This past weekend, during our trip to Cabarete, we came across people involved in two different organizations that I feel deserve a mention.
The first is Monkey Jungle (yes I’ve mentioned them before when we went monkeying around there, and yes we may have a slight addiction to this place!) but if you didn’t get a chance to visit their website its worth a peek. This organization has two main tourist attractions, zip-lining and their monkeys, and the profits from these go directly to their on-site medical and dental clinic. These clinics provide free care to the locals. During our visit to Monkey Jungle this weekend we personally witnessed a tourist truck (they must seat at least 25 people in the back) full of Dominicans returning from getting their teeth cleaned and worked on. We also got to witness the volunteer dentist and hygienists completely exhausted after a full day of charity dental care. This organization has made a very smart business move and has taken profits from the tourism industry and put those dollars to good use.
It was in this same location that we got introduced to Cole Brown. Cole, and his wife Nettie are the Managers of Operations in DR and Haiti for an organization called Live Different. This is a Canadian organization that empowers youth to embrace hope and change in the world, to live a life worth living, and to make a difference. (This organization really interested me because Eben and I originally met through a Canadian youth exchange program, Canada World Youth, and so we know first hand how such programs can have positive life changing effects). Live Different is about empowering youth and seeking social justice worldwide. They offer motivational presentations throughout high schools in Canada, do volunteer “hero programs” abroad, and give Leadership training programs. Cole and his wife are on the receiving end of the “hero programs” where they receive groups of volunteers here in the DR and Haiti and help build homes for the locals in need. This organization is definitely another site worth looking into.
Both these people, and organizations, inspire and motivate us. They have restarted a conversation that Eben and I have had several times about wanting to give back, and put in the effort to help. We don’t want our lives to be just about us. We would love to find a way to commit our time to helping others, but still have to figure out how we could do that all the while being able to financially support ourselves. We’re excited to see where these conversations and hopes will lead us.