Country Life in the Dominican Republic – “El Campo”

In the Dominican Republic, a lot of the population lives away from towns, in what is commonly referred to as “el campo” or the country. Here most people live in typical houses made mostly of palm wood, or more commonly now, half concrete half wood.

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This house in the background is pretty typical.

In these parts, traditionally, life has been off-grid, where people live mostly off the land.

Of course, that’s been changing. Electricity is reaching further and further, bringing with it the television. Still, depending on how far form a town center you travel, you’ll find differing levels of autonomy, from completely isolated to completely dependent.

Here people mostly grow “viveres” which refers to root vegetables such as yucca or ayutica, as  well as other tropical vegetables and fruits, such as passion fruit, papaya, pineapple, squash, eggplants, zucchini, chayotte, etc…

Of course, meat also makes up a large portion of the nutrition, and so the care taking of farm animals takes up a large portion of the day.

pigs, breast feed, feeding, lunch, farm, farm animals, farmville, cute, pig, pig pen, pork, http://wetravelandblog.com
Piglets get their lunch so they can get big and strong.

Save for Chicharrónes, Pork is usually reserved for special occasions like Christmas, or weddings, where it is usually spit-roasted.

cows, golden, grass, sky, silhouettes, farm, dominican republic, simple life, http://wetravelandblog.com

Of course, cows are also raised both for meat and for milk.

rooster, dominican republic, campo, country side, simple life, http://wetraveladnblog.com
This rooster stands proud.

Chicken is a more common meal, as chickens grow to maturity faster.

The picture above is a rooster though. This guy probably won’t get eaten for a while, his job is to fertilize the eggs. He might, however, end up fighting another chicken in a ring on a lazy sunday though.

chick, chicken, feathers, beautiful, caring, mother, hen, dominican republic, http://wetravelandblog.com

A more likely meal is a full-grown hen.

Chickens are, of course, also kept for their eggs, which, when free range and insect-fed, are delicious with an almost orange yolk.

Duck, white, grass, farm, farming, farm animal, farmville, raising farm animals, http://wetravelandblog.com

 

Duck is also occasionally on the menu, as are guinea fowls, geese, and turkey. Here’s a fun and short video of our buddy Brandon having a conversation with a turkey.

Not all animals are raised for eating, but they all do serve their purpose. Dogs are mostly kept for security.

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As a general rule, Dominicans are very scared of dogs, that is all dogs but their own.

Dogs are considered pets and companions, but not quite in the same way a North American would cherish theirs as a family member.

Cats are kept for rodent control.

cat, kitten, cute kitty, cat in the shade, local life, dominican republic, pet, http://wetravelandblog.com

Occasionally, bees are kept for honey.

HONEY, APICULTURE, bees, bee hive, dominican republic, http://wetravelandblog.com

Keeping bees however is more technical, so bees definitely won’t be found in every household.

And then there is transportation.

Horses are kept for transport, as well as for herding cows, except when the horse can’t be caught, at which point the reliable motorcycle is brought it.

herding, motor, motorcycle, cowboy, modern cowboy, dominican republic, http://wetravelandblog.com
Herding cows the modern way

Most commonly though, donkeys are used for getting from point A to point B, but also for transporting heavy stuff.

donkey, dominican republic, beach side, ocean, beach, transport, http://wtravelandblog.com

What’s great about donkeys is that it’s easy for children to ride them (not that they don’t ride motorcycles too but….) and they’re cheap on gas.

donkey, transport, local life, dominican life, kids in school uniform, school, third world education, http://wetravelandblog.com

So it’s a good replacement for the school bus.
As a side note, donkeys might be the cutest baby animals alive.

donkey, baby donkey, baby animal, adorable, cute, adorable, http://wetravelandblog.com
Like how cute is this guy, srsly!

The only animals that are really kept as pets are parrots.

parrot, tropical, green, dominican republic, cuca, green parrot, pet, http://wetravelandblog.com

Unfortunately for this gorgeous creatures, if someone decides they want a pet, they usually find a place parrots hang out during their migration through the DR and put a glue on the branches which keeps the birds from flying away.

They then snatch them and clip their wings.

They sure do have pretty feathers.

Then again, so do chickens.

chicken feathers, texture, grounding, orange, brown, 70's shag, beautiful, close up, http://wetravelandblog.com

Lucky for hummingbirds, they fly too fast and almost never land.

humming bird, taking a rest, bird on a wire, shiny, green, blue, http://wetravelandblog.com
We caught this little guy just chillin’ out

In the “Campo” life is pretty slow-paced. Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done everyday, but it’s all part of the cycle of life, generation to generation.

rocking chair, father and son, sunshine, country life, local life, dominican republic, http://wetravelandblog.com
two generations

6 comments

  1. Jade! I loved this post, why? I love animals, especially farm animals…pig butts…really! You had me at pig butts! Okay, so I love the photos and the info on how people use, eat them. I never knew about the parrots and the glue…ugh! That’s sad.
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