The Caribbean

 

The Caribbean is the ultimate tropical island paradise, with its beautiful white sand beaches, majestic palm trees, inviting crystal clear waters, gentle ocean breezes and endless sunsets. Travelers from around the world flock to this popular cruise and vacation destination to partake of its idyllic beaches, water sports, eco-tourism, and unique island lifestyle. 41 major islands and literally thousands of smaller ones all beckon with diverse landscapes consisting of mountains, tropical rain forests, rocky shorelines, nearly barren flatlands, active volcanos, and lush plantations where sugar cane, bananas and coffee are grown.

Within this backdrop of natural beauty is a land very rich in culture due to the wonderfully diverse mix of its peoples. Descendants of the original Amerindian tribes, the early European settlers, the African slaves, and arrivals from the nearby Latin countries, live and work together alongside modern day transplants. This fusion reveals itself in Reggae music, flavorful island cuisine, colorful creative arts, and historical reminders of the past. The area is very rich in history, as European explorers arrived to claim islands as their own and then battled each other for control over the centuries. To this day, each island retains its own special character, charm, and personality based on its particular European country heritage.

Today, the Caribbean remains a collection of mostly impoverished and underdeveloped countries and possessions, with the predominant people group being of African descent. Pockets of modernization do abound, and the islands have an interesting mix of modern world business persons, retirees, and tourists of American and European descent.

Purpose Bound has been very selective in choosing the Caribbean overall and the particular islands that are a part of its experiences. If you have a heart for mission work in places like Africa, Haiti or other underdeveloped locales, the similarities of the Caribbean islands visited by Purpose Bound make for the ideal training grounds. From a Christian perspective, portions of the Caribbean are very lost with many needs. Between the dominant impoverished native culture and the primarily pleasure-seeking travelers and transplants from the modern world, there are plenty of opportunities to be a "light".

The Caribbean is also a land sometimes ravaged by fierce weather, earthquakes, other natural disasters and disease, creating many physical needs. Most are familiar with the humanitarian issues on the larger islands like Haiti, Dominican Republic and Jamaica due to the extensive news coverage when problems or disasters strike. Relief and aid flood those areas as good folks see the media coverage of these causes of the moment. Yet in the shadows of this outpouring, the smaller islands often seem overlooked and many needs remain. It is those that Purpose Bound will mostly address. 

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