Experiences over Things: Dominican Republic Style

Service has been a huge part of my life for a while. Naturally I have always liked to help others but this was later an incentive in college when community service helped me get scholarships for college. I was spending dozens of hours doing community service from helping out at my church to local festivals to a camp for empowering girls. My love to give back never really died after that and it has followed me into my adulthood today.

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Service became ingrained in my heart. A natural progression of my commitment to service I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. in the Fall of 2013 at the University of South Florida. November 17, 2013 is a day that I will never forget as it officially marked me entering a new sisterhood and starting a new chapter in my life. Most of the women that would become my linesisters I had never met before bedsides two. But as the days, months, and years pasted these women would truly grow to be my linesisters.

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I decided to become an AKA because I saw it as an opportunity to better myself. I also saw it as a chance to have a special connection with women all over the nation and the world that was committed to sisterhood and service. I found connections and learned that I am capable of more than I think.

Now the time has flown by so my linesisters and I celebrated five years in AKA in Santos Domingo, Dominican Republic.

On this trip I had a few realizations about this zerowaste and minimalist journey I’m on.

Not all women are down for the diva cup

At lunch one day at a beautiful restaurant on the water, one of my linesisters brought out Thinx underwear (underwear for periods) and diva cups. I was so excited to see that one of my sisters was woke and on that alternative period products train. Just imagine that I gave her a high five.

However, I quickly discovered we were riding that train alone. We tried all we could to highlight all the pros of alternative products to saving money, buying less products, the product lasting for a longer time but my linesisters were just not having it. It was kind of shocked by the push back but I’m not giving up.

Failing to say no to single use plastic will happen a lot

I forgot more than I would like to admit to say no to plastic bags, plastic straws, and utensils. I was usually so excited to get a mojito or a daiquiri on the beautiful island that the last thing I was thinking about was to say no a plastic straw. I got a plastic bag all the time when I purchased things like food or souvenirs. I got plastic utensils from constantly eating on the go going to the next adventure. It was a single use plastic hot mess.

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Although I failed on this trip more than I want to remember, I also did some things well. I was not excessive and didn’t over pack my bag. I only brought one carry one and a backpack. Thankful I was, because I was welcomed to Dominican Republic with three flights of stairs in our Airbnb.

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But the thing I got right the most was bringing my stainless steel reusable water bottle I got from one of my good friends as a birthday gift. I filled out my water bottle at the airport, our Airbnb, and where else I could to avoid buying drinks in single use plastic. It was extremely helpful the whole trip and I always stayed hydrated. Unfortunately the bottle did not make it with me as it failed down the drain on the side of the street on my way home. #restinpeace

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Not every trip is going to be #ecofriendlygoals but you will remember to do some things and something is better than nothing. I might have failed in achieving my zerowaste goals but I got to spend a weekend connecting with my linesisters and making memories for a lifetime. And that will always be something.

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Have you struggled to keep up with your zerowaste or sustainable lifestyle? If so how did you overcome it?

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