about DR

Environment

Lago Enriquillo: an environmental challenge

Lake Enriquillo in the southwestern part of the Dominican Republic has doubled in size over the past eight years, swallowing thousands of acres of farms and more than a dozen villages. It is the largest lake in the Caribbean, and one of the few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles. During the late 2000s, the lake has increased its surface area dramatically. Records for 2004 show the lake to be 164 square kilometers; measurements from 2011 put the area at 350 km². This rise in level has affected hundreds of nearby residents in townships that bordered the lake, with abundant loss of agricultural land which, even if the waters recede, will probably be rendered useless due to the lake's salinity damaging the qualities of the once-arable soil.

 

Reasons for the flooding are being debated, but may be a combination of several. There has been an increase in rainfall in the region in recent years. Increased sediments going into the lake from run-off due to deforestation are also contributing to raising the lakebed and milder temperatures are reducing the surface evaporation rate. 

Read more about this issue:
NY Times: Rising Tide Is a Mystery That Sinks Island Hopes

Hispaniolan solenodon
In the article, "Meeting the mammal that survived the dinosaurs," Jeremy Hance describes the the environmental conditions of the solendon and conservations efforts to save it from extinction. 

Chocolate Cooperative
Chocolate Country, a video about La Red Cooperative, an organic cacao cooperative where DR RPCV Kerchner Artisan Chocolate purchases it’s cacao. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary in the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival. View 5 minute version. 

Organic
History of organic production in the DR.

Statelessness

In the Dominican Republic, without proof of citizenship, one cannot register for school, apply for a job, open a bank account, buy a house, get married or registrar the birth of a child. These activities among others are denied people of Haitian decent. Recent policies have withdrawn citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian decent who were previously recognized as citizens. Below are resources on this issue.

PRI: What happens when your government telly you're not a citizen
Amnesty International 
2012 Report
Cronkite Report: Stateless in the Dominican Republic
Open Society Foundations: Stateless in the Dominican Republic
Refugees International: New Chances for Change
Statelessness in the Dominican Republic
Huffington Post (1/16/13) - 'Stateless" Haitians Gain Legal Foothold in Dominican Republic
AlertNet - Photo Blog: Stateless in the Dominican Republic

Recently, Peace Corps Volunteers have been working in several areas of the country to train community members to be advocates for those who want to apply for proof of citizenship. You can follow the Declaro mis Derechos program on Facebook. 

UN Development Goals

In 2000, the Dominican Republic signed on to the United Nations Development Programme's Millennium Development Goals (MDG). ​In a nutshell, the goals consist of:
1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
2) Achieving universal primary education,
3) promoting gender equality and empowering women,
4) Reducing child mortality,
5) Improving maternal health,
6) Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,
7) Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
8) Development a global partnership for development.

MDG - at a glance
MDG - in detail
Millennium Development Goals - progress 2006 video, Part I
Millennium Development Goals - progress 2006 video, Part II

Water, sanitation and health

Water sanitation needs

Evaluation of USAID Strategy to Increase Potable Water and Sanitation in Rural Areas, 2006

Master's International student, Ryan W. Schweitzer's thesis: Assessment of Sustainability of Systems Built by the National Institute of Potable Water and Peace Corps, Dominican Republic, Michigan Technological University, 2009

Wikipedia: Water supply and sanitation in the Dominican Republic

Parasites
Our Community Challenge Fund supports many health related projects such as latrines and cement floors. You may instinctively know that those are good things. But, if you are interested in learning details about water-bourne illnesses, listen to Radiolab's story about how John D. Rockefeller eradicated hookworm, among other illnesses, in the South of the United States.


Unhooking the Hookworm – 1920 black and white video used in the United States and funded by Rockefeller. Very educational but not for the faint of heart.

Cholera
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. Approximately one in 20 (5%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. Rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours. Treatment is the immediate replacement of fluid and salts lost through diarrhea. Oral rehydration solution is adequate for most. Severe cases also require intravenous fluids.

