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  1. #1
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    Default Moving to the Baharona Area

    Hi,

    My family and I (husband,me, son-15yrs, daughter- 3yrs, son-1 year, and possibly my 17-year-old daughter) will move to the Baharona area from the U.S. in September of '09. We bought several acres on top of a hill. The land is fairly wild and has many fruit trees but no house or amenities. We may build there, but for now we would like to find place to rent.

    Does anyone know what the rental situation in the Baharona area is? Approximately how much for how large. Is it hard to find a place that is very close to the ocean? Is all the water in that area rough?

    Are there any other Americans or English speaking people living in that area?

    I'd appreciate any advice.

    We are excited and a bit nervous about the adventure. We realize that it will not be paradise and that we will stick out and be easy targets for some. But we have also met some really wonderful, loving people there. We see this as an opportunity to grow and learn as a family and as individuals.

  2. #2
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    I can't for the love of God understand the WHY of your move, but the first thing you had better do is learn the name of of the place: Bara hona (the H is silent!).

    I hope you have a lot of money. And patience. And, oh by the way, what of your children's educations>/?? There are NO schools worth speaking of in the area that can remotely prepare them of a US college...As for cultural life, you have picked a desert.

    Good people, yes. Very intelligent people, yes again, some of the brightest, but the ones I know got out of there as fast as they could....

    Sorry, but I can't see this working...I am sitting here arguing with my 42 year old son abut this move. I jst cannot fathom why you would remove your children from the US and submit them to the utter cultural wasteland of Barahona, when you do not speak the language (How is your Haitian Creole??), know nothing of the place and have no place to live??? It seems totally absurd to me, and I live here, know Barahona, have many friends in the area, and still do not go there unless I have to...

    HB

    As for rentals, you'll have to go there and see about that, I doubt that you can do it over the internet, nor would I advise you to do so...no matter what they say...

  3. #3
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    the only way to know how much rent is going for is to actually visit and look,

    pain and suffering is what your children will be exposed; think about the capitol, santiago, puerto plata is your looking for beaches

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    Hi,

    My family and I (husband,me, son-15yrs, daughter- 3yrs, son-1 year, and possibly my 17-year-old daughter) will move to the Baharona area .....
    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbilly View Post
    I can't for the love of God understand the WHY of your move...
    what of your children's educations>/?? There are NO schools worth speaking of in the area that can remotely prepare them of a US college...As for cultural life, you have picked a desert.
    Read and re-read Hillbilly's advice! Better yet, copy it a hundred times by hand... once every day.
    Hillbilly is NO hillbilly at all, don't let yourself be fooled by his pseudonym... his suggestions should get you thinking, at least for the sake of your children.
    I know you did not ask but...
    Their (your children's') possibilities and thus chances in life in the DR are very limited, if they were to grow up and study in Santo Domingo or Santiago... but around Barahona they may be limited to what your couple of acres on that hill may bear... as long you get to keep it, that is. Yes, it is your children, but then, it is their future that is at stake.
    I can understand that people who can afford to, would break out of the rat race of developed countries. But keep in mind, we are full of people here who would give their everything to get a shot a getting the kind of education you children could get in your country.


    There are few expats in the South West. Few I have heard of, have been successful at staying there over a long period. On the other side, it makes that region so attractive as it is still pretty natural and so very, very Dominican. Yet, let's not overlook the fact that the drug biz, corruption and crime has found it's way into that region too... maybe because it's so "disconnected" from the rest of the country.
    Some expats have "lost" their land to powerful army people who wanted their land of finca and after long fight given up.
    The campo is also not all that peaceful and safe as it may seem. A lot of "justice" is carried out by the use of machetes. Even locals from the capital, attracted by cheap finca prices and the outlook of even cheaper labor have stories to report nobody would care to read about before bed time.
    While a lot of folks will prove incredibly nice, friendly and willing to help, some people may surprise you thinking that because you are Gringos, you have money (lots of it! Actually you DO... you can afford to buy you land, build your ranch and set yourself up), and that thus you don't really need the livestock you are raising on your acreages... and just steal it and maybe even keep in on their field next to you. What'ya gonna do? Who you gonna call, huh?
    In other words, if you manage, my hat off to you, you would be very tough folks.

    My cousin here has a woman from the South (Bani). I just showed her this thread and translated it to her and asked what she thought about what your chances are. She laughed, shook her head in disbelief and went off saying: "... 'tan pasao eto gringo!" Would you like for me to translate this for you?

    ... J-D.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    My family and I (husband,me, son-15yrs, daughter- 3yrs, son-1 year, and possibly my 17-year-old daughter) will move to the Baharona area from the U.S. in September of '09. We bought several acres on top of a hill.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    I have only visited the DR and Baharona once.
    You bought land & decided to upsticks and move on the basis of one visit? For an adult couple on their own that might be deemed foolhardy. To bring children into the equation is, in my view, irresponsible; apologies if I offend but I don't know another way of putting it. But, your time for asking for advice would have been before you made the decision. All we can do now is to wish you well, which I do unreservedly. And advise you that you cannot get a weapons licence until you have residencia.

