmates are one big drama and I love them, especially my wonderful teachers. I was impressed by the many ways community tourism could flourish and even compete against big multinational corporations tourism. Even incorporating or bonding with cruise ships in order to give tourist a real cultural experience while also re-channeling their spending directly into the communities and the country.

“So What!!!”

I assumed that local communities had nothing to do with Economic Development and that this was solely Government issues and Foreign Investors. I assumed that a community played no part in Tourism also and that the more an hotel had to offer the better the visitors experience. I was so WRONG.

We drove around parts of the island where we did some money exchange, engaged in very insightful teaching and sharing of history by our dear friend and tour guide, and of course some sightseeing. We then stopped at the Fortress of San Felipe where we listened to more historical teachings and took some of the most beautiful pictures, thus far at least. We then made our way to Cable Car Puerto Plata. Along with this journey as we waited for the cable car we stop and dance to some sweet cultural Merengue music that was being played in the lobby-like area by four locals. The vibe, the atmosphere, and the love were felt, and as we left, many of us gave financial donations in their donation bucket. After that experience, we encountered a magician at the front of the car stand.

To end our trip we visited the 27 Waterfalls (Los Charcos), due to the low water we only had access to a few falls instead of all of them. This is the most successful community-based tourism that we had the privileged to experience (had fun) and take notes on.

Our trip concluded with a night just as eventful as the day

  • Tired – NO
  • Hungry – NO
  • Bored – NO
  • Happy – YES

“Now what!!!”

I personally appreciated this trip, and all the experience. My understanding grew, my interest change, my perspective shifted, so much has happened. Sage! You made HUGE impact on this young man’s life. Centennial College! You made a HUGE impact on this young man’s life.

Beautiful

As a tourist I will be more mindful when visiting other countries and try to get the real cultural experience, invest my time and money into community based tourism. As a Community Development Worker I will encourage the true nature of Community Economic Development and apply all I have learn, seen and practiced in both theory and practical.

My amazing experience in Puerto Plata

I just came back from Puerto Plata in the Dominica Republic. It was an amazing experience in my life and this educational international taught me a lot of things.

When we arrived at the airport in Dominica, the weather and light breeze welcomed us very kindly and at the moment I already had a great impression with this country. While moving to the place we would stay, I had been excited. Where we stayed is called ecolodge, beautiful place ever surrounded by beautiful nature, and the view from there was breathtaking. As the name suggests the place is a very ecological place: water service stops after dinner, usually get a cold shower, and taking shower is under 10 min… It might sound hard for you but you can also see how water is valuable in DR. I adapted very quickly the environment. And I appreciated that what I had even very limited, and with the beautiful nature and the weather, it did not bother me at all.


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My high light of the trip is visiting a community called Nuevo Ranacer in Puerto Plata. We were taught by second-year students that the community has been facing many social problems. Walking around the neighborhood opened my eyes wider. Local people are so heartwarming, kind, and welcome to us. Despite the social issues, people are very positive and look forward to their future. Especially, I can’t forget the Children’s bright innocent smiles.

Another high light of the trip is a merengue dance party with a community member in Tabaugua. It was almost my first dance experience in my life and honestly, it was the biggest challenging for me! But once the music was started, I forgot my shyness and enjoyed merengue dance! The party continued until late and It was a great opportunity to communicate with local people. I had so much fun with my classmates and community members. The best night ever!!

Overall, I learned so many things from this Flip-Trip. It was very practical as a community development work student, it also gave me to take a moment to be thankful for having wonderful people, and beautiful nature. Thank you, Sage to give me this opportunity, and thank you for my professors and all my classmates!

Trip to Puerto Plata Sponsered by SAGE

Written by Abdifatah Hussein

The Trip

As a group of students we were offered the opportunity to visit the community of Puerto Plata and learn about the community development skills, observe the economy of the people, and build skills among other things. It was an eye-opening experience, where a student like me was able to see an entire world outside of Canada and experience something I wouldn’t have been able to without Sage.
We got to meet local community members that accepted us like family, help them with different initiatives, and immerse ourselves in the Dominican culture. The opportunity to observe the local economy as well, see the strengths and weaknesses associated with it, and make note of the opportunities of growth there helped us gain experience with international economies and how to help them with their various needs. Another amazing thing that we were able to do was have to opportunity to listen to a number of different speakers and guests who taught us a multitude of things that relate to our field and future career paths.

One of our amazing guests showing us how to really market and start off a business step by step.
The Centennial Team staying at the Ecolodge!

The Economy

The main reason we went to the Dominican Republic as a class was to observe their economy, analyze its strengths and weaknesses, and apply our Community Development techniques there. When people think of the DR the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people is the resorts, and the party life on the beach. But as we had came to learn, this beautiful land had a lot more to offer then that.
The economy of the DR is comprised of a very intricate web of corresponding political bodies, agencies, and international organizations. One interesting thing I learnt is that the Japanese helped to boost the tourism for the DR, but only for a contracted amount of time. Aside from the tourism though unfortunately there is a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. If you are not able to work with tourists, or know English it is hard to make a sustainable living for many Dominicans. We have noticed a paradigm shift in thinking though when it comes to economic development strategies, and local communities are now starting to take advantage of their local commodities and cultural hotspots. One that I wish to mention is the amazing coffee in the DR. There has been an effort to attract tourists to see the coffee manufacturing process, from the tree to the cup, and with the added bonus of seeing the locals sing to the beans it is a great experience they can capitalize on.

