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.
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
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.
. 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!