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Dominican Republic: Spring Break 07
For Spring Break ’07, ten students and a professor went to Paraiso, Barahona (a coastal province in the Dominican Republic) to do environmental service work. We split into two groups that switched projects mid-week. One group was working up on the mountains with the coffee farmers of COOCAFESUR, the coffee organization of the area. These farmers are trying to make their way to the organic coffee international market for the next coffee season. We were helping them build organic compost bins that they can use for their coffee crops. Working with the farmers was wonderful, we got to experience their daily life, we got to eat with them and their families on the farms and even shared stories that language barriers couldn’t stop.
While the first group was building compost bins on the mountains, the second group was filling up bags of dirt that would later be filled with macadamia seeds. These trees will be replanted all around the Nizao river to reforest the area and hopefully help the river gain some of the strength it had decades ago. These macadamia trees will also help the local economy since macadamia nuts are of high demand in the international market. With the help of the locals, especially the kids, we filled 14,000 bags.
We were staying in a humble hotel that was right across from the beach so everyday after the service work we would find our way to the beach for evenings of sun and water. For the weekend we went on a field trip to the beautiful Bahia de las Aguilas in Pedernales. Bahia is one of the few public beaches that the Dominican Republic has left and every environmental activist in the country is fighting for its natural rights, rights that are being threatened by the government.
This amazing week ended with a bonfire on the beach and a danceable party at the hotel where we thanked all of those that helped us during this experience and where we had fun for one last night before leaving Paradise.