Yes, We're Still on an Island"
Darrel L. Hammon
Sometimes, we travel to places in the Dominican Republic that do not reflect what one has come to think an island ought to be—beaches, soft white sand, snorkeling, palm trees, cool breeze, the gentle lapping of the water.
What if I said, think about mountains laden with pine trees, raging white cap water through boulder-infested rivers, mudslides, deep ravines, and cabins nestled against a mountain side. That’s where we went today. It’s called Manabao, just above Jarabacoa and Los Dajaos. Absolutely gorgeous!
|Yaque del Norte River|
|The sign to Manabao|
Soon, we arrive at the gate that led to the cabañas. Slowly, we turned up the driveway and motored down a long winding path, over jagged rocks, and a several holes. Before too long, we ended up passing a beautiful cabin—yes, villa—on our right. It was stunning. We rolled into the driveway and parked. Brother Almonte was there to greet us.
took us on a tour of his home. Finally, we ended up in the kitchen and dining
area, where one of his employees, Eli, had prepared green guineos (green
bananas) and fried eggs for a quick breakfast. We sat down and had a delicious
breakfast. Green guineos are boiled and then served. They aren’t not
necessarily sweet; they taste a little like potatoes.
|Bridge over a pond|
|Green bananas and fried eggs|
Just across the street, rows and rows of poinsettia bushes line the road, leading to other cabañas. There crisp reds dazzled even in the bright sunlight. Then, we walked through a literal Garden of Eden. Trees of all types grew a long side the path: avocados, grapefruits, star fruit, oranges, bananas, guava, lime, and others. Flowers and plants dotted every spot. Birds of Paradise flowers hung everywhere.
|Elder and Sister Hammon|
Soon, we reached a covered building overlooking the Yaque del Norte River, which is the longest river in the Dominican Republic. After watching the river’s waters roll passed for several minutes, we walked down a narrow path, across the river on a bridge, and over to the other side. Hermano Almonte took us to another one of the homes there, owned by a former general of the national police force. After admiring the gardens and visiting with the gardener, an 76-year-old man named Juan, we walked down to the river front where we met a family group from the area. They were swimming in the river.
Upon returning, we were treated to a delicious lunch (almuerzo). Eli had cooked up an incredible array of Dominican favorites: rice with lentils; salad with tomatoes and cucumbers; a wonderful salad dressing (salsa) with oil, lime juice, cilantro, pepper, tomatoes, onions, and few other ingredients; chicken and pork dishes. Plus, some of the sisters brought corn bread salad, macaroni salad, rolls, tortilla roll up and a Dominican banana cake. As you see, we had a feast.
|Eli and her lunch|
|Juan, the gardener, and Brother Almonte|
|Turtles in the pond|
|Elder and Sister Leavitt|