Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tale of Three Countries

Since leaving North Carolina in early November we have traveled to and through, three separate countries, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, and now the Dominican Republic from where I write this blog. Each country has been beautiful and unique in its own right. We have enjoyed them all. 

Left or Right?











The Bahamas consist of many, many islands and small Cays, some inhabited, some not.  The communities on each were different depending on their exposure to the “western” influence and visitation. What I felt there was different than I had expected. The Bahamas lie very close to the SE United States and are within easy access by multitudes of “cruising” boats. There was a distinct feeling that we were part of a western expansion of the adventuresome retirement culture, kind of like traveling in RV’s on the water.

The view from Georgetown
The Georgetown culture in the Bahamas was built around activities and social events for this slice of America.  There was basket-weaving, special church for cruisers, women’s groups, volleyball tournaments, potlucks on the beach, etc. Georgetown is the unofficial “end” of this culture as it is more challenging to reach farther south. I enjoyed it, especially the remote islands, but I felt the desire to move on.


The Turks and Caicos were a little farther East and South and more challenging to reach by boat.  The numbers of cruisers reaching these islands is just a fraction of the Bahamas. Here we met only a handful of other cruisers, mostly stopping by as they head farther south. The Islands however are popular with the jet-set vacationers and has an abundance of lavish hotels, condominiums, and villas. Again, very beautiful and interesting but the local population was highly influenced by tourism and all that goes along with it.

Hillsides of Dominican Republic from the ground.
Setting nets in Luperon

Kitchen Sink
As I sit now in Luperon, Dominican Republic, I realize I don’t yet want to leave yet. What a splendidly beautiful country and peoples! Luperon is kind of a back water town, it is a small and simple harbor that was cut out of the mangroves and is home to maybe 40 boats. Most arrived years ago, and the captains and crew just decided to stay. The town is isolated to a great degree, not participating much in the national tax structure or services. It creates a flavor of unofficial-officialness, with clearing-in fees unique to the staff working that day. The town only gets electricity service 6 or 7 hours a day I think because they are only an unofficial-official town. Because it is on the fringe (and not an easy or desired western destination) it has little in common with the other Caribbean countries we have visited.  It is such a loving and friendly culture, much the same as it has been for centuries.  

Best friend
Christ statue overlooking Puerto Plata

The doors of the small homes on the streets are always open and at night the warm glow coming from inside just feels so inviting and comfortable.  The families are close, with the children playing in the streets, parents and grandparents in chairs on the steps.  Everybody smiles, looks you in the eye, touches you, laughs with you.  The love and kindness of these peoples was amazing.  The children are so happy, even the dogs and wild animals are healthy and well cared for.  No bars on the windows, no police.  Most of the local people were born here and have never left.   Many of those that came by boat never left either.  I understand why.  I will always remember and hold the Dominican peoples in great regard.  They have set the cultural bar high for integrity, love, kindness, generosity.   

As I wrote those descriptive words I reflected on  Paul’s words in Colossians 3;12 “Therefore as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” They get it. 

Amigo

We must continue to press on, however.  To stay on schedule we depart today or tomorrow for the San Blas Islands off Panama. Hope to someday return and visit the families and friends we have met here.




New world traveling friends

Jesucristo es mi amigo! 

The Sea Angel is sailing to the South Pacific for a cause- Sea Mercy is a benevolent program developed for disaster and critical care needs for remote islanders. Sea Mercy is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charity with a simple vision and mission to "stand in the gap" with a service delivery vessel, trained health care volunteers, support equipment, and critical care services as island nations develop their "outer island" health care infrastructure, when critical health care need opportunities are present, or when disasters occur. Read more about Sea Mercy's 2014 Impact.

 

If Sea Angel's journey resonates with you, we welcome you to consider donating on our behalf to Sea Mercy - there are several ways to get involved. They especially always need enthusiastic volunteers. If you are in the medical profession, consider committing to a rotation in the South Pacific!

 

Sea Mercy's Corporate "We Care" Program is designed to help organizations attract and engage clients, vendors, and employees in the spirit of social responsibility and provide a wonderfully enriching partnership. There are several ways to participate with "We Care". Visit Sea Mercy's website for additional information. If you know of an organization or would like to involve yours, please share this information forward. The more we sail, the more we understand how important it is to foster these types of relationships in everything we do. Our journey still has a long way to go, and we thank you for being here with us. 

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled upon your mission when searching "Sea Stuff" for new FB page "Beach Musings & Magic". Rick, Terrri, David, thanks for having been part of my life in NC! David.. always wished words could be taken back. Much success to you all and this wonderful mission. Thanks for helping me on my journey by writing this blog...wonderful thoughts and words. What an adventure! Safe Travels and Gentle Winds! Barb (Don't think my first one got sent...if so...double wishes, then.)

    ReplyDelete