Let's see, where do I begin? First of all, this group was far different from last year's Lycoming May group. It was much smaller and not so much prone to spending long hours in the pouring rain on the back of a truck on a dark mountain. Colin (manamana), Alvaro, Cameron, William, and Pallavi proved to be very 'roll-with-it' adventurers who saw and understood the difficulties of living in the DR. I was very proud of them, their attitudes, and their innovative ideas during a jam-packed week. The following is a light list of their activities.
All of us but Colin stayed for a few hours of refreshment, great food, and rest at Louise's house in the Poconos. As always, she and Stu were wonderful hosts for us on our way to the airport. She sends her love to all, and says to keep in mind that we're having our 2nd annual reunion at her house one Saturday in August - date to be determined.
After finding Colin wondering around at JFK, our Delta flight brought us to Santo Domingo to meet Porfirio and Ramón, who helped us with getting all of our donation luggage to the Friendship Academy.
Our week involved a trip to Peralta to meet with several coffee farmers about the proposed Lycoming College/Golden Valley Farms project. We also toured a seedbed area where more than 70,000 little Roya-resistent coffee trees are growing, and at least that many more are waiting to be transplanted into little seedbags (their equivalent to our little plastic grow-pots). Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see Nixon's property where he's growing lemons and passion fruit, but hopefully the next group will be able to get that tour.
Wednesday we went to Las Terrenas by public bus, swam, had a chat with José on the beach, dinner at one of the new restaurants on the fisherman's plaza, and dancing at La Bodega. Go Pallavi!!!
After a restful night and a delicious breakfast at Hotel Robinson, Jose again gave us the lowdown on everything Dominican, we toured the library and school with him and Annette, had lunch at a streetside cafe, Bon ice cream and French pastries, and went on our way - again on a public bus.
We spent the day on Friday at the Cabon school with Lynette Grieb and her mother, Stephanie. Lynette is planning on moving to Cabon in August to live in a house just down the street from the school, and will be teaching English classes at the school for this coming school year. She also hopes to have private lessons in her home, and possibly even teach swimming at a neighbor's pool. Lynette is one of Jane Penman's Lock Haven students who fell in love with the DR and decided to make this committment for Cabon. I'm beyond proud of her and will do my best to make her stay safe and productive.
Saturday was a Mendoza day - kind of laid back, but also great for conferencing about the prospective university handbook.
Sunday - very, very early - the group left for various parts of the globe.
I'm so thrilled with their visit, and I believe that it was the first of many more to come. I have assured each of the travelers that they are welcome anytime!