In the Practivistas Dominicana program, each student lives with a unique family in Santo Domingo, while studying with local students in the prestigious UNIBE and working in one of two different barrios on a project team with locals. The program is an intense six week immersion in many different aspects of Dominican culture along a wide breadth of socioeconomic classes. Students are expected to be, and received as, contributing members looking to learn how to improve living systems together.
In the summer of 2011, students studied appropriate technology and Spanish while working with community members of La Yuca to build a schoolroom from plastic bottles and concrete, lit with solar and homemade wind power from bike parts and newspaper press waste, that catches its own rainwater for cleaning and possibly drinking.
In the summer of 2012, students returned to Santo Domingo to continue our learning and community collaboration. Students worked with community members of La Yuca to make the renewable energy system from bikeparts and newspaper press waste more hurricane safe and durable, and to make the rainwater catchment more potable and tested. In addition, students worked in Las Malvinas II to build a classroom from plastic bottles, concrete, sawdust, papercrete and industrial wood waste for 25 young students.
In the summer of 2013, students returned again to Santo Domingo. Students and community members worked together to design and construct:
Rainwater catchment for all the water needs of an urban school (La Yuca rainwater catchment 2013) and a rural community center (Las Malvinas rainwater catchment system).
Solar power for lighting an urban schoolroom (La Yuca) all of the electricity for an off-grid stray animal shelter (Ghetto2Garden solar power).
Natural plaster from clay, sand and flour, and other improvements to an urban schoolroom we built from plastic bottles in 2011 (La Yuca schoolroom renovation).
A rural public pharmacy (Las Malvinas) made from plastic bottles (Las Malvinas botica popular ecoladrillo 2013) and blocks made of rice husks, rice husk ash, lime, cement, and sand (Las Malvinas botica popular hullkrete 2013).
This program is open to all skill levels, but does require some ability to do manual work and move around. Expect to work hard, learn a bunch, build lasting projects and friendships.
The Dominican Republic is the eastern two thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic. It is located on the southern coast of the country bordering the Caribbean Sea at the mouth of the Ozama River. The city is about a four hour drive to the Dominican Republic's eastern, northern and farthest western border. Santo Domingo features a tropical monsoon climate although the city seldom experiences the oppressive heat and humidity typical to most tropical climates.