July 26, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Dale Stowell, (253) 964-6780 or email@example.com
Tacoma Reads Together program leads to
coffee connection with ‘Garcia Girls’ author
There’s still time to sign up for a multidisciplinary study trip to the Dominican Republic August 22-28 to visit Finca Alta Gracia, an organic coffee plantation owned by popular author Julia Alvarez and her husband.
Through connections inspired by Alvarez’s book “How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents,” which was the 2004 Tacoma Reads Together book selection, foreign language instructor Terry Mirande has arranged for a group to stay at the plantation to explore the theme of coffee from various perspectives.
Finca Alta Gracia is a 60-acre farm in the Dominican Republic situated at about 3,300 feet elevation on the slopes of Pico Duarte, the highest mountain (3087 meters or about 10,187 feet) in the Caribbean. The plantation has conference and retreat facilities and welcomes visitors. Alvarez and her husband Bill Eichner have used profits from coffee sales to establish Foundation Alta Gracia, which supports a literacy program on the farm offering classes for both children and adults. Illiteracy reaches 90 percent in some areas of Santo Domingo, according to Alvarez.
During and after their stay participants can explore the theme of coffee as it relates to cultural traditions, agricultural practices, anthropology, economics, social structure, politics, environmental science, history, labor studies and international trade. The visit can be used as a Spanish-language immersion program, and teachers can use the experience for continuing-education hours.
For those interested in making the trip, cost for food and lodging is $38 a day, or participants can work in various areas of the plantation, including the garden, kitchen, literacy center or coffee fields, to cover the cost. Official dates for the seminar are noon August 22 to after lunch on the 28th, with an optional guided 3-day hike with pack mules to climb Pico Duarte. Required deposits include $140 for the seminar and an additional $100 for the hike, which includes mules, guides and park fees. Other expenses would include round-trip airfare to Santiago, Dominican Republic, additional food and lodging, ground transportation, and personal and incidental expenses.
For more information about Un Cafecito, Por Favor, contact Terry Mirande at
(253) 964-6476 or visit www.pierce.ctc.edu/cafecito/. To learn more about Finca Alta Gracia go to http://www.cafealtagracia.com/.