How long have you been part of the team at ISV? What is your role?
Adolfo: I have been part of this amazing team since May 2005 when Randy Sykes, the founder of ISV came to the Dominican Republic and visited Cabarete on the North coast of the Island looking for Dominican tour leaders to lead the ISV groups on our Adventure Tour around the island.
My role at ISV for the past 4 years has been Tour Director. I am the one responsible for organizing everything regarding the tour, from transportation, accommodation, meals and activities, to ensure participants have the best experience possible.
But what I enjoy the most about my job is taking participants on our Adventure Tour around the island and showing them all that my country has to offer.
What inspired you to join ISV?
Adolfo: Having led many mountain biking trips and hiking trips around the country and to the highest mountain in the Caribbean, I saw an opportunity in ISV to meet a lot of new people and show them my country.
At the same time feel a sense of fulfillment, since each one of these participants have come here to volunteer their time to help my country become a better place for our people. And showing them the beauties of this island is like a reward for their work. And I enjoy doing it.
What is your favorite aspect of the ISV's program in the Dominican Republic?
Adolfo: I really enjoy taking people around and showing them things they probably would never see or experience back in their home countries. But I have to say that my favorite aspect is the volunteering part of the program, what the participants experience and the stories they tell about it.
What is the best story you've heard of a volunteer's experience with ISV in the Dominican Republic?
Adolfo: There have been so many fantastic stories in the past 8 years that it is really hard for me to recall one specific one. What I will never forget is the comments of most participants at the end of the volunteer part of the program or when they are going home after the end of the Adventure Tour, things like ‘I am in love with this country’, ‘This is the best experience of my life’ or ‘This has changed my life.’
I am member of almost every ISV group on Facebook and I can see how participants who didn't know each other before coming to the program and from many different parts of the world are now best friends even when they are half a world apart.
What tips/ insights do you have for volunteers considering Dominican Republic as their next volunteer destination?
Adolfo: The Dominican Republic is considered as one of the happiest countries in the world. We are also really friendly and welcoming and you will see this if you come here. Be ready to dance our Merengue and Bachata. Like most Latin American countries we love our music and dance. Even the poorest of the poor will have some stereo at their house to play some music.
Come with an open mind and flexibility and be prepared for some refreshing rain showers from time to time. Respect the culture, but go a little further and try to understand it and mingle with the locals to have an even better experience.