July 31, 2009

Summer Interns Get Close to Nature in San Cristobal

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InteRDom’s summer 2009 interns learned about the history, culture and ecology of the Dominican Republic on their third excursion of the summer, July 18-19 at Rancho Campeche in San Cristobal.

Upon leaving the capital, the bus passed through the industrial zone at Haina and stopped at the ruins of a historic sugar plantation at Boca de Nigua, where a guide gave a tour of the old plantation and showed the students how sugar was cut and processed by slaves.

The group was then received at Rancho Campeche by Xiomara Fortuna, a national anthropologist and folklorist and owner of the ranch. Ms. Fortuna gave an interactive presentation in the afternoon called “Palo Bonito,” designed to teach students about the island’s history, slave rebellions, myths, religions, traditions and “cimmarones,” small communities of slaves who escaped and formed small communities in the mountains.

Ms. Fortuna then led the students on a walking tour of the town of San Cristobal to visit selected religious sites, including a voodoo temple and a witchdoctor. In the evening, Ms. Fortuna gave a workshop of traditional dance around a bonfire.

The following day was dedicated to the study of the wildlife and ecology of the ranch, as well as a special workshop on more aspects of Dominican culture, including the class hierarchy in Dominican society.

This trip was the third in a series of four excursions offered to InteRDom students designed to immerse them in Dominican culture and to show them the uniqueness of the geography of the island.

InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), offers students the opportunity to gain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their field of study.