Fun fact about the Dominican Republic: Everyone speaks Spanish. It is the language of the island.
So it has been awhile since I have updated. Something I have learned about cruises is that internet is pricey. Therefore, I have to walk into port. Which is difficult after a long day so those are my excuses for the poor posting. My last post was short as well. Apparently typing during a sea storm is a sure fire way to get motion sickness. Oops.
Instead we are going to do a two for one deal! I will post about my last two days to catch us up.
Day 1-We arrived in the DR on Tuesday afternoon. The port here is called amber cove. Pictured below. The facility is excellent. Its brand new, has wifi, a restaurant, several shops, a cafe, a full pool with water slides and a zip line, and plenty of places to get money. Its a little village all on its own. We are about 15 minutes via car from Puerta Plata. I will warn that public transportation is interesting here so taxis are the best way to get in and out of the city.
Tuesday afternoon I participated in my first impact activity. Fathom Cruises is a cruise ship specializing in community outreach and so they run what are called impact activities. These activities allow for people to interact with the community in a positive exchange of skills. The impact activities I specialized in were English education based. In the Dominican Republic citizens who can speak English increase their chances of getting jobs and educational opportunities such as getting scholarships to the US to attend university. My first activity was what we call Community English meaning that I worked with adults and children to improve their English outside of a school setting. We use lesson plan books provided by the organization that Fathom works with as a teaching tool. They are easy to use if you have no teaching experience. The activity was highly rewarding and lasted about 4 hours total. I can’t explain how great it is to be in the home of locals helping them achieve goals they set for themselves. The children I worked with were bright and engaged and in return for me teaching them English they taught me some Spanish. REMEMBER: when teaching English to non-native speakers remember to speak slowly, use few verbal fillers, and focus on syllabus. Saying the word over and over again is not as effective as sounding out the word. If your students don’t understand the concept SHOW THEM. Point to the object, touch the object, or demonstrate the phrase. This will allow them a personal connection to what you are saying. One of the great things about the cruise is that you can take seminars before you arrive into port that will help you gain skills on how to tutor English and phrases in Spanish that can help you communicate. Both of these will help you with the activity.
Also remember that the people of the Dominican Republic deserve respect. Take pictures WITH THEM if asked, not of them. They are no subjects of cute curiosity. Impact travel is about being among the community not observing them. My group and I got on very well and at the end of the lesson practically tackled me for pictures. We had so much fun, laughed, and even did some dancing. I must say this was way more interesting than being a tourist. You all know how I feel about being a tourist!
Read my next post for Wednesday activities where I do another impact trip and also do some scuba!