About Emily Dobrich

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Dobrich. I am a first year student at Brescia University College in the Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics Program. I love traveling and studying languages so I have been so happy to be a part of the 2013 ASB Trip.

Sister Idalina and a Visit to a Batey

Two related themes arose during our visit to the Dominican Republic: the Haitian presence in the Dominican and Human Rights. One morning, we visited Sister Idalina, a Brazilian nun, working in the Dominican to help Haitians improve their rights. The day we visited she was hosting a clinic to help Haitians acquire proper documentation such as their passports, which will allow them to work in the Dominican and make a better life. She is an amazing and inspirational woman and even though we only had a few moments to meet her I think she left a lasting impact on all of us.

Another visit we made with a Haitian connection was to a Batey. A Batey is a town where sugar cutters live.  John, a member of our group from Rayjon who acted as our guide, described it as ‘an island in a sea of sugar cane’. That is truly what it feels like. The little community is surrounded by fields of sugar cane all around as far as the eye can see. It was extremely hot out there since there were no trees and hence very little shade. I cannot imagine what it must be like for workers to spend six months of the year working all day in such conditions. In the past, Haitians were forced to work here under such conditions. Both experiences were eye opening to some of the history and cultural diversity that exists in the Dominican Republic.


Traditional Food of the Dominican Republic

The diet of the people living in the Dominican Republic has been influenced by the foods available locally, by the indigenous cultures, such as the Taino native peoples, as well as by international influences from Spain and Africa. In a period of a week we samples many different dishes and foods and would like to share our culinary experiences.

Fried Plantain

Plantains are a type of banana. They are larger, less sweet, and more starchy than the type of bananas familiar to us. This means they must be cooked before they are consumed and are a more savoury dish.


This is a very starchy, carbohydrate rich root vegetable grown in the Dominican, the Caribean and South America. In fact, it is  the third largest source of carbohydrates in these areas!

We had yuca at Jorge’s school where it was peeled, boiled and cut into slices.

Rice and Beans

What a group favourite! We had this meal several times during the course of our trip. We found that rice in the Dominican to be very flavourful through the spices that were added by the use of coconut milk.

We also learned the con-con (burnt rice from the bottom of the pot) is a delicacy in the Dominican.

Stewed Beef (Carne Guisada)

A traditional dish we ate one night for dinner. Meat is always very well cooked


The fruit was amazing and we ate so much of it! Since it was  so fresh and delicious  that was easy to do. The fruits we tried included pineapple, banana, papaya, cantaloupe and avocado.

Monday, February 18

Hi everyone! Emily and Justine here reporting on Day Five of the ASB Trip.

Our first visit on Monday was to the Elizabeth Seton Nutrition Center. We spent the morning playing with the children. There were several rooms of kids ranging in age from two to five years old. At around noon we helped serve and feed them their lunch which was soup. The soup was made from pumpkin leaves and macaroni mixed in to give it some substance. They told us that this soup had an equivalent nutritional value as a piece of meat but a lot cheaper! The kids went for their nap after lunch and we got to try some of the soup. Next we went to visit a rural high school where we visited classrooms and watched a game of baseball. At the school we learned how teachers in the Dominican struggle to be named so that they can be on the government’s payroll. The last stop of the day was to the Saint Martin Shrine which was a little stone building at the top of a hill in a valley surrounded by mountains. We had a magnificent view and took a few photos before going back to our accommodations where we got to watch a beautiful sunset on the beach.