*Disclosure : I was a guest aboard Fathom Travel’s Adonia on her June 5 -12th sailing to the Dominican Republic, all opinions are my own.
On my recent trip to Puerto Plata with Fathom travel, I was fortunate to be able to experience a couple of the impact activities that Fathom travel organizes along with partner agencies on the ground, Entrena and IDDI. Together they have created remarkable experiences in travel and help make an impact on the lives of the Dominican people.
One of the impact activities I chose was the paper making at RePapel. From the moment we stepped off the bus, these lovely women made us feel welcome and at home, and showed us how grateful they were that we were there helping them, if even for just the afternoon. They were full of joy, singing and clapping and would break out throughout the afternoon in song. What a way to break up your day! The joy and happiness was infectious, you couldn’t help but join in!
As we moved through all the different stages of paper-making and the different rooms, we were able to speak to some of the women. We found out how RePapel had made a difference in their lives and that of their families, and that it gave the women the opportunity to spend more quality time with their families instead of working constantly.
The Simple Things
I had mentioned the joy these women had, they showed it while they worked and the way they spoke. They were very grateful to have us there as part of the impact activities to help to improve their production and increase sales. This in turn helped them to support their families. Helping these women not only meant that production increased, but the women were also able to spend more time with their families while their business thrived.
The work itself can be tedious at times. I found this especially true in the first stage of the recycling where you are shredding recycled paper into bits to be mulched up and made into usable paper. The shredding goes quickly when there are more hands available. As we moved through the other stages washing, mulching screening and drying, you get a sense of the camaraderie of these women and their joy in the little things. Something I sometimes forget, it was a good reminder for me… especially after spending some time with these lovely ladies full of joy and warmth.
I had to share this great video captured by Alethea Smartt!
I remember making paper long ago , it was wonderful to be able to do it again in such a fun atmosphere at RePapel. These women do this day in and day out… and it can get quite hot! But it was so incredible to see how they lifted our spirits through the afternoon and had all of us laughing and joining in on their dancing and singing. To be honest, I think they did more for us than we could possibly have done for them!
How We Help
It doesn’t seem like much, but on the days that there are no impact activities, these women produce close to 18 sheets of paper. On the day that we were at RePapel, our whole group produced 133 sheets of paper – that really goes a long way to helping these women and their families! To date ( 6 weeks) 3851 sheets of paper have been produced! That is the result of ongoing impact tours to RePapel every other week for 3 days a week. These women would have had to work 30 weeks/ 7 days a week straight in order to produce that much paper without the impact activities. It does make a difference and these women are very grateful!
Someone asked one of the IDDI leaders if the women were this joyful all the time, she said that on days that the impact activities were not going on, they weren’t. She said having others here helping them out, made the women very joyful and certainly made a difference in the work atmosphere. It was nice to know that we brought them some of the joy that they brought to us. 🙂
If you are interested in how you can experience this yourself, check out the website for the other wonderful activities and experiences along with savings on the cruises with a special insider’s code 1577. You can take a look at my previous post, how Fathom makes impact travel easy to see some of the ship’s amenities.
Pricing for the inaugural season for the seven-day Fathom Impact Journey to the Dominican Republic starts at $499 per person. The base price of a trip includes on-ground impact activities and related supplies, onboard impact programs, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a stateroom. A few select impact activities have an incremental cost to cover materials and supplies. The price is based on two people sharing a stateroom, and prices vary by season.