Dominican Republic

SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Information: The group will fly from Houston to Santo Domingo, clear customs, and immigration and then continue on to a volunteer center near San Pedro de Macoris where we will be housed for the first several days of the program. Once settled in, we will participate in an orientation to learn more about the community, culture, and service opportunities.

Working in the bateyes is an intense service and learning experience. Students will contribute to the ongoing community development projects in San Pedro de Macoris and Hato Mayor bateyes organized by local NGOs and Rustic Pathways. The bateyes are seasonal sugarcane working communities. These worker communities have been marginalized and have some of the lowest standards of living in the country. Many children of these workers, though born in the Dominican Republic, are systematically denied citizenship despite local birth and generations of ancestry in the country. Most projects in the Bateyes are construction-based - we usually build latrines, blackwater treatment systems, houses, or upgrade standing homes from dirt floors to cement. Community members always join in with us for the projects, since they’re community-initiated and overseen by local engineers, construction teams, and community leaders. 

In addition to the meaningful service work, students will have the unique opportunity to learn about sugar cane production, try your hand at harvesting some cane and taste the sugar right from the stalk. 

Please be aware with the openness and flexibility to the schedule; things in the Dominican Republic run at a different pace and with a different idea of organization and efficiency than we are used to in the US. Some of the best experiences are in simply spending time with the people you serve.

Boarding and Lodging: Students from Strake Jesuit will stay in local volunteer facility outside of the town of San Pedro de Macoris and in a hotel in the town of Bayahibe and Santo Domingo. All meals will be provided by the volunteer facility during the first five days of service. Whilst in Bayahibe and Santo Domingo, meals will be coordinated by restaurants showcasing the local cuisine of the area.

Excursion Information: Towards the end of the week, the group will head to the beachside town of Bayahibe and take a catamaran tour to Isla Saona, stopping along the way to check out different snorkeling spots, a have lunch on the beach, stop at natural pools for some easy swimming, and relax on the beach nearby tall coconut trees. The trip will end with a visit to Santo Domingo and the Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to the first university, cathedral and hospital in the Americas. We’ll head over to the Mercado Modelo to pick up some gifts and haggle a little with the shop owners there on the handmade jewelry, paintings, carved wood objects, and Dominican sweets. After your time in the Colonial Zone, Strake students will head over to a special dinner and dance show at a typical Dominican restaurant for a final round of arroz con habichuelas, pollo guisado, and dulce de leche. 

Trip Costs: $1795 + airfare. The cost includes all travel expenses, all food and lodging, and program fees. Students are not required to bring additional spending money, but it is suggested for personal items/souvenirs that may be purchased in country. Please note, visa and passport fees are not included in the listed price.

Dates: July 11 - 19, +/- a day or so