Lakeland College Dominican Republic Practicum 2012

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  • From April 9 – 29, 2012 (three weeks) Thirteen students from CYC1, ELCC1 and ELCC2 travelled to the Dominican with two instructors. During the trip, the students completed a journal with approximately 15 entries, were given a midterm and final evaluation as well as submitted a PowerPoint presentation on their experiences.
  • CSA – Community Service AllianceCommunity Service Alliance is an organization based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that works to facilitate connections for individuals and groups interested in engaging in experiences of service and cross cultural study in the Dominican Republic.Through volunteer service opportunities and dynamic study abroad programs, CSA offers you the opportunity to live, learn, and be changed by a unique experience in the Dominican Republic.Lakeland College made connections to the CSA via a contact of Jason Dewling’s during some work he did with Habitat for Humanity.
  • At the airport waiting for the journey to begin
  • This was the hotel we stayed at in Santo DomingoWe stayed here for our first week and also our last night before returning to Canada.First impressions were that it was satisfactory but on the lower end of North American expectations. Boy, once we experienced our later housing, this became luxurious.
  • At the CSA office – learning about what will happen during the next 3 weeks and meeting the staffHere we experienced lectures on Dominican history, culture, youth at risk and the education system.
  • Historical tour of theColonial CityThe Colonial City – located between Independence Park and the Ozama River, was the first city built in the New World by European settlers, including Columbus's brother, Bartholomew, and his son, Diego Columbus. The first street in the Americas is Calle de Las Damas, the site of numerous historic buildings including the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in the Americas. There is also the house of Nicolás de Ovando, governor of Santo Domingo in the early 1500's and a ruthless warrior against the Taino Indians.Of great historical interest is the Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the restored 16th century palace of the Spanish Court, which features a wonderful glimpse of the past. Nearby is the Alcázar de Colón (Castle of Columbus) built by Diego Columbus and his wife Maria de Toledo, niece of the Spanish King Ferdinand.
  • Patria Mercedes Mirabal born February 27th 1924 to November 25th 1960Minerva Argentina Mirabal born March 12th 1926 to November 25th 1960Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabalborn October 15th 1935 to November 25th 1960All 3 sisters were natives of the Dominican Republic and were adamantlyopposed to the cruel dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. There is a fourth sister who is alive today and her name is Beglica  Adela Dede Mirabal-Reyes, known as Dede.  She did not have an active role in working against the dictator, Trujillo. The tale of the Mirabal sisters is an ongoing legacy of bravery and compassion in order to save the lives of many many people in the Dominican Republic.  They defied the flow of conformity and stood out as National Heroines.Their legacy:On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 (the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in commemoration of the sisters. This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence.[1] The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.The site of the sister’s monument is where their car was found (an accident staged to cover their murder). An elderly gentleman supervises the site – as a boy, he was present when the car was discovered.
  • Learning to dance.The most popular form of music and dance in the Dominican Republic is called Merengue - easily identified by its unique beat pattern of 2/2 and 2/4 time. This is the music you'll see the Dominican people dancing to in bars, and listening, as well as singing to, in their cars, businesses and homes. Couples dancing merengue is somewhat of a practiced art and many Dominicans are more than happy to teach this exciting dance to anyone willing to learn. The other national music, especially popular in the countryside or more rural regions of the Dominican Republic, is Bachata . This is music with a more melancholy beat and 4/4 time, and it talks mostly about life in the country and relationships between men and women.
