ISV Project Leader reflects on her time in the Dominican Republic

by on Tuesday, 11 October 2011

One of the often overlooked benefits of volunteering with ISV is that as an alumni you have the opportunity to become a Project Leader.

Constanza, Dominican Republic

Constanza, Dominican Republic by xarcus76 on Flickr

To get a better idea of what its like to be a Project Leader, you should always check out what past Project Leaders have written! Aned Gracia, a past ISV Project Leader shares her experiences in the Dominican Republic in an article in the San Diego Reader.

This past summer, I was fortunate to be chosen as a Project Leader for International Student Volunteers, or ISV, for two projects in El Castillo, a village of agricultural workers in the mountains above Constanza. For one month, I stayed at Villa PajÛn, a charming eco-resort 15 kilometers (but don’t let the short distance fool you; it takes about one hour to travel back and forth) uphill from Constanza with approx. 60 volunteers from Canada, the US, England, Ireland and Australia, among other countries.

The consensus among program participants was that they’d arrived at the Garden of Eden: a unique, precious spot to be cherished despite its lack of electricity, technology and other modern-world amenities. To top things off, we enjoyed locally grown, mostly organic produce and the hospitality of our friendly neighbors on a daily basis.

Volunteer Projects - Dominican Republic

ISVolunteers working hard for the children in the DR by ISVolunteers on Flickr

Just like a participant volunteer experience with ISV, Project Leaders enjoy the benefits of the volunteering and adventure portion of the popular four week volunteer program.

The work we performed was fulfilling, and gave us a well-earned sense of accomplishment and intercultural enrichment. It included the much-needed construction of latrines and roofs for several plastic-covered houses and the establishment of a summer school program for the children of El Castillo. Although we were in the Dominican Republic, we also got a taste of Haitian culture when migrant workers in the community performed their impressive machete dance for us. As some of the volunteers claimed, it was an “epic”experience.

No matter which way you look at it, volunteering abroad with ISV is the way to go! After you complete your program, you will undoubtedly want to go back, and can do so by becoming an Alumni Project Leader!

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