By: Amber Brookmire
Amber is a graduating senior at the City College of New York, majoring in Anthropology and Jewish Studies. She is participating in the 2012 CCNY-InteRDom Service Learning Program, and will serve as the InteRDom Correspondent in the CUNY system. To read more about Amber and her participation in the Correspondent program, see her profile here.
Week four has sadly come and gone for my stay in Santo Domingo. Our strong start this past week led us to reach our gardening goals and finish early! Tuesday was our last day working with the families that participated in the project. It was a very memorable day for all of the volunteers as we looked back on our experiences with the families of Cielo and Bayona this past month.
We celebrated the success of the project by gathering at a vegan restaurant to revisit some memorable moments through hilarious photos and stories. It was nice to spend our last night with the volunteers out of our normal gardening environment, yet it will be missed. Although it made us sad to leave, our circle of friends made it a wonderful despedida (goodbye party) for our CCNY group.
Our final presentations for InteRDom and the project took place in the Art Gallery of FUNGLODE. My co-intern HP and I discussed our observations and suggestions regarding inclusiveness in the project. Through various interviews and personal conversations, it became evident that our observations would need further evaluation after the project has developed for some time. Due to the short length of our stay and the scheduled days for gardening, some members of the family were not available at the time of installing the gardens. However that did not consequently mean they wouldn’t play an active role in sustaining the gardens.
As I reflect on the challenges and successes of my experiences from this project, I feel excited and motivated to continue. Despite my departure from this beautiful island, I am able to maintain communication with the friends I have made and stay updated on the progress of the gardens we created. I hope to apply what I have learned in my own life and encourage others to nurture their connection to nature and food. It is important to better understand what sustains our lives, and gardening has proven to be an exciting way to get hands-on with exploring food production. My family is already requesting that I help with a garden for them when I return!
The blog also provides useful information for students and inspires lively debate and increased interest in exchange and the development of Hispaniola.