  • As in Spain, the largest, most important meal of the day is lunch. Its most typical form, nicknamed La Bandera ("The Flag"), consists of rice, red beans, meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), and salad.Rice, Beans, Plantains, Pork, Chicken and Seafood are the most common ingredients used.Some other things we ate:Mangú – mashed, boiled plantain. Originated in west Africa and is known as fufu in Africa, Cuba and Puerto RicoTostones – fried green plantain slices served flattened and salted
  • The Dominican Republic ranks first in the global ranking in cocoa production and export. In 2009 it exported over 62,000 tons of cocoa mainly to the United States and Europe. In the Dominican Republic, cocoa is one of the four traditional export crops. Its economic importance is determined by some factors such as, among others, its role in the generation of hundreds of jobs, its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the protection of the environment, and to the country’s international renown.The country developed the organic cocoa farming in the 1980's. Planting is done in entirely agro-ecological land, without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Additionally, semi-processed products are also obtained, such as organic cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and chocolate.
  • The Dominican Republic ranks first in the global ranking in cocoa production and export. In 2009 it exported over 62,000 tons of cocoa mainly to the United States and Europe. In the Dominican Republic, cocoa is one of the four traditional export crops. Its economic importance is determined by some factors such as, among others, its role in the generation of hundreds of jobs, its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the protection of the environment, and to the country’s international renown.The country developed the organic cocoa farming in the 1980's. Planting is done in entirely agro-ecological land, without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Additionally, semi-processed products are also obtained, such as organic cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and chocolate.
  • The Dominican Republic has seen a huge growth in tobacco cultivation in the last 25 years, and several major cigar producers have been attracted to the region not only for its climate and soil but also because of the more recent stable economic and political situation. The Dominican Republic now exports over 350 million cigars each year.
  • On the floor of the main rolling room, it was fascinating to watch the workers who were permitted to smoke while working. There was also a small stage in the front corner of the room with a desk and microphone. A person is brought in to read the local newspapers to the workers for part of the day. They typically worked from 7am to 3pm.
  • These iguanas were at a nature reserve in the arid region of the country (interior DR near the Haitian border). They obviously know the routine as when our bus pulled into the parking lot, they started streaming from the underbrush. We counted over 30 iguanas.
  • A peacock at the retreat centre where we stayed in the province of Puerto Plata during our second week. The students named him “Kevin”.
  • A chicken walking through the school yard.
  • Garbage can be seen on streets in the cities and towns.Car/trucks are either well cared for expansive cars or those that are falling apartMotorcycles were the main form of transportation. Helmets are not necessary and often you would see entire families (complete with young children and babies) on a single motorcycle. We saw propane tanks, 2x4 boards, water jugs, etc regularly being held onto and transported on motorcycles. Taxis were often very run down and as long as you could bungee cord a taxi sign to your roof, you could be a taxi. People would get into taxis anywhere even when they were stopped at traffic lights. There was also no necessity to where seat belts as often you would see 6-7 passengers in a small taxi – you would have to adjust your sense of personal space.There are traffic laws but they seemed to be more of a suggestion than a law. During our time in the capital, we parked beside no parking signs, we drove the wrong way up one way streets – driving in general was amazing – our driver had to be very forceful to move in and out of traffic. It seemed like horns are used there more than brakes. Crossing streets was also a challenge. Our CSA friends would just tell us that you have to walk out into the street like you expect the traffic to stop and then it will – “You just have to believe”.
  • Garbage can be seen on streets in the cities and towns.Car/trucks are either well cared for expansive cars or those that are falling apartMotorcycles were the main form of transportation. Helmets are not necessary and often you would see entire families (complete with young children and babies) on a single motorcycle. We saw propane tanks, 2x4 boards, water jugs, etc regularly being held onto and transported on motorcycles. Taxis were often very run down and as long as you could bungee cord a taxi sign to your roof, you could be a taxi. People would get into taxis anywhere even when they were stopped at traffic lights. There was also no necessity to where seat belts as often you would see 6-7 passengers in a small taxi – you would have to adjust your sense of personal space.There are traffic laws but they seemed to be more of a suggestion than a law. During our time in the capital, we parked beside no parking signs, we drove the wrong way up one way streets – driving in general was amazing – our driver had to be very forceful to move in and out of traffic. It seemed like horns are used there more than brakes. Crossing streets was also a challenge. Our CSA friends would just tell us that you have to walk out into the street like you expect the traffic to stop and then it will – “You just have to believe”.
