Cami says the best things about growing up in Cabarete were being safe and feeling that the people around her were a small family, having a supportive environment, the sun, the beach and the Dominican people.
Giselle said the best things for her were having the beach as her patio, learning to windsurf, and catching crabs on the beach at night and bringing them home to scare the adults!
In fact, as we began to interview the local and international citizens that have grown up or are growing up in Cabarete, it was evident that this is a place where children feel a sense of community and family at almost every age.
Patricia said, “As a mother who raised a world-class kite surfer and varsity ranked tennis player, I can proudly say sports and nature are a core part of life for children in Cabarete.”
It was our local prodigy “Tony Boy Garcia” who helped put Cabarete on the map as the adventure capital of the Caribbean when he was the youngest person to ever win the Aloha Classic, one of the most important windsurfing freestyle events in the world.
Many young people of Cabarete have developed into world-class athletes and socially conscious world citizens. Susi Mai, who is now a household name in the kiteing industry, is giving back.
This sense of family has inspired and encouraged local windsurf and kite school owners to teach 100 Dominican boys to windsurf, surf and kite.
And with a nudge from the Mariposas, the girls are now learning too! I do not believe any town in the world has raised so many world-class athletes, many of whom came from humble or poor beginnings.
17-year-old Brian Coutu, a world-class surfer, would rather wake up at 6am to be the first guy on the water than stay up late, and he is not alone out there.
Elena Scates says she loves growing up here for the friendships she has made. Language and friendships are a common thread. Where else does a little French girl become best friends with a little German girl.
Susi Mai and Cami ruled the beach when they were kids since there were only a handful of expat children growing up in the 90s in Cabarete. Now there are hundreds of multicultural and national children and numerous schools and home school groups.
Cami says, “Going to school in guaguas alone at the age of 8” was part of what she loved about growing up in Cabarete.
Paola, whose mother is Dominican and father is German, is now living in Europe but she plans to come home soon to work with the Mariposa girls. She says the sense of humbleness and hospitality that people tend to have or develop, along with having the ocean for a playground, is what she loves most about her homeland.