Work Camps in El Limón, Dominican Republic  


Come help build a new model for developing-world rural living!



Work Camps are generally held during the summer, and over winter and spring breaks. Some are for the general public, others are organized for specific groups.. Contact us for more information.

The work camp is a project of the Center for a Rural Alternative in El Limón de Ocoa (CAREL). CAREL is at the forefront of the Dominican movement to integrate appropriate technologies with traditional village living, with a commitment to empowerment, democratic process, and environmental sensitivity. We're completing our first classroom building, a ferrocement structure with lots of opportunity for technical and artistic innovation. We're also starting an ecovillage for staff and volunteers. Come work (and play !) with an exciting mix of rural people and progressive development activists, from the Dominican Republic and around the world.


The Center for a Rural Alternative/Centro Alternativo Rural El Limón (CAREL) started in 1997 as a collaboration between the Cornell University-based EcoPartners Project and an impoverished, end-of the-road farming village in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Over the years, El Limón has become a beacon of light, literally, for hundreds of other villages struggling to break out of endemic poverty and isolation. Site of the first community hydroelectric system on the island, and of the first community rural internet access, CAREL has helped dozens of other villages create a brighter, more hopeful future. CAREL was incorporated as a Dominican non-profit in 2004.

But now the demand for technical assistance has outpaced the individual, one-on-one on-site assistance we’ve been offering. So we’re creating a center for a true rural alternative. We envision much more than a technical training school that prepares rural residents to build hydroelectric systems and bring wireless internet to their villages, though that’s a core part of the agenda. We are committed to creating an innovative model for rural living that integrates modern, truly appropriate technology with traditional village life. The synthesis process needs diverse participants, who can bring together the many pieces of the puzzle... industrial technology, the university, the global village concept, permaculture, ecovillages, local culture. And it needs to happen in an environment run by and for rural people. There are only two rules: the results have to be consistent with environmental and human values, and they have to be replicable.

Work campers will work hard, spend lots of time grappling with the issues of underdevelopment, learn to dance merengue, and integrate into local cultural activities. All this with an exciting mix of internationals, Dominican professionals, and the people of El Limón. El Limón is a warm, friendly, and safe village of 70 families in the dry southwest mountains of the Dominican Republic. Limón is located at 2000 ft elevation, at the end of a three mile dirt road, a 30 minute drive from the provincial capital, Ocoa, and two hours from Santo Domingo. It’s a picturesque place, with donkeys and chickens in the street. Most residents live from farming, producing tomatoes, eggplant, and onions.


We ask participants to contribute on a sliding scale to cover food, local transportation, and incidental expenses.



Jon Katz is a technologist and community activist who has been working, and mostly living, in El Limón since 1997. His work in community-based sustainable technology is widely recognized in the Dominican Republic, and he is resident consultant at CAREL.

Marcie Boyd is a musician, writer and educator living in El Limón, Dominican Republic. She is artist-in-residence and lead cultural worker at CAREL.

Nolys Presinal, a lifelong El Limón resident, is a technology educator, youth leader and student activist, and manages much of CAREL's daily activity.


Contact: Jon Katz
Marcie Boyd


Previous Work Projects in El Limón