  • Animals room freely in cities, towns and the country side
  • There areprivate schools, public schools, non profit schools in the DRThe primary language of instruction in public schools in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. There are generally not enough teachers, facilities or funding to meet the demands of the unusually large Dominican school-age population. Many private and religious schools supplement the state-financed schools. Children aged 7 to 14 years are required to attend, and almost every large community has elementary and secondary schools.Primary education is officially free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 14, although those who live in isolated areas have limited access to schooling. Primary schooling is followed by a two-year intermediate school and a four-year secondary course, after which a diploma called the bachillerato (high school diploma) is awarded. Relatively few lower-income students succeed in reaching this level, due to financial hardships and limitation due to location. Most families with regular income (middle class) in urban areas send their children to private schools, which are frequently sponsored by religious institutions. Some public and private vocational schools are available, particularly in the field of agriculture, but this too reaches only a tiny percentage of the populationChildren go to school for ½ day in the Dominican and often do not go in rainy weather. Everyone, rich and poor alike where school uniforms. Schools are not large enough to house all grade levels at once so middle school aged children often go to school in the morning and then the younger children go to school in the afternoon. In some cases, not only do the ages/grades change but the whole staff, administration and even school name changes from morning to afternoon. In urban centers, most schools offer night classes to teenagers who must work during the day. Adults may also attend.
  • What a huge difference from private school resources to public school. Most rooms we saw contained desks and a chalkboard with nothing on the walls, or resources around the room.
  • On wash day, clothes are found hanging / drying off of everything – sometimes even on the ground.
  • Oddly, the public rural schools seemed to have more resources than the urban public schools. Here we saw some displays on the walls and some books and resources. However, schools often did not have yards sufficient for play. It was hard to see / observe a school identity.
  • At the schools we visited in the rural areas, our projects were to assist in the construction of a reading room (often a storage area where they are trying to start a library). Often we were needed to paint and put up some shelves. At this school, they needed a doorway built so we assisted in breaking down a wall and later closing up half of the window. Anything can become a tool in the Dominican as sticks from trees were often used to stir paint and rocks became paint scrapers. Steel toed boots, protective eye wear, or masks were not even items that were considered necessary.
  • At the schools we visited in the rural areas, our projects were to assist in the construction of a reading room (often a storage area where they are trying to start a library). Often we were needed to paint and put up some shelves. At this school, they needed a doorway built so we assisted in breaking down a wall and later closing up half of the window. Anything can become a tool in the Dominican as sticks from trees were often used to stir paint and rocks became paint scrapers. Steel toed boots, protective eye wear, or masks were not even items that were considered necessary.
  • At this school, the students did have a small play area that at one time had a basketball net on a steel post. The basketball net was long gone as was the majority of the post when we arrived, however, as you can see, there was a sharp metal stub that remained about six inches out of the concrete. It made playing in the yard very dangerous. While some of our students demolished a wall, some were painting in the reading room, students also took turns chipping away at the concrete around this metal stub. The plan was to break the cement down far enough that we could cut off the protruding metal pole and then cover everything with a concrete patch. This became a huge team building activity as everyone (students, instructors and CSA staff) took a turn chipping away at this project. It took us all day to complete the task but finally we did it!! There was even time to play some games with the kids at the end of the day – Awesome!
  • At first, the amount of garbage around the countryside really bothered me and it still does but as I observed the homes over a number of days, I noticed that while the yards and areas on either side of the homes may have had a lot of dirt, waste and garbage, when I looked directly in front of each of the homes, I could see the care and pride that truly existed.
  • This home was only 5 years old and took us less than 10 minutes to empty. A mother and 5? children lived here. Their father lived their sporadically. The children had no beds and slept on a dirt floor. We found mice and a couple of scorpions while cleaning out the home. Our job here was to mix and spread cement for her floor and add the plumbing for a shower. Our carpenter wanted to build bunk beds for the children but we ran out of time – our CSA leaders said they would be returning in a couple of weeks with a group of high school students.
