Chocolate does grow on trees—but not in the form found in stores. A common sight in the Dominican countryside is cacao in the first stages of processing: raw cacao in oval-shaped pods collected from trees. The ripe pods are cut open with machetes to reveal a white pulp, and within this pulp are the cacao beans that will be crafted into chocolate. About 40 pods are required to produce one kilogram of cocoa paste. Dominicans take pride in being the largest producer of organic sustainable cocoa in the world.
Claire Dal Nogare © 2019
PCV Dominican Republic 2014–2016
Youth, Families, and Community Development
Area 19K mi2; 49 km2
Population 10.7M (273/mi²; 100/km²)
Gov’t Presidential republic
Capital Santo Domingo (3.4M))
In Poverty 21%
Infant Mortality 21/1K live births (78th)
Life expectancy 73 yrs
Median Age 28 yrs
Languages Spanish (official)
Religions Roman Catholic 44%, Evangelical 13%, Protestant 8%, Adventist 1%, other 2%, unspecified 2%, none 30%
Health 6% of GDP
Education 4% of GDP (102nd)
Military 1% of GDP (140th)
Labor Force Agriculture 14%, industry 21%, services 65%
PCVs 1962–present 16, CURRENT: 13, TTD: 4,589
The Feast of the Goat
By Mario Vargas Llosa. Trans. By Edith Grossman.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2001; 1st Spanish-language edition: 2000))
ISBN-10: 0312420277, 0374154767
Through interlocking storylines, this novel draws from documented events in 20th -century Dominican history to delve into the mind of the ailing dictator Rafael Trujillo at the end of his life. Conveying a visceral sense of the terror through which his regime ruled, it depicts the cruel complicity of his loyal henchmen and explores the thoughts of opponents plotting to bring that rule to an end. An invented character, the daughter of one of those henchmen, herself a child victim of the terror and now an attorney in the US, returns decades after fleeing the country as a teenager. Through her inside-outside lens and memories, readers gain access to an understanding, at once shocking and nuanced, of the lived experience of the dictatorship and, years later, its lingering shadows.
“This is an ambitious novel, as sure-footed as it is graphic in integrating the private aspects of daily life in the [Trujillo dictatorship] years with the public, or hypothetical motives with real events.” (The Guardian)
"A fierce, edgy and enthralling book ... Mr. Vargas Llosa has pushed the boundaries of the traditional historical novel, and in doing so has written a book of harrowing power and lasting resonance." (The New York Times)
A “masterpiece of Latin American and world literature, and one of the finest political novels ever written” (Bookforum)
If Dominican Were a Color
By Sili Recio, illustrated by Brianna McCarthy
Format: Hardcover, 32 pp, color illus.
Age Range: 4-8 years
Publisher: New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020
A poetic picture book celebrating the diversity and beauty of the Dominican people and their land: The palette of the Dominican Republic is exuberant and unlimited. Maiz comes up amarillo, the blue-black of dreams washes over sandy shores, and people’s skin can be the shade of cinnamon in cocoa or of mahogany. This exuberantly colorful, softly rhyming picture book is a gentle reminder that a nation’s hues are as wide as nature itself.
"McCarthy’s stunning art interprets the text with texture and light, her illustrations portraying the diversity and beauty of the Dominican people. The lush foliage, the impossibly blue skies, and the otherworldly pinks and oranges spring off the page with joy and verve." —Kirkus Reviews
"This book about self-love and the importance of accepting others is a delightful celebration of the differences contained within the vibrant, vivid world and cultures of the Dominican Republic...Also interspersed into the text are various words in Spanish, and as McCarthy utilizes an unrestrained palette to convey the natural as well as the traditional and cultural beauty of this island nation, young readers will be educated and encouraged to see the wonder in varied cultures and experiences." —Booklist
Country: Dominican Republic
Release Date: 2020
Filming Locations: Domincan Republic
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Run Time: 128 minutes
Papi recounts a day in the life of Sonia, an 8-year-old girl with a vibrant imagination. Her flashbacks and surreal flights of fancy shed light on her relationship with her father, who is only ever known as the elusive "Papi" figure.
Soberana 2020 Best Film