CSA IN PUERTO PLATA
CSA works directly with local communities, organizations and leaders to identify needs and develop volunteer projects and internships to respond to these needs. Through support to local communities like Puerto Plata, CSA channels direct assistance to much-needed initiatives at the grassroots level through interns, volunteers and financial resources. These efforts aim to improve the lives of Dominican families, while creating a meaningful experience of cultural understanding and exchange between communities and CSA volunteers. This ongoing relationship with local communities, such as Puerto Plata, allows the contributions of short-term groups, internships and volunteers to make a greater, long-lasting impact on the local communities CSA supports.
Puerto Plata Community Information
A group of dynamic Catholic fathers have been working for numerous years in the communities of rural Puerto Plata. Along with spiritual support through local churches, Padre Pepe, Carmello and Rafael have been instrumental in encouraging community participation to plan and execute initiatives such as reparation of homes, operation of summer camps, community protests and other activities.
The community consist of mainly of 4 villages: Lajas, El Sonador, El Mango and Yaroa Abajo. These areas present important deficiencies such as challenges with transporation (due to the fact that there is a bridge that was washed out and communities get trapped after heavy rains), poor infrastructure for clinics and schools and need for education and support to the community’s children and youth.
Projects / Placement Location
The Dominican Republic is located in the West Indies on the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola (shared with Haiti). . CSA will use the Fusemania facility in the Puerto Plata region (on the Northern coast) which is approximately 40 minutes from Puerto Plata Airport and 20 minutes from the city of Santiago. The Center is at Lajas; a small rural community on a mountain road between Puerto Plata and Santiago.. You will be working in the rural communities of Lajas, Yasica Abajo and el Mango. CSA has a pick-up that will also be used to transport our volunteer group to our work sites and return to the facility (the exciting part!). It can be very crowded at times and the roads are quite bumpy, which makes for an interesting, but memorable ride..
There are three main villages that we will work in as mentioned above, each with a minimum of 20 Dominican families. The children we will work with range from toddlers to 18 years of age. We will also interact with the parents and extended family members in the villages.
CSA Support to Puerto Plata
This experience of immersion into the culture and Dominican community life of Puerto Plata has been extremely rewarding for the volunteers and the community alike. To date, CSA’s support to these communities have resulted in medical outreaches, summer camps for children, a school annex build it El Mango and latrines in Sonador and Yaroa Abajo.
Current Project Needs
Reparation and construction of homes and schools: Families and communities are selected by the “Padres” to receive support in the reparation and/or construction of homes/school. These projects consist of families that are unable to repair their homes on their own and live in situations of extreme poverty. There is also a lack of funds for the local schools and many children have to walk far to attend classes, building a school in the community allow them to get a quick access. Groups will work together with the beneficiary families to repair and/or construct their homes. No construction experience is necessary. Suggested donation is US$2,000-3,000 to buy materials.
Construction of rural school in La Hebra: This support will consist of the construction of a one-room school for elementary school children in this community.. ·Construction of a church in La Hebra: This church will serve both as a community center and refuge during hurricane season.
Community center in El Mango: This small rec center would be a place where families, youth and children alike could gather for activities in the afternoons. Currently, there is no such center in El Mango. Youth education: There is great need for education of youth in the area communities in themes such as family values, decision making, drug use, STI, HIV/AIDS, family planning, leadership and other themes. These themes are prepared in the form of didactic activities in which one provides information but also has a chance to share experiences with these youth.
Minimum of 8 volunteers, maximum of 50. (Note: larger groups will be divided into 2-3 projects). Minimum commitment of one week. No experience needed.
Willingness to immerse in Dominican culture. Living Conditions: .Groups will be placed at the centre in Fusemaña. You will have to share the room with 2, 3 or 4 mates. There are 2 meals/day, and access to laundry facilities. You will live the Dominican lifestyle-meaning that occasional blackouts are part of daily life. Meals typically consist of bread, cereal, fruit or yogurt for breakfast; rice, beans and sandwiches or salads for lunch; meat with rice and beans in the evenings. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables available and we are open and always willing to try our best to adjust to volunteers' dietary needs.
You will have access to phone at all times at the centre and/or through use of a cellular phone that CSA will provide. International phone calls can be easily made using local phone cards. There is an internet centre in Sosua (40mn) and also an ATM, which you will learn to locate during your orientation session..
* Day 1: Airport arrival. Travel to community (2 ½ hours from Santo Domingo/1h from Puerto Plata/20 minutes from Santiago). Program orientation. Meet with staff, organize work. Get to know communities.
* Day 2-6: Work on project. Have lunch on site. Evening will be reserved for group discussion and recreational activities with the community (basketball game, etc). ·Day 6-7: Weekend recreational activity. Most groups opt to spend the weekend at the beach relaxing after a long work week!
Optional Recreational Activities on the Weekend
The North Coast is famous for its wavy beaches. The beach in Sosua is about 40 minutes by bus. There is also a great area called “27 charcos” which is a river and natural falls for swimming.
You will use our transportation to get to and from your volunteer site each day.