  • This home was only 5 years old and took us less than 10 minutes to empty. A mother and 5? children lived here. Their father lived their sporadically. The children had no beds and slept on a dirt floor. We found mice and a couple of scorpions while cleaning out the home. Our job here was to mix and spread cement for her floor and add the plumbing for a shower. Our carpenter wanted to build bunk beds for the children but we ran out of time – our CSA leaders said they would be returning in a couple of weeks with a group of high school students.
  • Sleeping with mosquito netting was interesting and while there were mosquitos (we were warned several times about how bad they were), I don’t know if the Dominican people truly understood that as Albertans, we have experienced mosquitos. The biggest difference, of course, is that mosquitos can carry malaria in the areas we travelled. Here we also began to experience Dominican bugs. Spiders, the size of your hand (including the legs), beetles and cockroaches as long as a finger, geckos and frogs everywhere as well as lightning bugs that would stay lit for 30 seconds to a minute at a time – gross and cool all at the same time. The Dominican does have some large snakes and tarantulas but fortunately, we did not see any!
  • Each night we would tuck ourselves in tightly more to keep out the spiders than the mosquitos! This location was also our third and final week and was very damp and humid. We dried ourselves off with damp towels, put on damp clothes and slept in damp beds. I never thought I’d say this but I really missed Alberta’s dry climate.

Transcript

  • 1. Community Service Alliance is an organization based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that works to facilitate connections for individuals and groups interested in engaging in experiences of service and cross cultural study in the Dominican Republic. Through volunteer service opportunities and dynamic study abroad programs, CSA offers you the opportunity to live, learn, and be changed by a unique experience in the Dominican Republic.
  • 2. This was the hotel we stayed at in Santo Domingo We stayed here for our first week and also our last night before returning to Canada. First impressions were that it was satisfactory but on the lower end of North American expectations. Once we experienced our later housing, this became luxurious.
  • 3. At the CSA office – learning about what will happen during the next 3 weeks and meeting the staff Here we experienced lectures on Dominican history, culture, youth at risk and the education system.
  • 4.  The Colonial City – located between Independence Park and the Ozama River, was the first city built in the New World by European settlers, including Columbus's brother, Bartholomew, and his son, Diego Columbus.  The first street in the Americas is Calle de Las Damas, the site of numerous historic buildings including the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in the Americas. There is also the house of Nicolás de Ovando, governor of Santo Domingo in the early 1500's and a ruthless warrior against the Taino Indians.  Of great historical interest is the Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the restored 16th century palace of the Spanish Court, which features a wonderful glimpse of the past. Nearby is the Alcázar de Colón (Castle of Columbus) built by Diego Columbus and his wife Maria de Toledo, niece of the Spanish King Ferdinand.
  • 5. Patria Mercedes Mirabal b. February 27 1924 Minerva Argentina Mirabal b. March 12 1926 Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal b. October 15 1935 All 3 died Nov. 25, 2960
  • 6. All 3 sisters were natives of the Dominican Republic and were adamantly opposed to the cruel dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. There is a fourth sister who is alive today and her name is Beglica Adela Dede Mirabal-Reyes, known as Dede. She did not have an active role in working against the dictator, Trujillo. The tale of the Mirabal sisters is an ongoing legacy of bravery and compassion in order to save the lives of many many people in the Dominican Republic. They defied the flow of conformity and stood out as National Heroines. Their legacy: On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 (the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in commemoration of the sisters. This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence.[1] The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day. The site of the sister’s monument is where their car was found (an accident staged to cover their murder). An elderly gentleman supervises the site – as a boy, he was present when the car was discovered.
