Social projects in the communities,that we visit with our guests while showing them the beauty of the countryside living, always have been a really important part of Outback Adventures policy since the company has been founded 19th years ago.
Each year we organize different activities with the rural schools in the Punta Cana area and giving them year round support with school material and uniforms, so they would not miss out on education.
But learning is not everything and through summer vacation most of these kids are hanging out at home or work with their parents on the fields or local shops.
We wanted to do something different and truly special this year. The plan was to show them ,that learning something new can be so much fun and wanted to get their creative juices flowing.
At the same time we decided to tell them and show them about the importance of recycling in a small work shop.
Now in days it is so common to purchase plastic bottles and bags and afterwards nobody knows what to do with it afterwards. Most commonly it is either burned on the side the road or in a better case brought to the garbage dump.
Since Outback is actively part of a green program since 2015 and we decided THAT will be the motto of our summer camp. Upcycling regular house hold items to beautiful games, or flowers using plastic bottles and caps, card boxes for eggs and anything else we could get our hand on.
Prior to camp we received also a lot of craft items, like scissors and coloring paper that turned out to be very useful from guests that were visiting our tours in Punta Cana or one of our Bayahibe tours . This was a great help for us to be able to give back to the community.
But know i don’t want you to wait any longer. Are you ready?
Day one- Visit from Niños de Cristo Orphanage
Our first visitors was a group of 50 boys and girls from an orphanage called “los Niños de Cristo”. Their Mission it is to provide more than 135 orphaned children with a home, health and education through college to help them become independentand productive members of their communities.
The orphanage started in 1993 when a child was rescued in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Over the years, the Orfanato Niños de Cristo has welcomed children from the Dominican Republic and Haiti who have been abandoned and/or abused.
These children used to live in dangerous and unsanitary conditions, oftentimes suffering from malnutrition and a lack of access to education, forcing them to beg on the streets in order to survive. Because government funds are extremely limited in the Dominican Republic, the Orfanato is one of the few ways that these children have a better chance at life.
We arrived at our mountain top ranch in Anamuya singing and laughing and with an anxious spirit to meet the local animals. And we couldn’t be more right! The small baby rabbits and iguanas as well as the baby piglets and Elvis where their favorites!
Yes we do have an original Elvis! And here he is!
And than we started to let the little artists loose and wow did they surprise us!
After so much creativity and fun, a healthy meal was a must!
We served the best fried chicken, our DFC-Dominican fried chicken, lots of rice and beans and salads to create the perfect base to build up the strengths and energies again for the last highlight of the day.
Macao beach!!! The waves have just been perfect on this picturesque white sanded beach. Over and over again our guides helped the smallest ones to find the perfect wave. By the end of the day they did surf all like the pros.
There was no sound to hear on the way back to La Romana, but days after they are still talking about it.
Day Two-First visit Bonao
We do work on the daily bases really close with schools like El Caño, Cruce Isleño or Canada Honda as they are easy to access for us with our Outback Safari or Jungle Rally tours here in Punta Cana and we are able to show the school building and small backyard to our guests and explain about the educational system and the uniforms of the children.
El Bonao is a bit off this grit. It is a basic school in the countryside of Punta Cana. The building has 7 class rooms and educates over 200 kids from the age of 6-14 years old. Most of them where visiting families in other parts of the island, but a smaller group stayed back home and was bored to death.
So we talked to one of the teacher ,that is also pastora in a near by christian church and together with Chappies wife ( You are going to meet her on another blog) and their sons Angel, Charlie and Billy, we decided we will do this year something special for the children from this village.
So we filled the ice box, put on our best shirts and went early in the morning to picked them up with our fantastic orange colored Outback truck, and drove up our mountain top ranch , loud singing and clapping so everybody knew we were up for something special.
On our first day we decided to teach how to make beautiful flowers out of water bottles.
Not even nature could have had more creativity!
A fantastic family style lunch was served for everybody to end the first day of summer camp and heading back downhill. Most of them could barely wait for the next time they would join us.
Day Three- Second work shop with children of Bonao
By NOW the people knew that whenever this orange truck would show up that it was time for another camp day. Anxiously waiting, waving and shouting, to make sure we would not pass by, they were waiting for us. How would we miss them? With big eyes and huge smiles they kept asking “so what is it that we gonna do today”
This work shop was all about reusing card board packaging and egg boxes to create fantastic picture frames and we showed some amazing tricks when creating bird nests from tin cans that look so cute , like little bees and bugs. But see for yourself.
Day Four- Dental check in Bonao
Since we decided that we wanted to make a big difference this year in this small community, we put all our effort together and organization here. We ask for dental volunteer Yuliana Gallo, to check the children for any dental issues and give a small speech about the correct way of cleaning teeth and keeping them healthy.
