"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Bienvenidos a Santo Domingo

>> Tuesday, March 10, 2009

During our extended stay in the DR, we certainly have been welcomed by the friendly, outgoing and hospitable people of the country. Docked on the western bank of the Rio Ozama alongside Santo Domingo has made it easy to take advantage of exploring the 16th century Spanish colonial sights and cobblestone passageways of the Zona Colonial. We have come and gone many times through the Puerta de la Misericerdia and visited sights such as the former Spanish colonial administrative buildings of the royal court; Fortalaeza Ozama, the oldest colonial military edifice in the New World; and Catedral Primada de America, whose first stone was set under the administration of Diego Columbus. The open air and shady plazas have provided inviting spaces for our classes. In history class, we have focused on topics related to the historical importance of the Caribbean, specifically Hispaniola’s pivotal role and the rise of European colonial dominance. For literature class, the students are reading Farming of the Bones by Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, a fictional account of the 1937 Haitian massacre in the DR under the dictator Rafael Trujillo. Yesterday, the students completed their first Marine Science exam in Plaza de la Hispanidad, covering plate tectonics, earth structure, water chemistry, and the physics of waves.
One night we took the students out to dinner to try typical dishes from Santo Domingo. They had mofongo, a plantain mash with garlic, and Sancocho, a delicious beef stew with incredible flavor. After that we took them dancing and they had a chance to try the merengue and bachata, the popular dances of the DR. Our students continually impress us with their willingness to try new things without hesitation. They have had their eyes wide open on the details of every nook and cranny.
Our group also had the fortunate experience to get off the beaten track and visit the Wild West of the DR, the most ecologically diverse region of the country. We passed through small communities dependant of fishing or farming, especially sugar cane, bananas, corn, rice, cassava, and river fish. Our stops in the roasting desert scrubland included visits to Taino petroglyphs, a massive salt water lake (home to crocodiles and innumerable iguanas) a Haitian market on the border, and a local fresh water swimming hole. Ahora todo va bien y vamos al parte oeste del Caribe. !Hasta pronto!
Christine Honan, head educator


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