The island of Hispaniola had been free of cholera until 2010 when it is suspected to have been reintroduced in Haiti by UN workers from Asia. Cholera bacterium is usually found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by feces from a person infected with cholera. The inadequate sanitation and water treatment in Haiti at that time allowed the disease to spread. 

The first case in the Dominican Republic was registered in November, 2010. Since then, 8000 people have died of cholera on the island, 481 in the Dominican Republic. Each time there is a torrential rain, as there was with Hurricane Sandy, there is concern of additional outbreaks of cholera, dengue, maleria, respiratory infections and leptospirosis, a rare but severe bacterial infection. 

Additional resources about cholera:
Cholera in the Dominican Republic:The Outbreak and Response
Cholera rap song
Master's International student, Heidi Sinclair Berthoud's thesis: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Around Peri-Uran and Rural Water Access and Sanitation During a Cholera Outbreak: A Comparison of Two Communities in the Puerto Plata Region, Dominican Republic, University of Washington, 2012

Dominican beans recipe

Receta de habichuelas dominicanas
By: Carmen Lara Shrefler

Ingredients:
3 lbs canned pinto beans
1/2 medium onion (cut into 2 pieces)
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 large chicken bouillon cube
Green pepper, cut to the size you prefer - 1 entire Cubanelle or 1/2 of a medium-sized bell pepper
1/4 c. fresh cilantro (while leaves)
1 Roma tomato
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon oregano Dominicano
black pepper, to taste
1/1/2 tablespoon each of olives and water from olives
1 teaspoon Adobo powdered seasoning (Goya or other brands)
1 tablespoon sugar           
                      
     
Wash cilantro, pepper and tomato. Cut cilantro (or if you prefer, leave as large pieces). Cut pepper and tomato as desired. Heat beans with liquid and onion in a large kettle on medium heat to boiling. In a separate sauce pan, combine garlic, bouillon cube, tomato, green pepper, cilantro, oregano, black pepper, adobo, olives and olive water, and olive oil. Sauté for about three minutes, until pepper and tomato begin to change color. Add this to the boiling beans. Add sugar. Stir in, and boil on medium high for five minutes.  

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Weather

 

Dominican News
Listin Diario - newspaper [Sp]
HOY - newspaper [Sp] 
Dominican Republic One (DR1) [En]
Dominican Today [En]
El Diario Libre [Sp]

Dominican Government
Dominican Embassy - In Washington, D.C. 
Ministry of Culture - Youth photography contest

Food
Top 10 Dominican Foods 
Aunt Clara's Kitchen [En]
La Cocina de Tia Clara [Sp]
A Taste of Paradise (cookbook)

Music
Classic Bachateros - Edilio Paredes and Ramon Cordero on PRI The World
Top 10 Merengue Songs of All Time
Sabor Dominicano


Culture
Dominican slang 
Livio - large collection of links 
Hurricanes in the DR 
Bucket Bath Basics (video)

Background Info
US State Department - Country Information
US State Department - Human Rights Reports

Amnesty International 2012 Report

Women
UN Commission on the Status of Women
Aljazeera: The cost of machismo on 'honeymoon island' 
The Guardian: The Dominican Republic's epidemic of domestic violence
UN Instraw - testimonies and interviews

Health
Global Health Initiative Strategy

History
Dominican Republic: A Country Study - Library of Congress, 1989.
Statelessness in the Dominican Republic

Why the Cocks Fight - Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle for Hispaniola - book by Michele Wucker is well worth reading to understand the historical cultural clash between the nations

Remembering to Never Forget: Dominican Republic’s Parsley Massacre, NPR, Oct 1, 2012
Boarder of Lights, a group that commemorates the 1937 Haitian massacre. 
Una historia nacional en una pagina 

Peace Corps Journals
What better way to learn about the Dominican Republic than through the eyes of Peace Corps Volunteers. Peace Corps Journals has a collection of blogs about the Dominican Republic and other countries. 

Friends of Haiti
Some Peace Corps Volunteers in Haiti finished their service in the Dominican Republic. Friends of Haiti would like to connect with you. They have  a blog .


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