    If you have the opportunity to rethink this decision, please take it.

  6. #6
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    Do either of you have a Dominican connection?

  7. #7
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    Wow! I didn't expect to get such a negative response from so many, but I appreciate it just the same. All of your concerns are valid and some of them especially so.

    Let me first explain why some of the issues do not concern me that much.

    Yes, we do have a few Dominican connections. My husband has traveled to the DR once each year for at least 15 years. He sponsored a food program for impoverished children in Baharona. I am the one who has only been there once. We have only been married a few years.

    We both speak Spanish, not as fluently as we'd like, but we get along. I do know how to pronounce the name of the town. No, I do not know French or Hatian Creole, but we can learn.

    Education for the children-- I plan to homeschool my 15-year-old and also have him attend the local school (to be immersed in the language). He is a freshman now. The quality of education here (West Texas--desert) is mediocre at best by national standards. I believe I can do a better job. I am an English instructor at our local university, and my husband has two Master's degrees. My eldest daughter graduates from highschool this May and has already taken the SAT. She will be going to college in the U.S. soon. The other two are babies and can be taught at home as well.

    I am concerned about healthcare and saftey. Perhaps, we are being foolish. We are going to give it a try. We may not be able to handle it, and I do not want to put my children in a dangerous position. We felt that living in another country that speaks another language would give them a greater world-view and make them bilingual, something that most Americans are not.

    Gun license is a good idea. Machetes are scary. (That is understatement, of course.)

    Culturally remote--we have some experience with that. We live in a small town in the West Texas desert with a population of 6000. The closest Wal-Mart is an hour away. The closest Starbucks is 2.5 hours away as is the closest large grocery store. But, that is still nothing compared to what we will experience in the DR.

    My husband and I did spend about 3 days in the campesino about 10 to 15 min from B. We were in a small shack that we shared with a local. We felt pretty safe. We were thinking of bringing a good tent and camping out on our land while we search for a suitable rental. Would that be extremely dangerous? Perhaps, I should again urge my husband to fly out to the DR this summer to look for rentals. He wanted to save the money for the move.

    What is the best way to search for rentals in Baharona? From the real estate section forum, I saw that it can be quite capricious.

    Again, thanks for your comments.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    Education for the children-- I plan to homeschool my 15-year-old and also have him attend the local school (to be immersed in the language). He is a freshman now. The quality of education here (West Texas--desert) is mediocre at best by national standards. I believe I can do a better job. I am an English instructor at our local university, and my husband has two Master's degrees. My eldest daughter graduates from highschool this May and has already taken the SAT. She will be going to college in the U.S. soon. The other two are babies and can be taught at home as well.
    I wouldn't bother sending your 15 yr old to public school here in the DR as what he already knows will be more than what the teachers have been exposed to. Home schooling is the only option for you in the Barahona area. If you want to have your kids learn Spanish the correct way hire a tutor and they will certainly have time to practice speaking as you all will be immersed in a Spanish speaking environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    I am concerned about healthcare and saftey. Perhaps, we are being foolish. We are going to give it a try. We may not be able to handle it, and I do not want to put my children in a dangerous position. We felt that living in another country that speaks another language would give them a greater world-view and make them bilingual, something that most Americans are not.
    Foolish could be a good word for what you are doing as healthcare in the boonies is marginal at best. Be prepared to accept that the outcome of any emergency medical situation will be death as the closest facilities may not be sufficiently good. People die here all of the time here in the public hospitals in the boonies for lack of equipment and sufficiently experienced doctors.

    As far as safety goes, it is a fact that foreigners who live in isolated areas are much more likley to be robbed or attacked as they are seen as outsiders and are ALL are believed to be rich. If you want people to think other wise, build a typical Dominican wood slatted home with coorugated metal roof and don't own a car. Also, don't have more than one tv and use motorcycles for transportation.

    My advice to you is if you really value your families health and education first is to look for a place in SD or Santiago that has access the aforementioned and also live in an established community. There are plenty of communities that are onm the outside of towns that are in sufficiently rural areas and if you want to farm you could buy a plot close by and have a Dominican watch it for you for RD6k a month.

    best of luck

    chip - santiago

  9. #9
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    I think the question about the Dominican connection was probably hoping to elicit a response that you had family here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nattalie View Post
    Let me first explain why some of the issues do not concern me that much.
    I can now understand why you might have such a positive outlook. The people your husband would have met on the food programme would doubtless have all been very pleasant and probably grateful for his efforts. It's the others we're trying to warn you about! If your husband partnered with any Dominican organisations in this effort, has he got contacts which might have some influence? People who could 'almost' be viewed as family? I'm assuming not because they would be helping you on the rentals, rather than you having to ask here.

    Camping out in a tent on your land would NOT be advisable in my view unless you have some sort of armed protection, like a guard. Which kinda negates the joys of camping a bit..... It wouldn't be advisable for a couple of adults, let alone children.

