2015-04-13_10-01-42
10
Apr

Dominican Republic 2015: Day 1 — Arrival

Eighteen DFW travelers arrive in the Dominican Republic for a week-long service trip with Mariposa DR Foundation. First day? Getting to know each other. Then rolling up our sleeves.

Dominican Republic travelers in front of a mural at the Mariposa Center for Girls.

Kite boarders fill the sky above the aptly named Kite Beach with color

By Patricia Andersson
DFW Group Leader

Arrival Day!

Although four of our DFW travelers came a day early and got an advance opportunity to explore the beaches and town of Cabarete on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the majority of our 18 travelers arrived at various times throughout the day. We’ve come to the Dominican Republic to visit the Mariposa Foundation, a girls’ empowerment program that was supported by Dining for Women exactly a year ago, in April 2014.

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Dominican Republic travelers in front of a mural at the Mariposa Center for Girls

This trip is special as it’s a service learning trip, which means that we’ll be working directly with the girls that we supported, helping out with various activities over the time that we’ll be here. We had previously filled out a survey indicating our interest in assisting with reading, gardening, sewing, cooking, and other activities with Mariposa’s school-aged girls, and we’re all excited to meet the girls and get started.

The site of our visit is spectacular — our simple but clean hotel is right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of Kite Beach, which is so named for the hoards of kite surfers that vacation here, taking advantage of the beach’s 20-knot winds to perform aerial flips and tricks, their huge multi-colored sails like so many air-borne commas propelling them across the water at high speeds. As interesting as the kite boarders are to watch, we were even more interested in meeting our group of DFW members. We have come from all over the United States, many of us not knowing anyone else, but all comfortable in the knowledge that we would easily connect due to our common interest in DFW and the women and girls we support.

We met together for the first time in the late afternoon at Kite Beach Inn, where we’ll be staying all week, since the Mariposa Foundation is just down the road. Our group has members from Pennsylvania to California, Oregon to South Carolina, Ohio to Florida and many places in between including three women from a single chapter in Scottsdale, Arizona!

We introduced ourselves, and shared our interests, hobbies, and our DFW story. We were also joined by the Executive Director of Mariposa, Patricia Suriel, and Administrative Director Sarah Fisher. Over a delicious fresh fish dinner just next door on the beach, they gave us an overview of our next few days. Many of our group were exhausted from a long day of traveling, which included red-eye flights for some, as well as schlepping an extra suitcase or two filled to the brim with donations for the Mariposa girls. So we called it a night fairly early so that we could be up bright and early the next morning to visit the Mariposa Center for the first time.

More adventures await!