  • 7. The most popular form of music and dance in the Dominican Republic is called Merengue - easily identified by its unique beat pattern of 2/2 and 2/4 time. This is the music you'll see the Dominican people dancing to in bars, and listening, as well as singing to, in their cars, businesses and homes.
  • 8. Couples dancing merengue is somewhat of a practiced art and many Dominicans are more than happy to teach this exciting dance to anyone willing to learn.
  • 9. As in Spain, the largest, most important meal of the day is lunch. Its most typical form, nicknamed La Bandera ("The Flag"), consists of rice, red beans, meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), and salad. Rice, Beans, Plantains, Pork, Chicken and Seafood are the most common ingredients used. Some other things we ate: Mangú – mashed, boiled plantain. Originated in west Africa and is known as fufu in Africa, Cuba and Puerto Rico Tostones – fried green plantain slices served flattened and salted
  • 10. • The Dominican Republic ranks first in the global ranking in cocoa production and export. In 2009 it exported over 62,000 tons of cocoa mainly to the United States and Europe. In the Dominican Republic, cocoa is one of the four traditional export crops. Its economic importance is determined by some factors such as, among others, its role in the generation of hundreds of jobs, its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the protection of the environment, and to the country’s international renown. • The country developed the organic cocoa farming in the 1980's. Planting is done in entirely agro-ecological land, without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Additionally, semi- processed products are also obtained, such as organic cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and chocolate.
  • 11. The Dominican Republic has seen a huge growth in tobacco cultivation in the last 25 years, and several major cigar producers have been attracted to the region not only for its climate and soil but also because of the more recent stable economic and political situation. The Dominican Republic now exports over 350 million cigars each year.
  • 12. On the floor of the main rolling room, it was fascinating to watch the workers who were permitted to smoke while working. There was also a small stage in the front corner of the room with a desk and microphone. A person is brought in to read the local newspapers to the workers for part of the day. They typically worked from 7am to 3pm.
  • 13. These iguanas were at a nature reserve in the arid region of the country (interior DR near the Haitian border). They obviously know the routine as when our bus pulled into the parking lot, they started streaming from the underbrush. We counted over 30 iguanas.
  • 14. A peacock at the retreat centre where we stayed in the province of Puerto Plata during our second week. The students named him “Kevin”.
  • 15. A chicken walking through the school yard.
  • 16. Garbage can be seen on streets in the cities and towns. Car/trucks are either well cared for expansive cars or those that are falling apart Motorcycles were the main form of transportation. Helmets are not necessary and often you would see entire families (complete with young children and babies) on a single motorcycle. We saw propane tanks, 2x4 boards, water jugs, etc regularly being held onto and transported on motorcycles. Taxis were often very run down and as long as you could bungee cord a taxi sign to your roof, you could be a taxi. People would get into taxis anywhere even when they were stopped at traffic lights.
  • 17. There was also no necessity to where seat belts as often you would see 6-7 passengers in a small taxi – you would have to adjust your sense of personal space. There are traffic laws but they seemed to be more of a suggestion than a law. During our time in the capital, we parked beside no parking signs, we drove the wrong way up one way streets – driving in general was amazing – our driver had to be very forceful to move in and out of traffic. It seemed like horns are used there more than brakes. Crossing streets was also a challenge. Our CSA friends would just tell us that you have to walk out into the street like you expect the traffic to stop and then it will – “You just have to believe”.
