Hola a todos!
Aside from the community public health aspect of my study abroad program, there is also an element of excursions. They are intended for us to appreciate the vast diversity in the Dominican Republic. We traveled from Santiago to the Northern Coast of the Dominican Republic to exercise a practice known as ecotourism. Prior to this excursion, I did not know what ecotourism entailed. Ecotourism consists of tourism towards the natural environment which also makes up the communities around them. In the practice of ecotourism it ensures that the revenue earned from tourism goes directly to conservation of the environment as well as to the people of the community.
One of our stops of our trip was to the city of Puerto Plata. While in Puerto Plata we went to La Calle de Sombrillas (the Street of Umbrellas) to appreciate the Dominican culture found there. Another exciting site we visited was La Fortaleza de San Felipe (the Fortress of San Felipe) which is a historic Spanish fortress. Since there is a lot of tourism that occurs there, I heard English being spoken by the natives of Puerto Plata. It was interesting to hear because in Santiago it is uncommon to hear English being spoken.
Another stop on our trip was to the small village of Pedro Gracia which is located between Puerto Plata and Santiago. There we learned all about the coffee agriculture and the process it takes to make the coffee bean. I learned about the cereza (“cherry”) which is the fruit which contains the seed that will later become the coffee bean. After the seed is removed from the cereza, then it is burned and depending on how much it is burned determines the roast of the coffee.
Another interesting aspect of coffee that I learned about was the various methods of preparing a cup of coffee. The main method that is used in the Dominican household is the use of the greca which is a type of coffee maker. The water is placed on the bottom half of the greca along with the ground up coffee which then when heated moves to the top producing the coffee. I got the chance to grind up coffee which was then used to taste test the coffee there. This was probably the most exciting part of the excursion for me since I am huge coffee buff.
I can’t wait to see what this beautiful country of the Dominican Republic has in store.
Until next time,