Sharon decided to travel across Dominican Republic. The little known paradise of the Western Hemisphere had a lot to offer. One of the amazing locations that Sharon found herself in was Natura Cabana.
She was surrounded by trees and forests and naturally build places made of Dominican wood and stone.
The amazing food served by the locals filled Sharon up with guilty pleasure. She wanted to do something to give back to the wonderful place that provided her with so much. She wasn’t alone, a lot of us feel this way whenever we travel and decide to stay in a certain place for a long time.
Sharon was able to give back to the community in which she lived.
Traveling was a privilege. Sharon understood it really well. She decided to use this privilege in a way that was best suited to her and those around her.
The first step to giving back while traveling was Responsible Tourism. The World Summit of Sustainable Development defined Responsible Tourism in 2002, “Responsible Tourism is about ‘making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.’ Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable.”
Sharon Made Connections With The Locals And The Local Culture
The first thing Sharon did in Natura Cabana was to take a Bachata class. It was a local dance of Dominican Republic. Then she moved on to making conversations with her surfing instructor, the kitchen staff and all the locals around her. She then skipped the bar and moved onto getting her drinks from a Colmado (convenience store) or a Bomba (gas station). This way she helped the local businesses as well as took part in the local Dominican drinking customs.
Sharon Understood the Social and Economical problems
Dominican Republic was a developing country. There were many who didn’t have access to electricity and running water. Sharon took a deep internet in learning about the countries issues and the problems faced by the locals.
At the end of her trip, she donated the extra clothes that she was carrying to charity with the help of her local buddies.
She donated practical items like school supplies or hygienic supplies. Non-profit organizations like The DREAM project and Inspire DR gladly accepted her donations.
If all these tasks sound too difficult, the simplest thing she did was picking up trash on the beach in Cabarete.
She even cut down on her water and electricity consumption . Both the facilities were not always available in Carabete. The lesser she used, the more there was for everyone else to use because tourist locations had more money to invest in getting water, so their guests never go without it.
She tipped the waiters regardless of the service charge which was distributed amongst all.
She patronize shops that are Dominican owned. Bought from street vendors.
Most importantly she minimized waste but not taking her food or drinks to go. This was because garbage just increased the amount of waste in the community. Recycling was not a government service . So she didn’t contribute to creating more waste.
I hope these help you in giving back to the community you travel to next time.
Author: The Brown Nomad
Also published on Medium.