#PCTImpact: Night Six Recap
Good evening from onboard fathom Adonia, currently about 70 miles northwest of Amber Cove, our home for the last three and half days. This morning was our last chance to make an impact in the Dominican Republic and we took full advantage of the opportunity.
After breakfast, we drove to Chocal, a local chocolate factory run by a women’s cooperative. Just like the ladies at RePapel yesterday, this group was cheerful and friendly but made sure we did our work.
We started with a tour of the factory. They make five varieties of chocolate bars and several different types of bonbons. After our tour and a brief overview of the different work stations, it was time for us to make our contribution.
Since the ship sailed at noon today, each of the impact activities offered was a shorter version of the one offered during the “full days” in port. So today, for example, we missed visiting their nursery. There, had we stopped by, we would have planted some seedlings that would later produce the cacao used in making the chocolate. So while we didn’t actually plant any trees today, others on our ship did on Wednesday and Thursday and those seedlings, once mature in a couple of years, will provide cacao for 60-80 years.
The first station we actually worked was the next step in the process – checking the beans. We checked each bean by hand, removing deformed, cracked or otherwise “bad seeds” from the mix.
Next, it was time to work with the ground up beans. By sifting these, we were able to remove any extra shell casings or partial shells left in the mix. Shaking the sifter made the larger pieces rise to the surface so they were easier to spot and remove.
Our next stop was where we worked with the finished product – the chocolate itself. Today, we helped put the melted product into molds for the bonbons. Our group made several molds of chocolate, which were then put into a freezer to harden them.
Once removed from the freezer and cooled, it was time to wrap and label them, a process also done lovingly by hand. Part of our group wrapped bonbons in individual portions while the rest of the group assembled the bar versions and boxed them into display-ready boxes for stores.
Our last stop was the gift shop, where many of us purchased bonbons, bars of chocolate and even some “chocolate wine” that they make at the factory.
The Adonia sailed shorly after our arrival back onboard and we will arrive in Miami early Sunday morning.
Tonight we treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner in The Ocean Grill, the ship’s specialty restaurant. At $25 per person, it’s quite a bargain. You can see the full menu and photos of all the dishes on our Facebook Adonia photo album page.
Tomorrow is our last full day onboard. We’ll participate in some more impact activities, including a wrap-up session with our Impact Guide, Paige. During that meeting, we’ll hear a recap of our work on the ground and some statistics that will show us just how much of a difference this trip has made.
Now, after three and a half days of tough but rewarding work, it’s time to let the ship rock us all to sleep
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