Most of this children never visited a dentist and needed urgently treatment. Thanks to Romance Forum a group that had been travelling with Amstar DMC to Punta Cana and their hug donation including tooth brushes and tooth paste as well as dental floss, we where able to hand out each children a small package with these essentials so they could practice what they just learned today about the proper dental care, back home.
We want to encourage this way our guests to bring dental care products, rather than sweets to the schools and hand them out when they stop at the school as part of the Outback Safari tour.
Day five- optical check in Bonao
Prior to our summer camp we have been informed that there are quiet a few children that have learning difficulties due the lack of proper eye sight. A dear friend, Altagracia from Visual Plus from Santo Domingo came by to do a full eye check up in the community.
Most of the times just simple eye drops would give the irritated eyes some relieve from the itch caused by allergies. But finding out that several kids need prescription glasses and reading glasses in order to attend the class better made us rethink! We would need additional help and sponsors for those.
An instant improvement for their life is expected as they can finally follow the teacher in class. We will keep you updated on our Social Media.
One little girl ,Fendandita, really touched our heart. She would need corrective surgery, but since her mum is not able to provide health insurance she won’t be able to take her to the clinic.
We decided to hook up the right person within the social program of the government. With the help of private sponsors we will be able to get her to the eye clinic in La Romana for further check up and hopefully she will be considered for free surgery to fix her issues so she can grow up healthy and strong.
We keep you posted on her progress.
Day 6- fundraiser clothing sales in Bonao
I am pretty sure you do the same as us at least ones a year. We asked all our friends and families to clutter out their homes and bring us shoes and clothing and everything we could sale.
We organized a garage sale so people with low income would be able to purchase for incredible low prices new clothing and on the same time we would be able to raise the funds needed to purchase a food delivery to the orphanage in La Romana.
Many of the community members came and helped out when they heard about the cause.We had been doing these kind of garage sales several times over the last 4 years and they always have been a huge hit as they fulfill several purposes and people know they money goes right back into their communities.
You have a big bag of slightly used items and want us to pick them up? Awesome! Just contact us to coordinate where we can meet you.
Day 7- Second visit of the children from La Romana’s orphanage
When driving up the entrance of the orphanage we where greeted with big smiles and huge hugs as these kids knew where they would be going today.
While driving to the endless wide sugar cane fields of La Romana towards the city of Higuey ,they kept on singing and entertaining our team, that we had to ask ourselves . Who is enjoying this trip more?
Finally we could see the mountain top of Anamuya and the excitement reached even a higher peak.
They where ecstatic! Ready to jump of the truck and following Ramon, our driver to see all the animals in the gardens of the ranch.
The work shop was a huge success, so many crafty little minds, that created beautiful tin bees and flowers with the recycled material we had collected.
Understanding that most of this things are for free and everybody can find them back home we exchanged many ideas so they could use their creativity back home.
When we served lunch there was no holding back! These kids eat like big people and they enjoyed every piece of chicken and salad. “this was the best chicken ever, i mean ever!” was one of the comments that made us laugh and realize that for some of them ,this has been the first good meal since weeks.
And it was time to hit the road again for the much anticipated beach time on Macao.
Not only do tourists enjoy this endless white sand of this secluded beach, the kids enjoyed the calm and warm waters to get up those boogie boards and ride some waves.
Day 8-9 Work shop for the children of Bonao
For two more days we would come with our orange truck to the community of Bonao to pick up small group of around 30 children and driving with them up to the ranch of Palo Amargo.
Each time with different ideas for games or other craft items hat can be created with recycling material such as plastic bottles and their caps,tine cans and card board
Guests that joined the tour of the Outback Safari Punta Cana had also approach us to see how they can send us for the next time crafts material as they have been impressed by the dedication and fun this little ones had. ( We will give you more details on all our social programs and how you can help in a different post)
They took pictures and ideas back home to share the story and maybe come back or send us much needed crafts material like scissors, paint and clue.
Day 10- Last day of summer camp
Time flew by so fast this summer, but we enjoyed every day of it.
New friends have been made and silently sealing the agreement that this would not be the last time we do a summer camp. On our last day on the ranch we created each a mask that would represent our spirits on this journey. We where not expecting so beautiful things.
We sum up our first summer camp:
we took over 300 kids on tour for different work shops, enjoyed with each of them a fantastic family style lunch and thought them to take care of their environment a bit more.
Items that for one are waste, are for somebody else just the most beautiful thing they can find to give it a new purpose.
We used over 600 plastic bottles, 50 card boards for eggs and 300 plastic bottle caps.
Gave medical care to more than 150 children and adults in the community
We hope you got inspirit and maybe plane something in your community next summer break.If you do, tell us your story, we would be glad to listen to it.
Until than we say goodbye and hopefully see you around on one of our adventure tours.