Enjoy the Ride

Trip Start Aug 19, 2008
Trip End Oct 29, 2010

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Friday, October 24, 2008

MOMENT OF TRUTH:  On Monday we received our sites and CED was the last group to receive them, all of the other groups knew weeks earlier.  Our APCD (Assistant PC Director) handed out folders one by one, by region, and we read them aloud to the group where we were going, clapping for all 17 CED volunteers.  I was extremely nervous/anxious/excited/every emotion combined to find out where I would be for 2 years.  When my named was called, I walked up, accepted the folder, and read to my peers the name of the city and province where I would be....
THE SITE OF A LIFETIME:  is pretty much where I will be spending the next two years of my service.  If anyone was ever thinking, "Maybe I'll visit Justin, but I don't really want to go to some rural community and suffer like him."  THINK AGAIN.  I will be in quaint pueblo named Bahoruco in the province of Barahona.  It is in the south of the country right on the beach.  And when I say right on the beach, I mean, you can hear the waves at night.  The site also constantly has running water, electricity (that is often out), the people are extremely nice, and it is the location of a stone named Larimar, where Bahoruco has the only Larimar mine in the entire world. It is also just a 15 minute walk to La Cienega, where another volunteer was put from my group, and a 15 minute car ride to the big city of Barahona. When Jackie (volunteer in La Cienega) and I found out our new sites and were driving down the coast to get there, we were like kids in a candy store.  Not to mention, the town is right in between the mountains and the beach.  Yesterday morning when I walked down from my new house to the beach I had the biggest smile you have ever seen when I saw that sparkling blue ocean grinning back at me, calling my name.
PROJECT PLAN:  I am at a follow up site, which means that I am continuing the service of another volunteer.  His name is Yosefa and is actually from Southern California as well.  My project plan is to work with the local artisan group to create a stronger Larimar brand and an eco-tourism project to solicit this semi-precious stone.  There are also many community groups to work with, such as Brigada Verde (Environment group), Equipo Operativo (general community group), and the Asociacion de Artesanos (Artisan Association). In addition, I am able to start my own groups, work with existing projects, and just continue to work with the artisans on their progressing project of development.  This project is a combination of creativity, marketing, and a grassroots effort for future income generation in the community. Plus, there is a LOT of work to be done, but I´m ready!
NEW FAMILY, AGAIN:  My new family is decent.  It is the same family that Yosefa lived with two years ago, but even though they have had a volunteer before, they do not make much of an effort to extend themselves to me, at least the doņa.  They are not bad or anything and the house I am living in for the next three months is very nice, but I am not getting that warm fuzzy feeling here like with my family in Santo Domingo.  Regardless, I am able to move out within 3 months (PC Policy) and I will be living in Yosefa's current house who's backyard is the beach.
CELL PHONE!!:  We received our cell phones the other day as well.  I have little to no service in my new site, but I just need a different chip in my phone.  At any rate, the number is (809) 723-7819.  It is free for me if you call me to chat, so get to it!
I am so relieved that I finally know my site, my project, and am completely content with it.  Yosefa took me to swim in the ocean in his backyard, hike up to the mountains and swim in the river, and to meet the roughly 2000 people in the community.  I cannot remember anyone's names, but hey, I have two years to learn.
Oh, and I am able to have visitors after three months, so book your tickets for after February.  :)
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sherrypace on

Congratulations on your site placement
Justin! Congratulations on your site placement. Reading your blog made me remember the day I received my site placement and here I ma home nearly 3 weeks now and in many ways my PC Service feels like a lifetime ago.

Its sounds like you have a beautiful site these next two years and with your wonderful attitude will make the most out of it.

It can be hard to come in right after another volunteer and live in their shadow for a while so juts are prepared for that. I did eco-tourism work in the Philippines so let me know if you need any resources or ideas. It can be a slippery slope ensuring that the projects first and foremost protect the environment so always remember that.

Enjoy the beach!


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