The above quote comes from Kylie Culver, a former Una Vida trip participant who picked up and moved to the Dominican Republic after falling in love with the island on her university’s Spring Break trip with Una Vida. With her permission, we’re sharing her insights and response to this New York Times article. Thanks for the food for thought Kylie!
“What a great piece that describes my frustrations with aid workers. This is why i have chosen to live in rural, remote environments, renting a room from locals. living and sharing in daily life with them, using public transportation, hanging out in the xenophobic-foreigner-labelled “unsafe” neighborhoods with “dangerous” people, suffering days on end without power, water, cell coverage.
I want to be here. I want to share and spent time with the people of this island. I didnt come here to sit in a big, fenced-off compound with foreigners, ac, wifi and american food. I love this island. I love the Dominican and Haitian people– their culture, their land, their traditions, their faith. They have taught me so much.
This is why i love organizations like Una Vida, that dedicate their work to establishing deep, personal relationships with the people of small towns of La Descubierta and Los Pinos, and invest in projects that improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. But first and foremost, the organization exists to share, learn from, and participate in the wonders of the Dominican and Haitian people; the joys and blessings, but also the struggles and hardships of everyday life in a rural, impoverished area; the beauty of the cultures and the land, and the kindness of the people.
I love this place! I am so blessed to have the privilege of being able to live here and share in the lives of Dominicans and Haitians.”