We have been living in the Dominican Republic for 9 months. Every chance we get we go to a beach. It seems each is prettier than the last. Some are good for swimming, some for surfing, some beach walking. I can’t say which is the best, so I will show you some of the ones we have liked the best and why…
Bahia de los Aguilas in the far south in the province of Pedernales has got to be on the top of the list: warm, calm, crystal clear water.. it gets deep slowly. the sand is white and clean, there is no development because it is a national park. There are no roads to get there, only by boat. Other than our boat, there were only two others on a beach 3 kilometers long…
The boat ride over was just as beautiful…the beach where you catch the boat
A perfect Caribbean beach
This way out of the way even for adventure seekers. This is a place Columbus landed in 1493, Monte Cristi
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispanola They share the island with Haiti. Historically, sugar has been the number one crop. As early as 1512 slaves were brought from Africa to work the fields. The plantations over time became very large and small groups of homes were built to house the workers. These were called bateys. Many of the sugar factories aren’t working anymore but the people are stranded in these highly impoverished places.
Haiti, since 2005 has had very hard times, including but not limited to the earthquake in 2010. People have come to work in the cane fields. Some have been recruited from Haiti, some have crossed over here in search of a better life. Many of these people have been here for generations, some for only a few years. Most have no documentation that would allow them to leave to go back to Haiti or to leave the bateys. If they are born of Haitian parents, even Haitian grand and great grandparents, they are not eligible for citizenship.
Many have no work to do.There are hard choices to be made.
There are hundreds of children whose future looks bleak, hopeless in fact. Often it is a choice between buying clean water to drink or food to eat.
This man was a cane cutter, and has lived his whole life here. He is too old to work the 12 hours a day cutting cane with a machete. There is a faucet down the alley where he gets his water to drink, and his children come by every once in a while to give him a few pesos.
We were waiting to find out where we would serve, it was the middle of the coldest January on record in Utah so we took a trip to Maui. One day, we flew to Molokai to visit the leper colony.
Turns out to be one of the most beautiful islands on earth. With one of the most tragic and lonely histories I have ever heard.
At the time of the leper colony, it was so isolated. There was a mule trail down from the top, or a very rough boat ride to the island. Once the people were there, very few ever left. At first they couldn’t even have family come into exile with them
This is the church. It is now part of a national park.
Rwanda is very beautiful, with green hills and mountains.
The dancers were performing for the trekkers waiting to leave to see the gorillas. It was cold first thing in the mornings and after the sun went down because of the elevation.
The countryside is beautiful and green. But the people seem very intense and there seems to be an underlying tension. No one mentions Tutsi or Hutu at least officially. The gorilla trekking is a big part of their economy. Each tourist pays $500 a day for a permit. There are 10 groups of gorillas that are habituated and about ten people in a group that go trekking, plus porters and tips and lodging in the area. They protect the gorillas to help the economy. In fact they have a ranger who is with the gorillas and tracks them at all times.
The news today was that ebola had broken out in Kibale, in western Uganda. This is where we took off to see the chimps and also to go to the Biwindi Impenentrable Forest. We were there about nine months ago. The locals all thought that the sickness was a result of witchcraft.
The area is rural in that there isn’t power or running water but it is covered with small farms with no roads only trails and paths. Everywhere we stopped, the children came running, they don’t go to school and there are a large amount of kids barefoot everywhere.
Although it looks like I might have ebola, I am only exhausted after 8 hours of hiking through the jungle!