Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: Peace Corps Dominican Republic : Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic: JARED'S PEACE CORPS EXPERIENCE - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 7/97-10/99

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 1:49 pm: Edit Post

Jared's Peace Corps Experience in the Dominican Republic

Jared's Peace Corps Experience in the Dominican Republic


“Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.” — Jesse Jackson

Hola, My name is Jared Dunkin and this web site is dedicated to my two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I was fortunate to be to able to serve in the small business program in the beautiful tourist town of Puerto Plata. I have had an amazing time which would be difficult to put fairly into words. I have met interesting people, grown as a person, and have opened my eyes to another part of the world. I have lived with people, no matter how poor, that always wake up with smiles on their face. We can all learn something from that. I hope you enjoy my web page and that you too will discover the beauty and warmth of the Dominican Republic and her people.

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Designed by: Jared Dunkin Last modified: January 20, 2001 Special thanks to the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce for their assistance.

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me and a friend

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." — Mark Twain

Peace Corps is not your typical job, actually they say that, "it is the toughest jDominican familyob you'll ever love." I have certainly loved it but will admit it has not been easy. From the day I arrived in the country with almost no spanish and having to figure out why the lights went out till helping with the Hurricane Georges cleanup. Every day waking up to something new is what kept me going. I am very grateful to Peace Corps for giving me this opportunity.

I was assigned to the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce as my primary project. I workeblasina and med mostly with the strengthening of the Chamber. Luckily, I had an amazing counterpart, Blasina, who made all the difference in my successful two years. Not only was she a coworker but a mother to me. She guided me more then I ever could thank her. Besides working at the chamber of commerce I had various secondary projects. Robert Kennedy once said, "few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and the total of the acts will be written the history of this generation." I hope that with the small things I have done here that I have made that small difference. Listed below (click on them) are a few little things I have done.

(Puerto Plata)

the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce

"The gem cannot be polished without friction." — Chinese proverb

I was assigned to work in the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce as my main project. My assignment was to perform an assessment of the Chamber at the level of the organization and also at the level of its members in order to determine what administrative areas needed to be improved. Also, my mission was to work with the small and micro-entrepreneurs members of the Chamber providing technical business training.

I must admit that it was very difficult my first year at the Chamber. I entered the Peace Corps with no Spanish and very little business experience, except from my few internships and my finance degree from college. After three months of Peace Corps training, I was able to speak a little Spanish and had a basic idea of the business problems in the Dominican Republic. However, with limited Spanish and business experience I was very timid and not confident in my abilities. I basically dealt with what I knew best, computers. I trained the staff on the new computer they had purchased and taught them how to use the Internet. Later working with the newly formed Dominican Office of International Investment (OPI) I helped to arrange and organize a conference in Puerto Plata on International Investment and the importance of the Internet. Fifteen of the largest provincial Chambers of Commerce in the country attended. After the conference I prepared all the materials and the design for the Chambers webpage. Ofinet, a Dominican web design company, agreed to make the webpage, which is better because it leads to sustainable development.

After my first year in the country and rapid improvement of my Spanish, my confidence in my abilities grew dramatically. I realized I knew more then I thought and that often my perspectives on many topics helped to complement in the strategy of various Chamber endeavors. I worked closely in the planning and supervising of the 1 St. International Cultural Business Expo of the Chamber. The idea of the Expo was to create a commercial, cultural, and touristic relationship between the beautiful north coast of the country and the rest of the world. With over 175 local, national, and international business represented as well as many artisans the Expo was a great success for everyone.

Indeed, I am very grateful to the Chamber of Commerce for their patience and flexibility with me in my two years with them. When I first arrived, I think they had the idea (as do many agencies with Peace Corps volunteers) that I could fix and turn everything around with a magic wand. With that expectation in mind, it is easy to imagine the many ups and downs I have experienced. In the end, I probably could have done more and would have definitely done things differently had I known what I know now, but that is life. Life is not like making a movie in which you can have many takes before getting it right. However, all my failures and struggles, have made me stronger and more prepared for the next chapter of my life.

Read my adios letter to the Chamber in spanish!

Adios Letter: Board of Directors

Junta Directiva
Camara de Comercio Y Producción De Puerto Plata

La Cámara de Comercio ha sido uno de las mejores experiencias que el Cuerpo de Paz me pudo haber ofrecido. Ya que esta experiencia ha colaborado a mi desarrollo a un nivel profesional. Ayundandome de esta manera a conocer las raíces de la cultura dominicana. También a tener un mejor conocimiento de la comunidad en el ámbito empresarial. Pues, el tiempo de mi partida ha llegado cumpliendo dos años de colaboración de Cuerpo de Paz en el mes de Octubre.

Me siento bien orgulloso de poder ser parte de esta gran Cámara de Comercio y haber ayudado en el fortalecimiento de esta institución. Es decir que en el poco tiempo la Cámara ha mejorado notablemente. Estoy seguro que con la presidencia en manos de Don Fernando Cueto la Cámara tendrá el éxito asegurado. La Cámara va a cruzar el puente al nuevo siglo preparada para lograr sus metas.