    I'm assuming you've checked the title to your land & all that sort of stuff is ok? Just that if anyone else had an eye on it, that would make it even less safe.

    As you've got Spanish, have you been reading the Barahona papers for local news? Link here if you're not familiar with it:
    Peligra vida de estudiantes de escuela del Arroyo, a Barahona, debido a cables de alta tensión que pasan por encima del plantel : Cuatriboliao.Net

    Read the national papers too: Al Momento has a section on Barahona news, article about drug consumption here
    Gobernador Barahona dice preocupa auge de trafico y consumo drogas
    Almomento.net :: Periodico Digital Dominicano

    You're obviously not going to rethink your decision so all we can do is wish you well & hope these links help a bit.

  10. #10
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    @natallie
    Sorry, I am a german guy and my english is not perfect.
    You give me good reminders 9 years ago! I was the one who fight against a lot of warnings. You go to the DR? You are stupid, nuts, crazy...
    Still I am here, 2 times robbed. With a hell of good luck sometimes. And real help from real friends.
    So I know about things what can happen!
    Whom have sold you the land? Title? Deslinde? What was the price /m˛?
    Here you get Finca land from 50 UScent up to 3 USD. Depending where, how much and so on. Just check if you not get robbed already here!
    You are allowed to construct there? Do no think: oh, Dominicans set up a house wherever they like! You are not dominican! You are white meat! Fresh! This cow everybody like to milk.
    Friends? Like they said: as long as you help, you are the nice one. What happen, when you are blank? Nothing to give, but maybe to ask for?
    And forget people who say: Uh I know, I am the one...just talkers.
    I know a very big investor. He has real friends, even polititans and officers. Also 2 Generals gave him the business-card, if he need help.
    You get screwed, you like to ask them for help? Wellcome in the DR! A lot of excuses pop up! In this case-you know-you must understand.

    I will answer you to your questions.
    Security: Barahona is far from civilisation. And a gun licence. Forget it for the next 2 years. First you need your residencia permanente!! And now they do not give licences as easy as before. Health insurance.
    I will not tell you: Take this or that one. Find out yourself. Here is the ways:
    go to the best clinics in the country (Hospiten for example). Ask the administration which insurance they accept and what they prefer! Than you knw where to go. And again: Hospiten only accept 3 local companies, but only the highest one. In my case: Adult, male, 48 years old = 2300 RDS per month. Now just calculate what it will cost for your family!
    And yes, we have clinics here. I will not name one, but my dominican wife said after one visit there: ever again, not even for my dog! Be prepared.
    Land uphill? Where? You need a good 4wheeler than. Costly. If you think to survive the first month in a tent to save money - better stay home.
    This is a beautiful area. I fall in love every day. But: the nature is quiet dangerous too. Moscitos will not kill you and spiders and snakes are nice and disapear fast. Cienpies? Just let them bite you. Water? electricity?
    This area here is, where no law exists!
    Example: A guy hit my car with the motorcycle. I called the Amet. Amet like to controll documents and the guy like to drive away. I catched him a few blocks later again and stopped him rough. New Amet comes. We go to transito. They said: Oh, Saturday, we do not work! Sorry. This guy use no helmet, he does not follow the police advise, he create an accident. He had no papers, no insurance. On monday I go again to transito. The guy was not there and everbody was surprised that I show up again. (Does this ****...Gringo not understand?) Thuesday. THe police looked for that guy. We went to the fiscal. And the question was: What is my damage? I said: Just scratches on the bumper, but he have kicked the law i many cases in the ass and I like to get him the multas for that. Answer: No damage, no problem.
    The guy could go. Later I find out: he is working for the sindico, a good friend of a politian. And I thought I get my right. NO. Here you get told every day: You must understand! Here we are in Barahona.

    Rental situation. Ask your "friends" to find you an apartment. Or house.
    I asked 2 times a guy (called himself Real estate agent). He neverfulfilled the promises. No responsability. Contract not valid. More stories about that one?
    You must find out yourself and via dominicans. If you go, be prepared to pay double rent! And: here in this region they like to charge you the rent for 6 month upfront. + 2 month deposit. Means: You pay a lot of money upfront. If you find ou that you have infiltrations, the Inversor does not work or any other problems: you know, here you are in Barahona!

    Welcome. Just be prepared! The distance to the Pricesmart/Carrefour/Nacional in SD is also just 2,5 hours away. Just around the corner. And if you are used to qualitiy and international products: Don't think you get it here! Good meat? Go to SD!
    To have yourself here, to live the dream, you have to accept a lot and pay for it. I wish you that your dream comes true and do not end in a nightmare.

    Ah, beaches: Quemaito is quiet calm and Bahoruco some places. San Rafael will get a wavebraker and sand (promised for 2007!). You see, we are in Barahona. A lot of words - but the reality is like a shower with icecold water!

    Send me a PN and I will name the funny real estate guy, nothing for all.

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