While laying by the pool, or lazing on the beach enjoying the very white sands and crystal blue and green sea waters, my vacation reading included In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (a Dominican Republic author), an historical novel relating an account of the Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship. As I was absolutely ignorant of any of this history, I found it fascinating. Another of her books, which I started on the return flight home, was A Wedding In Haiti, another wonderful read about friendship and the relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Ms. Alvarez is an excellent author and one I highly recommend.
We had brought school supplies to share with the school children, an entire suitcase full, but it hardly seemed enough. My hope is that as a family, we will continue to pursue avenues of assistance for the friendly, welcoming people on this lovely island.
The Dominican Republic shares a border with Haiti and stretches over the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo, the capital and the seventh largest city in North America, is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
- Population: 10,276,600
- Life Expectancy: 73 years
- Access to Safe Water: 82%
- School Enrollment: 92%
- Land Mass: 18,791 sq. mi.
- Literacy Rate: 90%
- Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 27/1000
- Average Annual Income (GNI): 5,470
Many Dominicans struggle with poverty. Around 41 percent of the population lives below the poverty line
The Dominican Republic ranks sixth among countries with the highest rates of femicide, or murder of women. Most of these crimes are never reported, according to official figures, and the group at greatest risk are women ages 15-24.
Nearly 75 percent of the population lives in an urban context. Challenges here include lack of access to basic services like clean water, shelter, medical care, education, sanitation, public safety, and electricity.