Dominican Republic Cook
Eminently kind, caring and hardworking, Marina Florentino has been one of the jewels of the VISIONS Dominican Republic program since she joined us in 2021… and she’s also a darn good cook!
Marina was born and raised in the small community of Las Cruces, on the outskirts of Cotui (the homebase of our program, a colonial town dating to the early 1500s). She was the third of eight siblings, who all grew up together in a simple two-bedroom home. From an early age, Marina was baptized in hard work and dedication to others, as she pitched in to help her large, tight-knit family with cooking and work around the house.
As is customary among many rural Dominican women, Marina worked in housekeeping in Santo Domingo and Cotui from the young age of 17. When the tourist restaurant Rancho del Lago opened at the famous Lago de Hatillo reservoir near Cotui, she took the opportunity to work closer to home and became a cook there.
She was employed at Rancho del Lago for 20 years, until the restaurant shut down. Today, she has a seasonal job cleaning offices at the local hydroelectric plant, in addition to her work with VISIONS. She is also a loving mother to her two adult children, Angela and Hilario. Above all else, Marina enjoys spending time with her family, as well as a cup of coffee or two in the mornings (and afternoons), and occasionally tea as well. As a cook, Marina enjoys pork and chicken accompanied with white rice—a traditional meal in the DR.
Marina is known to all as a reserved, gentle and warmhearted member of the VISIONS family, and she’s much valued by our staff and participants, not only for the delicious dinners she prepares during the program! She exemplifies VISIONS ideals in many ways, båut especially because her life has been marked by tireless years of service to those she loves—first her large family of parents and eight siblings and later her own two children. Today, she dedicates whatever free time she has to taking care of her brother-in-law and her elderly mother.
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