Welcome to All…
The best gift is to teach them languages. Since we live close to the tourist area, this will provide them an opportunity to work and make a decent living.” Please continue reading to find out 10 reasons to come on a volunteer vacation at SuncampDR!
Location: Muñoz,Puerto Plata, Dominican RepublicNumber of inhabitants, 14,000 with lots of children Languages spoken by our staff: English, French, German, Spanish, Creole. Languages spoken in the community: Spanish and Creole (Haitian)
In Muñoz,we have a Community Center. Ideally, arrangements could be made to work with these government establishments. Ther are lots of open spaces and fields for sports and activities.
- There is a Dominican but also a Haitian Community, each with their own unique cultures.
- Illiteracy is a big issue here, for adults and children.
- Children: They need some organization. Many are in the street doing nothing. We just need to set a schedule for them.
If the parents cannot afford the uniform and books for school they are left on the street running after the tourists who occasionally come in the village on horse and buggy.
We need to provide some motivation and inspiration for them to see themselves as more than this. Help them discover their potential.
- Adults: Lots of woman alone struggling to feed their babies. Lots of men with no work, no profession, no knowledge.
Alcoholism and drugs and cock fights. The money could be used in a wiser way. We need to heighten their awareness and attempt to raise the basic standard of living.
- Mentality of locals: They are the friendliest of people, open minded, very welcoming to any help coming from outsiders.
They are a warm people, sharing and full of generosity with much to offer each other and the world in terms of culture, and common decency.
Article written by our volunteer from Scotland Matt Lygate, June 2011
10 reasons to have a volunteer vacation
1. Give something back
We all love to go on vacation right? To chill on the beach, see the sights…
These things can all be rewarding and make us feel good. But why not combine these things with something that can be even more rewarding? By offering up some of your free time to assist those in need, some of whom have never even seen the beach even though they live only 5 miles away, you might find something far more deeply rewarding on your vacation. Giving something back is not only rewarding for those who receive, but those who give. So why not give some meaning to your vacation experiences in the Dominican Republic. Everyone has something to give. It need not be money or some specific skill you have. Even just your time, attention and love can be enough to bring hope, joy and happiness to the children and people of Munoz.
2. Find your adventure and gain valuable life experience
Whatever walk of life you come from, volunteering can provide us all with an eye opening experience, lasting life memories and a challenging adventure like no other. Whether you are coming for a few weeks, months or years even, every day in Munoz you will experience the most loving deserving people, have insight into what life is like day to day in a battey, and be challenged by the everyday needs of a community. Whatever skills or equipment you bring, whatever you experience in your time here, it will have a massive impact on the way you think about yourself and will have a lasting effect on how you view the world. Everyone has something to bring and everyone has an adventure awaiting them. Come and find yours and taker home a piece of Munoz and the Dominican Republic in your heart forever
3. Have a personal impact on the building of a community
Sun Camp has built a community centre and with its volunteers is trying to help build a thriving Munoz community. Your time in Munoz will directly help the people of the village empower themselves and fight for a better future. Whether you have an impact on a class of adults, or a playing field of children, or a single individual you help gain a new working skill, or your finance to get healthy and back to work. Whatever you bring will have a direct impact and a lasting effect on the over all community you are working with. So even when you are gone, the work you do can live on.
4. Be part of that community
“Before we came to Dominican Republic, we were a bit worried about safety and the security of our stuff. But from the moment we arrived off the plane to a complimentary shot of rum, and our friendly taxi driver drove us to our new home, we knew right away we were safe and we were part of a community.”
Maz – jewellery making volunteer for 3 weeks
There can be few places more friendly and welcoming than the Dominican Republic and the people of Munoz. Within days, you will know your local taxi drivers, your local stall owners, and each day in Munoz, people from all around will want to know your name and spend time with you. Every journey from your apartment to the village, you will be greeted by friendly faces and waves.
Diana has worked for 17 years in the area to gain the respect and love of every member of the community. So as part of the team, you too will be loved and respected. Everyone will know you are there for good reasons and in turn, they will look out for you as their own. In the entire time Sun Camp has existed, no-one has ever been robbed or came to any violence. Even volunteers who have had a few too many in the past have been escorted to their doors by local villagers, so much so is the feeling of community here.
5. Be a valuable member of a SunCampDR team and have a great laugh
One of the greatest experiences of volunteering can be meeting similar like-minded people from round the world and sharing ideas and experiences. No one person has any more or less power or decision making abilities than anyone else. So as an equal group of like minded people, you can interlink skills and create something greater than the sum of its parts. It is important to remind you that volunteering is not always serious. In fact you are likely to share some of the most valuable, funny and damn right unbelievable memories of your life with the team of people you live and/or work with here.
6. Meet the real Dominican Republic
A vacation in a resort may provide some form of luxury and comfort, but very rarely will you ever glimpse the real people or culture of the country you are in. Having a volunteering vacation is something entirely different however. You are no longer treated simply as a tourist. You are living, working and loving the real people, food, music and culture directly. There is no veil between you and the real Dominican Republic. What’s more you can still do all of the activities you do at an all inclusive, but quite often for cheaper and more likely, giving your money directly to local people rather than large hotel chains. A volunteer vacation is still a vacation remember and you are free to do all of the activities you would otherwise do on another holiday.
7. Live cheap
Living and/or working in a local community like SunCampDR has great financial benefits too. As a member of the community you pay community prices, not tourist prices. Taxis here cost on average, 30 pesos/50p/80cents. A full dinner time meal can be bought from a café or restaurant for on average 200 pesos/£3/$5. With day to day life this cheap, that resort holiday for one week can pay for a month of a volunteer vacation living in the community. Or if you still wish to stay at a resort, these savings can fund your extra activities on the beaches or mountains.
FEES: To participate in the volunteer program there are NO FEES. You must pay your flight to get to Puerto Plata and your lodging facilities at SuncampDR. You can find the price list of the studios and apartments here: www.vacationdominicanrentals.com/
Prices at SunCampDR Apartments start at 80 U$/week and 2200 U$/month. You can also choose to stay at the more luxurious all inclusive hotels in Playa Dorada.
8. Learn new skills
No matter your walk of life, your experiences on a volunteer vacation will help you develop new applicable skills to your life. Whether that be learning new people skills; developing your understanding of the greater world, hence gaining more perspective in your own life; or learning specific skills with the locals like artistic skills, or child development, teaching etc. Whatever your life when back home, your life will be enriched due to your experiences here in Munoz.
9. You have complete flexibility. Be your own boss
There is no rigid structure you must follow here. There are no expectations that you work for a set time each day. You are completely in charge of your volunteer vacation and can commit as many hours as you see fit. You can work in the morning with the children, or in the afternoon with the adults. You can do a yoga session on the beach, or an English class in the community centre. You choose what skills and materials you want to bring, ask Dianna for assistance where needed, and use your time here as constructively as you desire. You are completely autonomous as a volunteer and an equal to everyone else. No-one can tell you what to do or when to work and play. It is a vacation too remember!
10. Find a vocation or motivation in your life
You are your own boss, yet you will be working with a team of like minded people to share ideas and skills with. Who knows, if you feel something lacking in your life, a volunteering vacation may not only provide you with your needed relaxation, adventure and change of scenery. It may also assist you to you’re your vocation in life, find a new desire and skill in your life and assist you to point your life in a inspiring direction?