Although we mostly focus on environmental education, there are many issues out there that are close to our heart. In Juancho, where we work in the Dominican Republic, there are over 50 kids who are considered “invisible”. These kids are unacknowledged by the government – they have no papers, which means that they have no chance of ever going to school, getting a drivers license, or getting a job. Catherine Colby, who is our liason for our work in Juancho, has worked out a deal with the local elementary school so that these children may attend through 4th grade, but they must have uniforms! Catherine goes to the Dominican Republic monthly and is collecting long khaki pants and light blue polo shirts (thats the local uniform), packs of socks and underwear (boys and girls), and outgrown sneakers (sizes 5-12 boys and girls). She will be leaving November 10th, so if you or anyone you know can donate any of these items (new or used), please let us know! You may email Maria@Caribbean-sea.org for more info or to find out how to donate.
This morning, EGE Haina had the grand opening of their windpark in the Dominican Republic. Not only did the company opt to bring a clean, alternative energy source to the southwestern region of the country, but they also decided to launch a social program for the towns that neighbor the new wind park – and Caribbean SEA was involved! EGE Haina released their video today of all the different projects they’ve implemented so far – watch to see Mary Beth doing water tests with some great folks!
Come see what we’ve done in the DR!
Now now now, just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean that we haven’t been working!
One of the projects that we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks has been in the small town of Juancho in the Dominican Republic. We have been working closely with E.G.E. Haina, which is an energy generating company in the DR. For a little bit of history, E.G.E. Haina has built a windpark near Juancho, but since the windpark doesn’t create jobs, they’ve decided to help the community in other ways, which is where we come into the picture. Mary Beth has taught several health and sanitation classes in the area and has worked with teachers there too. There are other projects in the works too that include artificial wetlands, protected marine areas and ecotourism.
When I went down there in August with Mary Beth, we were getting certified for Reef Check, which creates a baseline assessment of the status of the reefs. Let’s be honest though, as much as I would LOVE to keep going back and doing Reef Check, it’s not exactly feasible or ideal for a bunch of us to travel to Jauncho every year to dive, which is what a proper Reef Check site needs. So, we have 2 of the local fishermen that have been selected from their local cooperative to be SCUBA certified!! These fishermen (whom I know and can personally vouch for – they are two great guys!) will be Reef Check trained and have other diving related responsibilities too that will ultimately benefit the whole community.
However, as any diver knows, getting certified is not cheap even in the US, which doesn’t have the kinds of import fees that the DR has… we have to raise about $500 to get them through the classes… and believe it or not, I’m not asking you for money (though of course if you want to donate to this cause, it would be GREATLY appreciated), but ideas! How can we raise $500 relatively quickly?
Marybeth and I are in the Dominican Republic this week! (I know, it’s hard to keep track of where we are!) And you might have heard, we have another special visitor approaching from the southeast… Tropical Storm Emily. I’m not one to let a little bad weather bring me down but since we were supposed to be SCUBA diving the whole week to perform a Reef Check on some of the reefs that noone had really dived on much before, the timing is a little disappointing. The waves yesterday were already tortuous for me and my poor stomach, and our fate today has yet to be decided, but I just keep telling myself that science isn’t always pretty and glamourous, and sometime you have to roll with the punches. And the waves.
Storm or no storm though, all is not lost. Our work here in the Dominican Republic is just beginning. I have already met some ammmaaaazzzzing people here who all are really excited about the ecotourism possibilities in the area (which not only brings an income in for the locals, but also pulls the economic focus of the area off of unsustainable fishing practices). I think there are some awesome prospects here! Watch out Punta Cana!
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