We took a trip to the Dominican in April–one my husband earned through his job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. We’d heard about the resort. The beautiful beaches with sand as silky as cornstarch. The turquoise water. The great food. All of that was certainly nice.
But what I came away with was something far beyond the fancy amenities and pretty setting. And when I got home, I found myself appreciating even the simple things that I’ve always taken for granted.
We took a day long trip far from the beaches and up into the hills, where tiny villages crowded the edge of the narrow roads. Places where the lack of consistent electricity means that families have no refrigerators, and will buy just what they need for the next meal, because they have no food storage. Our guide said that in these villages, one can buy half an onion and a handful of rice from a little roadside vendor–just what the meal calls for. There aren’t any supermarkets out there. The photo of the tiny market at left was right at the edge of the narrow road, where trucks and motorcycles whizzed past the young children playing. The meat market, below, was in the open air.
The little pink “gas station” shown above was back in the hills, and we saw many like it–where someone can buy just a pint or quart of gas for their motorcycle. We saw four and five people crowded onto little mopeds–shared transportation.
We saw a mother bathing her toddler outside, standing next to a barrel of water. Visited a school, where the requirement of a school uniform means that some children can’t attend, because their family has no money to buy one. A sign in the backwoods school we toured encourages young boys to grow up respecting women and treating them well, because a generation or two ago, women had few rights and their lives were much worse. So many aspects of life in these rural, remote areas seemed challenging.
And yet, everywhere we went, we were so awed by the beauty of the land. The vivid, cheerful colors used to paint the tiny houses tucked amongst the cacao trees. The bright, beautiful smiles children gave us as they posed eagerly for photos. Our guide offered fascinating glimpses into the lives of these rural people, and noted that tourism is eagerly welcomed in this country. With crime levels on the rise in Mexico, he noted that the crime rate is extremely low in the Dominican Republic, and thus it offers a safe and beautiful destination for tourists.