Dominican Republic ~ First stop.

We have invested too much time, energy and money in developing a position for CO2 Bambu in Haiti to be deterred by the trifecta that we face, namely 1) The pathetic lack of progress in the NGO world with regard to deploying permanent shelters for Haitians displaced by the earthquake, 2) A historic outbreak of cholera (brought in by UN Nepalese contingent) and 3) An explosive political situation bubbling up in the run up to the presidential election November 28th.

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So here we are in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Why are we here?
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To set up CO2 Bambu DR, a Santo Domingo-based subsidiary of CO2 Bambu whose role will be to receive bamboo materials from Nicaragua and take the lead in the establishment of a functioning logistics chain. This will result in the build up of a stock of bamboo materials in neighboring Haiti. It is our vision and strategy to simply sidestep the NGO mess as well as the bottleneck at Haiti’s port by developing a “retail business”, selling bamboo houses one by one out of our own warehouses. So today I (Ben) met with a freight forwarder, a lawyer to formally incorporate the business, an accountant to set up formal reporting to the government, and Yarel, a logistics professional who becomes our representative in country.
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Shades of Nicaragua start-up circa 2008! Years from now we intend to look back at a fully functional Dominican Republic business. Yarel, who will no doubt become a household name to our blog readers, speaks eleven languages! I was only able to validate his English, French, Spanish and declare him fluent. He also is adept at German, Italian, Portugese, Creole and is conversational in Greek, Russian and is starting to work on Japanese. He has written several language learning books and has offered to do crash language training for CO2 Bambu’s assembly teams soon to be posted in Haiti.
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Over to Peta…
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Ben invites me to join him in these oh so fascinating meetings, but I opt to spend the day slowly discovering the historic center of Santo Domingo on my own — Another Colonial city on the Caribbean (so am interested to compare and contrast with Cartagena in Colombia.) Usually hot and humid, it is now perfect breezy weather. Lots of heavy stone walls, New Orleans style balconies and an easy city to navigate.
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Mid morning I come across a very pathetic, “shut down to the world” stray dog, fur completely matted and unresponsive to my usual attempts at affection. I can’t keep walking, ignoring her sad state and make the decision to try to help her.
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Ah, policemen – they claim that there are no clinics or vets anywhere around. Still I stay with the dog and then out of nowhere comes Lucia, a kind local animal lover who immediately takes a picture of this pathetic pooch to post on Facebook real time to see if some of her friends might come to the rescue and adopt her.
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We lift and carry the dog to the local clinic. Yes, they can wash her, clean her, give her vaccinations etc but no they cannot not keep her overnight, so I need to find her a home. Fast forward past my asking a bunch of locals if they want a dog and finally a home is secured! I guess that my Spanish is not as bad as I think it is, as this whole interaction from start to finish is sans a word of English. How and why I am doing this on my one day of solo explorations? I know I will witness much human suffering in the next few days in Haiti, that I will not be able to directly impact. However, today I consciously choose to save a life.
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When Ben and I meet up after his hectic day, we walk together to the clinic one more time, to give a donation for expenses incurred. The little dog is visibly on the recovery path (responsive to my voice, clean shaven as her fur was so filthy, eye on the mend..) If only we could have as quick an impact with bamboo houses and Haitian recovery!
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2 thoughts on “Dominican Republic ~ First stop.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thank you Jacqueline…it is very hard for me to not want to do something when seeing an animal suffering. Happily this day was a success story.