#PCTImpact: Night Five Recap
This morning, we traveled to RePapel, a women’s cooperative that takes waste paper and turns it into recycled paper by hand. They also make various arts & crafts.
Throughout the morning, we each took turns at various stations, including hand-making some items like hot plate holders, place mats, candles and more. The candles are especially useful for two reasons. First, the Dominican Republic has lots of bugs and there is a chemical released when the candles are burned that repels insects. Second, there are often power outages in many of the DR’s towns and the candles are very handy when this happens at night.
The last part of the morning was spent working the various stations involved in the making of the actual paper. First we shredded old paper and sorted it by blank (white) and printed (color). These shreds are then put into a washing machine to make them pliable and soak them. Blenders are then used to ground the paper down. Finally, the pulp is put into a water mixture and a filter is run through. The resulting pulp left on the filter becomes a sheet of paper.
Once it dries, it is hand-pressed until the creases and imperfections are flattened. Then it is cut into consistent pieces before being turned into post cards, note pads or many other uses. This was VERY HARD work and our arms were burning from the smoothing process alone. That, plus the heat, made the work difficult but it was very rewarding.
This activity solves a variety of problems, including giving these wonderful women jobs and cutting down on pollution. Stay with them for a few hours like we did and you’ll make new best friends. Plus, they’ll likely make you sing and dance with them like they did with us. Be sure to know the words to La Bamba before visiting RePapel!
Our afternoon was spent on the only excursion that didn’t have an impact on the community – a tour of the top 10 sites in Puerto Plata, including an old Spanish fort, a beautiful cathedral, a local baseball stadium, the Amber Museum that inspired “Jurassic Park” and the Brugal Rum Factory. We may or may not be bringing home a few bottles…for medicinal purposes only, of course.
Tomorrow is our last day in the Dominican Republic and we’ll wrap up our time here with one more impact activity making chocolate. More tomorrow…
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