The People and the Experience

Overall this was an amazing eye-opener of an experience, and one that was a huge learning opportunity for a lot of us. For some it was the catalyst for them to realize what exactly they wanted to do in the community development field. For others it helped them learn more about the economic development of countries outside of their own. And for myself personally it was a chance to learn more about myself and how I can better interact with not just my classmates but with different kinds of people around the world.

The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, something that a lot of us did not expect. Waking up every morning to see the sun rise over the hills of Puerto Plata, going for 4 hour long hikes across the land just to dive into a beautiful lake and more was something that created a deep connection between nature and us all. But the most beautiful thing we encountered on our trip was the people. Every Dominican we met showed us a level of love and care that we don’t often see from strangers. When they found out we were there to do Community work as well they treated us with even more hospitality, and this is something I would like everyone who visits the DR to see, and not just the resorts that don’t help their communities. In conclusion this trip was an amazing life-changing experience that I must thank SAGE and Centennial College for giving me the opportunity to experience!

Why Community-based Tourism?

Why promote Community-Based Tourism?

By Shaundell Scott.

March 4, 2019

I was fortunate to spend seven days in the Dominican Republic with my eleven classmates and two of my professors on a project. This project was sponsored by Centennial College which is located in Toronto, Canada. The course is Community Economic Development, located within the Community Development Program). We traveled to the Dominican Republic to study what is Community-Based Tourism. While we were there, we did lots of projects and touring, we learned about Community-based tourism from a community point of view. However, what stood out to me was the water situation I experienced while being at the Ecolodge where we stayed and how we take water consumption and electricity for granted.

Why promote Community Based Tourism?

To save water and electricity: Conservation of water is vital for globalization. In Canada we waste gallons of water, we shower for hours at a time consuming not only large amounts of water but electricity.

* In the Dominican Republic, most days we were only allowed to shower for 10 minutes the most or else water will run out. You had to wet your skin, turn the water off, lather it will soap and rinse it off.

* Toilets were flushed only when you stool or if the urine in the toilet was brown in colour, if it was light yellow you urinate in it until such time or someone use it to stool then you flush to help conserve the water.

* Lights were turned off every time you left the room which was an open concept. You get the natural light during the day from the sun. The view for your bed was breathtaking as you see the hills, valleys and the lights from the city at night whiles lying on your bed.

* Most of the lights were turn off at a particular time in the night, so getting to the toilet you either had to use your mobile phone torchlight or a manual torchlight.

* There was no bottled water on the Ecolodge; we had filtered water, in which you take your recycled water bottle and fill it up for your needs.

Wake up Canada! Although we are going to be one of the last countries in North America affected by global warming, if we don’t take note and conserve, conserve, conserve, we will be affected at some point. Let’s teach our children how important it is to lessen our ecological footprints, while thinking about the effects of global warming.

With this in mind think about this, I visited the twenty-seven waterfalls (Los Charcos), and due to global warming (ie. rain drought in the region), we only had access to ten falls instead of the regular twelve which is used for tourism. All of this effect is due to climate change and no rainfall, there was no water in the remaining falls. How ironic that is, yes it is, but it is the facts. I remember when I was small and would get angry when my parents say to me

* “If you are not using the lights turn it off.”

* “Stop standing in front of the fridge so long with the door open.”

* “Who is watching the television? Turn it off” or

* “Why the fan is on, and no one is using it?”

All of that was for financial purposes. Today it is for us to save energy and our planet.

So why promote Community Based-Tourism?

So we can learn to appreciate what we have with a renewed sense of Global warming effects and how we can learn to lessen our footprints one by one.

 

 

My Flip Experience 2019

Jennifer Keene

March 6th, 2019

Puerto Plata is a beautiful city located in The Dominican Republic and I feel extremely blessed to have experienced the gems throughout this city and the lovely people that live there. My stay at the Tubagua Ecolodge was truly a challenge for me but I’m so glad I pushed past my fears and made the best of it. I am not an outdoorsy type of lady and I have a serious fear of bugs but I didn’t want that to stop me from all that was ahead of me for the next 6 days. I got to experience hiking to “God’s swimming pool” a beautiful waterfall located 40 mins away from the lodge and it was AMAZING! Walking through the hills and valleys was exhilarating and it made feel like I could conquer the world! Me and the FLIP team alongside our wonderful tour guide, encouraged each other, shared stories about challenges we faced and overcame and we kept each other smiling with our corny jokes. Many of us haven’t walked that long and far in a very long time, but we just kept going! I saw all my classmates and instructors in a whole new light and I felt so empowered by each of them whenever I would feel like it was getting tough. I compared that whole hiking experience to life, we go through ups and downs, we struggle, it gets tough but we just gotta persevere. Then when you get to the finish line you realize it was all worth it in the end and the challenges you faced weren’t so bad after all. Even leaning on a friend for support is necessary at times too, because we all face similar challenges.

All of the excursions really impressed me, I felt like our days were planned out well and taught us so much about community development and how successful organizations and projects can be if we use the tools we have learned and apply them. I assumed we would be doing a lot of work in the underserved communities so I was ready to get to work! but instead we heard very heartfelt stories, we learned about the failures and successes and we took a tour throughout the area and got a clear picture of what an underserved community in another country looks like.

This experience has taught me to push past any fears I have and to never assume nor have any expectations. I learned to just go for it, face everything head on, to never be afraid to ask for help or to ask a question and use every experience to help you be a better person. I plan to use all the tools I learned from being apart of a team with individuals who share the same passions and vision but have unique personalities, in my own projects and at work so we can be successful when trying to create an effective community based program etc.

You just gotta F-L-I-P!! (Forget Limitations & Instill Positivity)