La Cámara de Comercio fue para mi una gran experiencia laboral ya que me permitió trabajar con otras instituciones como por ejemplo: Empresarios de Futuro, Escuela Antera Mota, Covicosida, Renovación, Infotep, y OPI. Me siento muy contento de haber colaborado con estas instituciones que me han hecho recopilar experiencias de mi tiempo en la República Dominicana.

Quisiera agradecer personalmente a Blasina Fabián por haber sido mi madre en este país. Ella me ha permitido ver la realidad de los Dominicanos. También, quiero mencionar a Nilson Martinez el cual ha sido de gran soporte en mi estadía. Me gustaría agradecer a Don Fernando Cueto por haberme dirigido y ensañado en mi recorrido de la hermosa ciudad de Puerto Plata. El siempre será un ejemplo a seguir para mí.

Siempre voy a recordar con muchisima alegría y dejaré esta memoria bien guardada en mi corazón. De seguro esta experiencia ha abierto mucho más puertas para mí y que estoy bien listo a intentarlo.

Muchas Gracias a Todos!

Lic. Jared Dunkin
Cuerpo de Paz
17/10/97- 17/10/99

(Junior Achievment)

my class

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead, 20th centyr American anthropologist

Empresarios del Futuro ( business people of the future) is a 15 week class based on the American Junior Achievment program. The purpose of the program is the following: the stundents form a company, sell shares, select a board of directors, choose a product, sell the product, liquadate the company, and return any profits or losses to the shareholders. Empresarios del Futuro was a rewarding experience which enabled me to teach and learn with Dominicans. I have formed lasting friendships with the students which made my Peace Corps experience more meaningful.

Read my graduation speech in spanish!

Discurso: Empresarios del Futuro

Gracias a todos Uds. por participar en esto curso. Yo he aprendido mucho sobre la cultura Dominicana y trabajando en este país maravilloso. También y más importante he hecho muchos nuevos amigos. Ahora, Uds. tienen la gran ventaja de conocimientos. Estos conocimientos les ayudará mas de lo que Uds. saben ahora. Uds. saben muy bien lo que necesitan hacer para tener éxito en un negocio. Bueno, nosotros no ganamos mucho dinero pero realmente lo que tuvimos es más importante una lección de vida. La lección que alguien no siempre puede tener éxito y cuando no hay éxito aprende lo que hará diferente la próxima vez. Uds. no pueden aprender esta lección en un libro. Me recuerda de una muy bueno publicidad de Nike con lo que Michael Jordan habla acerca de todas las veces que logró de ganar un juego en la ultimo segundo. Sin embargo él dice que de todas las veces que ha ganado fue tantas veces que ha perdido un juego en la ultimo segundo pero de cada perdida él aprende más. Felicitadas a Uds. este curso ha sido el primer intento, y también la más difícil, todos deben estar orgullosos de lo que hemos llevado a cabo, por mi parte por seguro estoy orgulloso de todos. Uds. han aprendido la importancia de la planificación, responsabilidad, del equipo de trabajo, motivación, y mucho más.

Una cosa más no me olviden cuando Uds. sean los brillantes empresarios y asuman los liderazgo de Puerto Plata. Yo tengo fe en Uds. Pues, quien sabe tal vez voy a necesitar un trabajo un día.


July 5-30, 1999

"If we are to reach real peace in this world . . . we shall have to begin with the children." — Mohandas Gandhi

summer camp

Kara, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer, and I taught a CHARACTER COUNTS! summer camp. The camp entailed lessons about building character. We used wonderful information (which my mom uses at her school and told me about... thanks, mom) from the Josephson Institute of Ethics on Character Counts!

CHARACTER COUNTS! is based on 6 pillars of character:

trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

The CHARACTER COUNTS! program has produced amazing results. After the second day of class, a blind man came into the camp asking for money. Not knowing what to do I gave him a few pesos. As he was leaving one of the boys followed him out and gave him money. The day before we had spoken about the importance of helping others without recognition. Keep in mind these kids come from poor homes. What a lesson my new little friend had learned. The camp by focusing on the CHARACTER COUNTS! pillars stressed the importance of education through reading and the arts.

The success of the camp will not end with my departure. During the camp we trained teachers from a poor barrio how to implement the pillars. Kara also will continue working with the program. Her Dominican counterparte believes that character education is the answer to her town's poverty.

I really enjoyed working with the children. A famous Rabbi once said that a tree is like a human being. If you make a scratch on a branch on a full grown tree, it only will affect that branch. However, if you make even a miniscule scratch on a seed, you will affect the entire tree. With the CHARACTER COUNTS! program at the summer camp this was accomplished.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." — Albert Einstein

One of my true passions is teaching. Although, I am a business volunteer I have spent much of my time teaching. The picture above is me at a local public elmentary school which I went to every Thursday to give charlas (lectures) to the seventh graders. I gave charlas on various topics including: emotions, jobs, communication, strategic planning, goals, culture, imagination, etc. I enjoyed teaching the kids very much.

I also worked with young adults through INFOTEP(government training program). I spoke about marketing and the Internet. Furthermore, I had my Empresarios del Futuro class and the summer camp.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic; PCVs in the Field - Dominican Republic



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