#PCTImpact: Night Three Recap
Today was life-changing – both for our group and the residents of Cupey, Dominican Republic and some workers at a local nursery. It is difficult to put into words the emotions all of us are feeling but hopefully the gist of it will shine through.
After breakfast, we met again with Paige, our Impact Guide, for a session about the history and people of the Dominican Republic. We learned the history of the area through several fun, interactive games including trivia. We then heard the story of three locals, each of whom will be impacted by our activities on the ground this week. A common theme of each of their stories was a love of life, a thankfulness for what they had (even if it was very little), a love of friends and family and a genuine humility rarely found these days. We were told we would meet more people like these examples — and fathom did not disappoint.
As the Captain skillfully maneuvered us along side at Amber Cove, we attended a Photography Seminar designed to help us take better pictures while at our impact activities. Following that session, it was time for lunch and then our first trek into the Dominican Republic.
A local band was playing to welcome us to beautiful Amber Cove. We quickly boarded the buses for our impact activities. Scott, Michelle, Chris and Melissa took an hour-long trip to Cupey, a village in the mountains of the Dominican Republic for the Community English Conversation and Learning excursion, while Lou & Megan chose the Reforestation option.
The English teaching group arrived at the community center to find our students waiting for us. They ranged in age from five years old to some elderly, but all seemed genuinely happy to be there and thrilled to see us. We were given our teaching notebooks and a random number that would match us up with a family or group. Once paired up, we were invited into the students’ homes nearby. This is a farming community so lots of cows, chickens and other animals were often seen. We spent about two hours working one-on-one with members of the community on this week’s lesson – Food. The lesson plan changes each week and by the end of the first 15-20 weeks, each student will take an exam over rudimentary English. We were quite surprised by our students and their willingness to learn. Chris was lucky enough to get another Chris to teach and they spent the day teaching each other English and Spanish. Melissa worked with Chris’ Abuela or Grandmother, Doris. She was so eager to learn that she took copious notes and excelled at reviewing past lessons. Even when stumped by something new, she was determined to tackle it. Scott & Michelle also worked with wonderful villagers and found their experiences to be worthwhile and memorable.
Meanwhile, Lou & Megan drove into the mountains and worked at a nursery replanting Mahogany seedlings as part of a reforestation program. All of these impact activities are designed to help the community in three ways: Economically, socially and environmentally. Our goal is also to leave them with the tools they’ll need to maintain their success and not just temporarily fix the problems. We want this to be long-term change and from what we all saw today, we are extremely encouraged about the rest of the trip.
After our activities we boarded the buses back to Amber Cove and treated ourselves to a drink at the poolside bar at the port. Later, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the Pacific Restaurant and then all decided to call it a night since we have a long day ahead tomorrow. We all headed back to our cabins with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction and a belief that we made real friends and real progress today.
Our next Impact Activity will involve all of us and one of the fathom signature excursions – making water filters. This is probably the most popular activity on this itinerary and we are really looking forward to it.
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