Recently I was blessed to join fellow travel writers on the inaugural sailing of Carnival Cruise’s new brand called Fathom Travel which offers cruises to the Dominican Republic and Cuba focused on social impact travel. This is an in-depth look at my participation in teaching English in Dominican Republic homes through the “Community English” impact activity. For my full Fathom Travel experience check out my blog Fathom Travel: Making an Impact on the Dominican Republic & Beyond.
Community English Conversation & Learning
During this impact activity we travelled to a small town called Monterico which has just over 1,000 residents. Upon arrival we were greeted by representatives from the community. Our Entrena guides explained how the ability to speak English opens up many doors for Dominicans, especially for higher education and job opportunities. We then were given an overview of how teaching English in Dominican Republic homes works and handed our lessons plans for the day. We learned that Fathom Travelers will be going into the same communities week after week. As community members progress in their English, they will move forward with the lessons.
After going over our lesson for the day – teaching the alphabet – we were then assigned community representatives to bring us to their homes.
I was paired with Maria and immediately her contagious laughter and joyful smile captured my heart. She was so excited to bring the Fathom Travelers into her home. Maria and I were then joined by Yanna and the three of us spent about 45 minutes studying the English alphabet. The eagerness in both Maria, a middle-aged woman and Yanna, a teenager was astounding. The two of them, along with many others in the community, voluntarily wanted to study English from complete strangers. As we studied letters from A to Z, the three of us constantly laughed and truly enjoyed each other’s company — I could have sat there all day. Teaching and speaking English (and my broken Spanish) with them revealed to me how important this was to them and how grateful they were to have me by their side.
When our lessons were over, our Entrena guides asked if anyone wanted to say anything — Maria did. From the bottom of her heart she thanked all of us for spending time in their community teaching them such a valuable skill. She said they know it will take time and hard work, but because of us they have an opportunity to better their lives. Maria then turned to me and bragged about her teacher. In that moment, our eyes locked and even though she was speaking a different language we were connected by the universal language of love — a language that can transcend differences and connect our hearts through acts of kindness and an eagerness to make a positive impact on the world.