I gingerly positioned my spices and utensils around the kitchen counter, like an underpaid Food Network intern. I hoped my effort could compensate my friend Ophelia for my clear lack of cooking skills. She didn’t seem to mind. We laughed at my constant checking of the recipe and my week-long commitment to vegetarianism.
Listen. If a branch falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, yes, the branch has fallen; just ask the twigs crunching noisily beneath my boots. A cacophony reaches my ears while nature’s beauty informs my eyes — the forest has its own language. The central mountain range near Bonoa, Dominican Republic speaks a distinct, mellifluous dialect.
Rio Blanco Ecotourism Complex is a 2-hour drive from our hotel in Zona Colonia. A day spent learning about local agricultural issues and the intricacies of coffee production and communing with the environment during free time overwhelms my heart with a sense of privilege, social responsibility and appreciation for the Cordillera Centra.
As a study abroad student examining the social, economic and political development of East Africa, the streets have become my educator and tourism in Uganda has become the lesson plan.
I have witnessed the unfolding of tourism as a development strategy by living and attending school in the capital and largest city in Uganda — Kampala. And I have seen how tourism has a double-edged sword.