After a long but enjoyable flight (a first time on a plane for a few) we were greeted by drums and song in the terminal. We made our way through customs, our passports stamped, we stepped into the heat and overwhelming sense of life and bright color that we had read about in our preparation. As we met our guides, packed into the vans, and began the trek to the hotel, looking out the window was something to behold. The view of rushed and disorganized traffic, a mixture of old cars, new ones, and countless motorcycles, organized chaos is the only description that comes to mind. It was immediately apparent that this island paradise has poverty unlike anything I had seen before. Aside the palm trees lay colorful concrete ruins that house businesses and the people of Puerto Plata. When we arrived to the hotel, we were greeted with friendly open arms by the owners, Jose and his wife, Vashti.
Pictured: Puerto Plata Airport.
I want to share one of the first things Jose added in his greeting that really set the stage for the conditions of the island. He spoke about how mindful one must to conserve energy whenever possible. The practice is not only save money and be eco-friendly as we do in the United States, but because electricity here is a precious thing that is not guaranteed at any time. We haven’t been in the country for more than hour and I already have a new appreciation for the way my life is at home.
-Joe P. Barton College Senior Nursing Student