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The Other Side of Hispaniola: My First Visit A La República Dominicana

Las Terrenas, Samaná, Dominican Republic

As many of you know, the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. I was born in Haiti, immigrated to the United States at a very young age and have since traveled to many other countries in the Caribbean, but never to the Dominican Republic (hereinafter DR). I love a good island, tropical beach getaway and the DR is known for many beautiful beaches and resorts; however, I have always had my reservations about traveling there for many reasons, that I will not dwell on in this post. I did recently have the opportunity to travel to DR for a wedding of a close family member, and I think but for this event I probably would have never gone or at least no time soon. It was a brief trip, but I am so glad I went, congrats again to the new Mr. & Mrs.!!!

I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic lockdowns, but now that outside is open again I am ready to go; my vacation bag is packed on standby, lol. I had a nice time in DR. Dare I say, I could even imagine myself living there. I don’t know there’s something about island living that just makes me so happy—from being surrounded by greenery/nature, the tropical weather, clear-blue beautiful beaches, fresh and healthy nutritious foods and just overall slower pace of life, it’s just all so refreshing from the hustle and bustle and daily grind in Los Estados Unidos. I was also able to practice my Spanish language skills; I have been learning on the Duolingo App this year and impressed myself if I do say so myself. The wedding was in Santo Domingo and then we drove approximately 3 hours to Las Terrenas, a resort town on the Samaná Peninsula, in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic. Only spent two days there, and it rained most of that time. I was sad that I didn’t have much time to explore but did get to go to the beach once, and we stayed in a beautiful home, which gave me mucho inspiración para mi casa de vacaciones.

Let’s go over a few other reasons why I love Island living:

You don't need an alarm clock on the Islands, the cock-a-doodle-doo rooster sounds wakes you up at the crack of dawn, but I absolutely love it! It's like music to my ear rather than the annoyance and agitations that a regular alarm clock usually brings to my life.

The other thing I love about the Islands is that it could be raining one minute and the next you have clear blue skies and vibrant sunshine. I also love seeing the children on their way to school in the morning, with their uniform—the girls with matching ribbons in their hair, takes me back to my childhood every time. I just love how the culture on the islands (majority not all) values an education. Island living is just a vibe y me gusta mucho!

It was interesting to get a glimpse of what life is like on the other side of the Hispaniola border, separating Haiti from DR. Being in DR really shines the reality of how much different life can be when Government does not work for the people and when the people have somehow lost hope and are crippled by their circumstances—whether it’s due to corruption, mismanagement, poverty and lack of basic social services and economic opportunities, and natural disasters it’s just disappointing and frustrating at times. Every country has its problems and nowhere on Earth is perfect. For example, I saw people living their best life in DR, and I also saw some people struggling and trying to make ends meet, not much different from other wealthy nations in the world, such as the United States of America. No matter where you travel sometimes it’s just the tale of the haves and have nots. I have no idea what it would take for us Haitians to finally get to see the change we have been so desperate to see in Haiti become a reality; the problems seems insurmountable, but I believe step-by-step and with all hands on deck we can start to see progress. Anpil men chay pa lou as the Haitian proverb go.

After everything with the pandemic, being on lockdown and not being able to travel much, visiting DR was a breath of fresh air and that much needed Island tropical oasis. I am now convinced that I will retire on an Island one day (a girl can dream). I hope in my heart that Haiti will be ready for me when that time comes because as amazing as DR was, there's no place like home.


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