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Doña Lydia

Doña Lydia was excited to receive us and to teach us about the plants in the coastal forest. “I grew up here, but when they formalized the park, they moved my family and all of us to the residential project up the road.” As we walked through the coastal forest, Lydia explained that the “real curandero” no longer lived there. He had also been removed. She is a member of the Red de Mujeres Campesinas – the Dominican national network of peasant women, and in her role, was able to negotiate a position as a guide with the national parks. Lydia spent hours explaining to us the numerous ways in which tourism had affected her livelihood and the livelihood of the women in her community, how it had affected traditional agricultural practices, and how plants that before were abundant, could now very rarely be found. The main issues in Lydia’s community are the continuing ruptures to agricultural sustainability produced by the tourism sector.

Doña Lydia in front of a jobotree that survived Hurricane George in 1998. She is a leader of the peasant women’s movement.


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Coastal Forest

The coastal forest where Lydia grew up is now part of a national park. Its floor is primarily limestone bedrock, and there is a very thin layer of red top soil and sand. In between cactus, “judío” and “buena madre” are cenotes that provide water for the entire village and all of the resorts in the neighboring area.