|By: Giselle Deñó|
In all seriousness, the Dominican Republic is the most beautiful country in the world. I may be completely biased but the atmosphere here is so full of life everywhere you go and the ecosystems you encounter are so diverse that I believe there is space for every inhabitant of the planet in this little island.
My family and I set sail on a short four-day trip towards the South after I had found the way in which to ask, in the most diplomatic matter possible, for two days off of work. My boss joked and said: “Well Giselle, if you leave us, I’ll make sure someone fires you”; of course he said this just before wishing me a good experience. After checking that off my list with a huge sigh of relief, I was ready to embark on the search of new wonders and secrets that had been kept from me all the years of my life I’ve lived in the Dominican Republic. The South was the unknown to me; I had just the impressions of whatever similarity it would have with Haiti because of its proximity.
I fought with my elder sister for the car seat next to the window which I successfully won, and sat there astounded by the mountains formed like perfect triangles, the patient cattle that crossed the highway, the acres of plantations belonging to hardworking Dominicans and some of the scenery that resembled the Wild Wild West I had seen so often in American movies. We crossed Baní, famous for its mangoes, and Azua, a key point for agriculture in our country before arriving to where we would be staying, Barahona, at an equidistance of other cities we desired to visit. We woke up everyday anxious for the things we were about to discover. The road took us places we didn’t even plan for but that we welcomed gladly as nature’s way of embracing the presence of city dwellers in the rural side of the country. We had the privilege of visiting the Oviedo Lagoon, Los Cocos Wind Farm, and “Eagles Bay” or Bahía de las Águilas in our tour through earth, wind and fire. In the next days, the quest went so far as the Enriquillo Lake, to witness the very talked-about growth it has been suffering these past years. From lakes and lagoons to beautiful and rocky baths, and of course, the pescado frito that could not be skipped; enjoying every second of it because the final countdown of my return to France was automatically triggered in my mind.
That bittersweet feeling of coming back, having an amazing experience at the House of Representatives, visiting places I knew and loved, discovering new ones and having at the end to acknowledge the fact that this is not my permanent home anymore. This summer has overcome the past ones and my expectations; I’ll be forever thankful for the people that made it happen and were part of it. Needless to mention my team at the House of Representatives, the same people that surprised me last Friday with cake and a delicious pizza. I looked into their eyes and I saw genuine care for me, a reciprocity that had been forming during the months we spent together. As I hugged all of them goodbye, I knew I had a second family I could come back home to.