Fathom has created an amazing agenda that combines cruising with opportunities to serve in the Dominican Republic (DR). Of course, I was excited to finally sail on the Adonia this past May. The ship can carry up to 704 travelers which in the age of floating cities makes this ship a very small town. Given the nature of the cruise, the size lends itself to a warm, amicable atmosphere. The majority of the activities (on the ship) strive to break down barriers in order to promote dialog with other travelers, staff, and crew. Other on-board activities are focused on preparing travelers for the Impact Activities in the DR. In the Fathom world, Impact Activities are your volunteer opportunities.
The Impact Activities
You can choose how many or how few impact activities you do. You can include some tours or just relax at Amber Cove; the choice is yours to make. Here are the current activities, I did 5 of them.
Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
Water Filter Production
Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship
Community English Conversation & Learning
Student English Conversation & Learning
Concrete Floors in Community Homes
Reforestation and Nursery
Creative Arts, Music and Sports
English Conversation & Learning
I was concerned about not possessing the right skill set for English Conversation & Learning since teaching was not my former profession. It did not matter to me that I have teachers on both sides of my family and I participated in the Future Teachers of America program a very long time ago. But, the Empowering English Tutoring session on the ship clearly stated this activity was open to everyone. So, I took the plunge and am glad about it.
Community tutoring was first. This was really a good challenge. Our group was bused to a community center where we were randomly divided and matched with adult students. The lessons are done in the homes of the adult students. A manual is provided and you are told which lesson to teach. Sandy (another Fathom traveler) and I went to Emelda’s home to teach her and her friends. I worked with Juana and her daughter Sandra. I went through the lesson on shapes in the workbook including the flash cards and reviewed the previous lesson. I was comfortable as a tutor, so I started walking around the living room looking for shapes that mother and daughter could identify. It seemed to work, they were mostly naming the objects correctly. I hope I did help and they will remember the lesson.
The next day, we taught English at an elementary school. The Community English session helped prepare me for teaching these students. This was a special day at the school, they were having an event to honor the Mothers. Our group was taken to a classroom where we were told how our time would be spent. The same workbook was used, this time the lesson was on colors. It was a total surprise when the leads played “Uptown Funk” as the students entered the classroom. I love that song, it was a good icebreaker to help us relax. The students selected their tutor and the lesson began. My student was Josefina, she was attentive and took notes. We had a good time. Some of Josefina’s classmates commented that with we looked alike. Take a look at our photo. What do you think?
Josefina and Cheryl (Really sorry it's slightly out-of-focus.)
Tutors and Students
You, too, can take this cruise and return with your own special memories. The 2017 sailings to the Dominican Republic are on-sale now, get the details here.