  • 18. Animals room freely in cities, towns and the country side
  • 19. There are private schools, public schools, non profit schools in the DR The primary language of instruction in public schools in the Dominican Republic is Spanish. There are generally not enough teachers, facilities or funding to meet the demands of the unusually large Dominican school-age population. Many private and religious schools supplement the state-financed schools. Children aged 7 to 14 years are required to attend, and almost every large community has elementary and secondary schools. Primary education is officially free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 14, although those who live in isolated areas have limited access to schooling. Primary schooling is followed by a two-year intermediate school and a four-year secondary course, after which a diploma called the bachillerato (high school diploma) is awarded. Relatively few lower-income students succeed in reaching this level, due to financial hardships and limitation due to location. Most families with regular income (middle class) in urban areas send their children to private schools, which are frequently sponsored by religious institutions. Some public and private vocational schools are available, particularly in the field of agriculture, but this too reaches only a tiny percentage of the population
  • 20. Children go to school for ½ day in the Dominican and often do not go in rainy weather. Everyone, rich and poor alike where school uniforms. Schools are not large enough to house all grade levels at once so middle school aged children often go to school in the morning and then the younger children go to school in the afternoon. In some cases, not only do the ages/grades change but the whole staff, administration and even school name changes from morning to afternoon. In urban centers, most schools offer night classes to teenagers who must work during the day. Adults may also attend.
  • 21. What a huge difference from private school resources to public school. Most rooms we saw contained desks and a chalkboard with nothing on the walls, or resources around the room.
  • 22. On wash day, clothes are found hanging / drying off of everything – sometimes even on the ground.
  • 23. Oddly, the public rural schools seemed to have more resources than the urban public schools. Here we saw some displays on the walls and some books and resources. However, schools often did not have yards sufficient for play. It was hard to see / observe a school identity.
  • 24. At the schools we visited in the rural areas, our projects were to assist in the construction of a reading room (often a storage area where they are trying to start a library). Often we were needed to paint and put up some shelves. At this school, they needed a doorway built so we assisted in breaking down a wall and later closing up half of the window. Anything can become a tool in the Dominican as sticks from trees were often used to stir paint and rocks became paint scrapers. Steel toed boots, protective eye wear, or masks were not even items that were considered necessary.
  • 25. At this school, the students did have a small play area that at one time had a basketball net on a steel post. The basketball net was long gone as was the majority of the post when we arrived, however, as you can see, there was a sharp metal stub that remained about six inches out of the concrete. It made playing in the yard very dangerous. While some of our students demolished a wall, some were painting in the reading room, students also took turns chipping away at the concrete around this metal stub. The plan was to break the cement down far enough that we could cut off the protruding metal pole and then cover everything with a concrete patch.
  • 26. This became a huge team building activity as everyone (students, instructors and CSA staff) took a turn chipping away at this project. It took us all day to complete the task but finally we did it!! There was even time to play some games with the kids at the end of the day – Awesome!
  • 27. At first, the amount of garbage around the countryside really bothered me and it still does but as I observed the homes over a number of days, I noticed that while the yards and areas on either side of the homes may have had a lot of dirt, waste and garbage, when I looked directly in front of each of the homes, I could see the care and pride that truly existed.
  • 28. This home was only 5 years old and took us less than 10 minutes to empty. A mother and 5 children lived here. Their father lived there sporadically. The children had no beds and slept on a dirt floor. We found mice and a couple of scorpions while cleaning out the home. Our job here was to mix and spread cement for her floor and add the plumbing for a shower. Our carpenter wanted to build bunk beds for the children but we ran out of time – our CSA leaders said they would be returning in a couple of weeks with a group of high school students.
  • 29. we have experienced mosquitos. The biggest difference, of course, is that mosquitos can carry malaria in the areas we travelled. Here we also began to experience Dominican bugs. Spiders, the size of your hand (including the legs), beetles and cockroaches as long as a finger, geckos and frogs everywhere as well as lightning bugs that would stay lit for 30 seconds to a minute at a time – gross and cool all at the same time. The Dominican does have some large snakes and tarantulas but fortunately, we did not see any! Sleeping with mosquito netting was interesting and while there were mosquitos (we were warned several times about how bad they were), I don’t know if the Dominican people truly understood that as Albertans,
  • 30. Each night we would tuck ourselves in tightly more to keep out the spiders than the mosquitos! This location was also our third and final week and was very damp and humid. We dried ourselves off with damp towels, put on damp clothes and slept in damp beds. I never thought I’d say this but I really missed Alberta’s dry climate.