Hello, I recently made a trip to the Dominican Republic to meet Barry in person and to experience and see what Cabrera and the other cities on the northern coast of the DR had to offer.
As police officer with 7 years experience I undertook my journey to Cabrera with a lot of skepticism, doubts and questions. A main area of concern I had was the security of a family within a developing county. I hope my brief review of my time in Cabrera will give you a better understanding of this small, family oriented community.
When Barry and good friend of his picked me up in Puerto Plata my first thought was, “What the heck am I doing flying to this new county, trusting a man I’ve only skyped and emailed with to shuttle me all over the north part of the island.” In all honesty there was a small risk but I weighed it with what I believed to be true about Barry from my conversations with him. Most importantly was that I believed Barry to be an honest person who genuinely cares about others. At worst, I thought I would not be losing anything other than getting to experience new people and a new county for a week.
With each passing day I saw Barry, his friends and the local people of Cabrera and how they interacted with each other. And what proved to be the biggest impact were their relationships with each other. Cabrera is a strong community because of the people that are there. I told family back home I felt as if I had stepped back in time to the 1930’s and 1940’s and experienced what it was like to have lived in the US during those times. The sense of community that is thriving there is because of the focus on each other and helping your neighbor. Sure, the land is blessed with fertile soil and there are fruit trees hanging ripe, and an abundance of many other natural resources but the most important part I saw was the true sense of community.
In part, I believe Barry has thrived in Cabrera because he has invested in the people and the community. One of the best judges of character is how others speak of and treat you. The amount of times locals in Cabrera spoke to me of how Barry has helped them and invested in their community were numerous.
Some of you may be having doubt about safety, and criminality within a developing country but I ask you to think out side of the box for a moment. Think of your current community and neighborhood and ask your self when was the last time you saw a newspaper heading, radio announcement, or the evening news of someone being assaulted, robbed, raped or beaten. Many times in the States we let ourselves slip into an illusion of safety and comfort. Look back over the past year and see how close crime has come to your county, your neighborhood and your family. Have you convinced yourself that “it” could never happen to you? How confident are you with your neighbor’s one street over to help you when “crap hits the fan”. Wait, how about your neighbors next door. Will they be there when you need them? I can honestly say at no point was I concerned for my safety. In fact, I would prefer my mother live in a community like Cabrera as opposed to her current city.
Let me give an example from my community, which is a very wealthy place to live. Most households have six digit incomes, luxury cars are everywhere but there is no true sense of a community. I go into many a household during the course of my job and many of these times are for domestic calls. The parents have lost their children and they throw money at them to pacify them, they look to the schools to give them guidance, yet kids are turning to substance abuse at an amazing rate. Kids in my “wealthy community” as young as middle school are turning to hard drugs to pacify that empty hole within and many also are turning to alternative families-gangs. These observations are not reflective of all families but of many. It is possible to raise a good family within this environment and many do but when there is a crisis what type of community do you want your family to ride out the storm?
You may ask why am I talking about the problems of a wealthy community within our first world country? Well, it’s because strong families make strong communities and when a crisis hits where do I want my family. A community where I know my neighbor will help. Where will we be best able to ride out the storm? In a community where families are lost, communities are held together by HOA’s and ones importance is judged by the vehicle they drive? Or would we prefer to ride out the storm in a community where ones character is judged by the amount of time he has invested in his family and his community.
However, let me say, if a neighbor drying clothes on a clothes wire offends you, if someone growing fruits and vegetables in their front yard is below your status-Cabrera may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a community that is self sufficient in meeting its physical needs and a place that that will give you 10-fold of what you invest in it; then maybe you should think outside the norm for a bit and take a trip. The best understanding comes from first hand experience.
The love and genuine kindness I experienced from complete strangers in Cabrera was truly amazing. I’m already planning my return trip with family. I hope to see you there.
Fear can be addictive and it is hard not to let your self be caught within its destructive cycle. Be open to the truth and look for options.