Submitted by Jessica Canham, Co-Director of Caapi Cottage Retreats
Kendrick Singleton had never set foot on an airplane prior to a recent University-sponsored trip. But that all changed in May 2023. Singleton was part of a group of American students and faculty members from Clemson University in South Carolina, who traveled to the “Nature island of the Caribbean” and were hosted at Caapi Cottage Retreats, for a trip rooted in both service and adventure.
‘Being from a small town in the low country of South Carolina, there’s a lot I haven’t experienced,’ stated Kendrick Singleton, a junior Psychology major from Estill, South Carolina. Singleton is a member of the Emerging Scholars program, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary at Clemson. He also works with the Office of College Preparation and Outreach, where he learned of the opportunity. In addition to his first flight, he experienced other firsts during the visit to Dominica, including the sight of three volcanoes in the area near the village of Cochrane. Caapi Retreats, a secluded property above the village, was his home for the 10-day excursion.
It’s a great cultural experience for students and introduces them to a different way of life. We encourage them to disconnect and live in the moment. Where we stay, you feel like you’re in the rain forest or jungle. You’re perched on the edge of a cliff looking out over a Caribbean valley and sea. We ate entirely local cuisine, which included farm to table fruits and vegetables, baked cod fish for breakfast and mangos you can pick right off the tree.Rob Taylor, Goup leader
Rob Taylor, the group leader, has been bringing student groups to Caapi Cottages, a DDA certified property, for over seven years. Caapi has been an amazing opportunity for affordable glamping (“high end” camping), cottages and community learning. Caapi Retreats have facilitated community engagement projects for students and other groups in the farming village of Cochrane for many years. The 3-acre retreat is nestle on the edge of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World heritage site. Groups can hike to Middleham Falls in a couple of hours, or swim in rivers and a waterfall that are right on the property. The facilities, wonderful local meals and way of life have inspired students in very positive ways. The conversations revolve around culture, consciousness, social justice, climate change and diversity in an uncertain world. Now that’s some deep learning!
The group took part in service days in Cochrane and Soufriere. Some helped local farmers pick Irish potatoes and plant pineapples in Cochrane. Several helped paint the local community center. Others filled in potholes in the road. And when the time called for it, the group made time for island adventures, such as hiking, kayaking and snorkelling at Soufriere and Scott’s Head.
We often say the phrase, ‘It takes a village,’ and we really got to see that for its true meaning in Dominica. I hope to use those takeaways for community building and caring for one another and apply it to life here in Clemson.Abby Bonker, a Clemson University student
Caapi Cottage Retreats hosts retreats, workshops, and gatherings on this cool mountain property overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Immersion in nature on the edge of the Rain Forest. The cottage is fully self-contained with a queen bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom, and a sleeping loft, with a large covered stone porch to accommodate up to four adults. For more information, contact Jessica Canham at Tel/ Whatsapp: (767) 275-2343 or [email protected]. You can also connect to the retreat’s Facebook at www.facebook.com/caapicottageretreats/.