Fathom Impact Travel’s mission is: “Unleash ‘Eudaemonia’ (Greek for ‘human flourishing’) through empathy-driven social impact and ‘alongsideness’.” In addition, their mission is to “transform the lives of travelers, families, and communities for generations to come in meaningful and sustainable ways.”
Some of my research on Fathom Impact Travel activities in the Dominican Republic prior to our cruise uncovered speculation and doubt as to whether the impact was significant. Was Fathom accomplishing its mission?
Check out the numbers our cohort leader, Colin, shared with our group during the wrap-up session aboard Adonia:
At Chocal, the goal was to contribute toward greater productivity by sorting beans and nibs, enabling the women to focus their time and resources on the more intricate chocolate-making process. Bruce and I feel the three groups we worked with put a significant dent in the bags of dried cacao beans we sorted! During our week at Chocal, 265 travelers cleaned 179 pounds of nibs, which equates to 5,295 finished chocolate bars! We also packaged 5,128 chocolate products and prepared them for sale.
This was accomplished during the 18th voyage of Adonia. The total impact of all eighteen voyages to date amounted to 4,518 lbs. of nibs cleaned, which produced 133,288 finished chocolate bars. In all, 81,042 products were packaged and prepared for sale. That’s a lot of chocolate!
Over at the nursery, Fathom didn’t start sending volunteers until the 7th voyage. Since then, 19,202 cacao seeds were planted by Fathom volunteers.
Meanwhile, while we were productive at Chocal, other volunteers were participating in other projects. Here are those numbers:
RePapel (where we volunteered on our last day in the DR)- 221 people produced 1, 185 sheets of paper during our cruise. To date, 14,719 sheets of paper have been produced for stationary and notecards.
Reforestation- 170 people planted 1,978 seedlings in the nurseries, and 1,150 seedlings were planted from the nurseries into Dominican soil.
Concrete Floors- 140 people made concrete floors for seven homes where 23 people live. To date, the total is 60 homes (for 246 people). In addition, a concrete multi-use outside court was made at a school of 168 students.
Water filters- 53 people made 67 clay filters for 335 people. To date, 1,041 filters were made benefitting 5,205 people.
These numbers don’t include the amount of hours volunteers spent teaching English to Dominican adults and children.
Do these numbers seem insignificant to you? They sure don’t to us, nor did they to the others in our cohort group.
During our wrap-up session, we were encouraged to take this experience home with us to our own communities, and continue the mission of making the world a better place for all of us.
Personally, Bruce and I aren’t sure whether we made a greater impact on the women of Chocal and RePapel or whether we were more impacted by the experience. What we do know is that we want to go back! As soon as we returned home and walked in the door, we made some phone calls and got booked on another Fathom Impact Travel Cruise. Although it didn’t work out to return for a full week in the DR, we did get booked on a voyage that will include both the DR and Cuba. We will volunteer at Chocal twice and teach community English once while in the DR; and, the ship will call on Santiago de Cuba for a people-to-people experience.
I’m sure I will have plenty to write about after our next adventure, so stay tuned!