Putney Student Travel | Hurricane Relief in Dominica

Video and Photos


On September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island of Dominica, leaving communities in ruin and without homes, schools, hospitals, roads, water, or electricity. Our previous host villages of La Plaine and Bense suffered extensive damage, with 90% of houses and other community buildings damaged or destroyed. Longtime friends and government officials in the area will ensure our service projects are community-directed, collaborative, and effective as we work alongside skilled construction workers to help rebuild homes, schools, and infrastructure impacted by the hurricane. Between service projects, spend downtime with members of the community, hearing stories of their lives and perseverance in the wake of Maria. Play basketball, soccer, or cricket with local students in the afternoon. Explore the island, snorkel coral-dotted shorelines, or help repair a trail leading through lush valleys and dense jungles to a nearby waterfall.

  • Collaborate with government officials to plan and carry out effective projects
  • Rebuild and repair communities alongside local foremen
  • Coordinate a summer enrichment program for local students who missed school due to hurricane damages
  • Develop meaningful relationships with locals whose lives have been affected by the storms
  • Explore waterfalls and visit a boiling lake as you help rangers maintain hiking trails in a national park

Questions & Answers


based on 2 reviews
  • Growth 9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 7
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
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An Amazing Experience that You Don't Want to Miss!!

This program has given me an experience that I have never before had. From the very beginning, we immersed ourselves in the culture of the people in Dominica and formed close relationships with the locals in Bense (our host town). During the afternoons we would play sports and cards with the local kids as well as occasionally doing an organized after school fun camp. We taught the kids many things and they taught us many things as well. This exchange of ideas has shown me many new games that I can play with my friends today. Not only that, but the island on its own is beautiful. Everyday you are immersed in incredible views that you cannot see anywhere else. In addition to being located in such a beautiful place with such nice people, it was truly meaningful to perform numerous service projects alongside our local contractors. Some of our projects included fixing trash huts, building bus stops, creating the floor for a hurricane shelter (and making the cement as well), cleaning up beaches, painting different walls and houses throughout the village, and clearing areas and planting them with pretty plants. It felt so good to be able to walk around the village and see the fruits of our labor on a day-to-day basis, knowing that it will stay there after we are gone and be used to help improve the lives of the locals. In addition, this program really helped create great relationships with the other people in the program. From playing cards all afternoon, to doing a fun 1984 book club, to spending nights having long discussions, we all really got to know one another and create special bonds that cannot be broken. I very strongly recommend this program to anyone who wants to have a meaningful, fun, and incredible summer.

How can this program be improved?
The one thing that I believe can be improved in this program is the organization of service projects. I know that our group worked especially quickly and this resulted in a last minute rush to find more work to do for the remainder of our time in Dominica.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Putney Dominica hurricane relief review

My experience in Dominica helped me broaden my horizons by being forced to immerse myself fully into such a new and different culture. The people of my host town, Bense, were welcoming and kind to us from the very beginning and didn't just stop at saying hi to us, but really spent time building relationships with us any chance they got. Local teenagers played basketball and soccer with us, some showed us their local beaches and travelled with us to work and on car rides to tourist destinations, some kids played cards with us and taught us songs and games. The adults we interacted with were interested in our experiences and urged us to make the most of our time in their country. Everyone on my trip made such strong connections with the locals in our town that three weeks with them didn't feel like enough. The spirited people on the island aside, Dominica was incredibly beautiful with amazing beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and an incredible history that we got to learn about from a local historian at his home and also by visiting nearby ruins of a European fort. Putney did an excellent job of having us dive into Dominican culture in every aspect, from eating locally-cooked food every night to holding day camps for younger kids to going to a church service to picking fruit on the side of the road. I felt that my experience in Dominica was truly authentic and rewarding and I couldn't be happier with my decision to go on this trip.

How can this program be improved?
The only improvement I would suggest is to line up some more community service jobs before hand so that leaders don't have to scramble to find more as the trip progresses.
Yes, I recommend this program

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