“In the Dominican Republic, having kinky or coarse hair is perceived as something that’s unclean.”
This is the stereotype that Carolina Contreras, owner of Miss Rizos salon in the Dominican Republic, has fought against her whole life. At a young age, Contreras found herself the victim of prejudice and insults because of her hair. This kind of prejudice isn’t just limited to the Dominican Republic. In the U.S., young women are suspended from schools because of how they wear their natural hair.
Rather than feel the shame society forced on her, Contreras pushed back, questioning why she should feel ashamed of something that’s a part of who she is. Contreras saw past all the insults to the beauty, which she now show each and every customer that enters Miss Rizos. Every time she uses talents on another person’s hair, it’s more than just a simple styling. It’s a form of empowerment, as the Great Big Story shows us.
Khalid Adkins is the ninth American to die in the Dominican Republic this year alone, and the fourth in June. The deaths in the Dominican Republic are causing concern in the U.S. as the reasons for the deaths are still unknown. While Dominican officials say the number of deaths is not abnormal, there is a lot of concern about why people are dying while vacationing on the Caribbean island.
Adkins was vacationing in the Dominican Republic from Denver, Colorado with his daughter, Mia, when he reportedly fell ill.
His daughter, Mia, said it started with a painful bump on his leg.
Mia returned home a few days earlier than her father. Just before her flight, they stopped by their hotel’s medical clinic, but USA Today reports that he decided to delay treatment unless the pain became worse.
He had already boarded the plane to return home, but was removed.
Adkins’s sister-in-law, Marla Strick, told Fox 31 that he vomited on the plane’s bathroom and was dripping in sweat when the airline removed him from the plane.
He was sent to a hospital in Santo Domingo where his kidneys started to fail.
His breathing started to deteriorate and soon after, his kidneys started failing. Strick noted that he had a kidney transplant years earlier but left for Santo Domingo in perfect health.
Nobody notified the family that Adkins died.
Apparently, it was only after his daughter, Mia, frantically called the hospital Wednesday morning when hospital staff relayed the devastating information. He had died.
There is still no official cause of death.
The family is waiting for authorities to perform an autopsy–a legal requirement when a foreigner dies on Dominican Republic soil. Just last week, Dominican tourism minister, Francisco Javier Garcia, held a press conference assuring the world that, “The Dominican Republic is a safe country.”
Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the number of deaths this year is lower than years previous.
So far, nine American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic this year. According to Garcia, in 2011 and 2015, there had already been 15 tourist deaths by this time of year. He didn’t confirm whether this is American or worldwide deaths.
With the string of deaths, Adkins’s family had already started raising money to medivac him back to the U.S. before his flight.
Adkins’s family started a GoFundMe page asking for help to get him out of the country. At first, the description looked like this:
“We are trying anything to get him home! When we try to talk to him he is just screaming in pain and saying help him, please! It is the most devastating thing ever!! They said we can medivac him home but it is $20,000 we are lost!! It’s a terrible nightmare!! Anything helps thank you so much!! Please keep praying!!”
Folks are calling on Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to send his body home.
So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 by 220 people in 2 days. Wednesday evening, the page was updated to include this:
“I am absolutely detested to make this update but we have lost Khalid!!! We found out this morning that he passed away last night!! I am at a loss for words we have no explanation of what happened all they will say is he get sick!! We need to get his body home anything helps, please!! We really want to know what happened!”
People on social media are sharing their own theories on the string of deaths in the Dominican Republic.
The reality is that the circumstances around most of the deaths are concerning. One man immediately collapsed after drinking from the hotel mini bar. Another couple was found dead in their hotel rooms after drinking from the mini bar.
The FBI has opened an internal investigation to give American families some answers.
Many families have opened up about not trusting Dominican authorities because their family members were in good health when they departed for their vacation. We hope the FBI can offer some closure soon.
The deaths are prompting American politicians to call for transparency and answers about the unexpected deaths on the island.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency to open an investigation into the deaths. Since multiple deaths have been linked back to the drinks guests are having at the mini bars in their hotel rooms.
Widespread coverage of the deaths has seen a severe impact on trips booked and canceled for the Dominican Republic.
Total bookings for trips to the island fell by 74 percent in July and August when compared to the same time last year, according to a new study. There was also a 51 percent increase in bookings being canceled following the string of deaths. Other Caribbean islands have seen an increase in tourism at the same time.
The Dominican Republic has been dealing with some really horrible press lately. Hundreds of people are falling ill while visiting the island and 11 tourists from the U.S. have died since last May. A bulk of the deaths occurred in the last couple of months and people are getting concerned. However, some people are trying to make sure the entire country isn’t thrown away because of this news.
The Dominican Republic is facing some really hard press lately and it has people concerned.
There are at least 11 Americans who have died while in the Dominican Republic or shortly after coming home from their vacations. Hundreds more have reported falling extremely ill while on vacation. The most notable examples of people falling ill are at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana. According to reports, the culprit is the liquor in the minibars in the guest rooms.
The stories have people on edge about possible trips and outings to and in the Dominican Republic.
While everyone is showing legitimate concern or cracking jokes, Dominicans are getting pretty upset about the collective call to cancel the DR. Not only are they bothered that their home country is being treated with such disrespect.
Jokes aside, here are some reasons people want you to stop trying to cancel the Dominican Republic.
Sasha Merci is not here for you and your willingness to just write the whole country off. Her biggest concern about the movement to cancel trips to the DR is the lack of people looking to find solutions for what is happening in the country.
And she’s not alone.
For so many people, the deaths in the Dominican Republic, while horrible, should not keep people scared from traveling to the Caribbean island. According to officials on the island, the deaths in the DR are not abnormal when compared to years before, however, the reaction to the deaths is at a peak.
There are also DR defenders who claim those canceling the island have never even been.
There are plenty of people telling people to cancel their trips to the island. However, there are other people pushing for people to educate themselves so they can still go to the Dominican Republic, have a good time, and stay healthy.
Those who are already planning a trip to the Caribbean island are staying firm and telling everyone else to calm down.
It does seem like a severe reaction to a level of deaths that Dominican officials claim to be normal for this point in the year. People are joking that they just won’t touch the mini bar to guarantee their safety. However, the consumption of alcohol is one of the main factors linking the deaths together.
A couple of social media users are hoping the fear of traveling to the Dominican Republic will lower the cost of plane tickets.
Low key, who wouldn’t be down for a trip to the DR if the tickets are just $108? It seems like too good of a trip to miss out on. Cheap, international, and a quick trip since it is pretty close to the U.S. According to reports. 6.5 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic in 2016 and 2.2 million of them are from the United States.
Despite the number of people calling for understanding, some people are just ready to write-off the whole nation.
People were quick to defend the island in the face of this comment. A lot of commenters pointed to all of the things happening in the U.S. and asked why there hasn’t been a call to cancel the U.S.
If you are canceling your trip to the Dominican Republic, there are people willing and ready to take your tickets.
The deaths in the Dominican Republic are tragic. No one should be losing their lives while on vacation in a resort. However, while calling for a boycott of a country might feel good and necessary, it does not to address the problem. Fortunately, authorities are starting to investigate the deaths to try and prevent them moving forward.