Hello Glimpser family and friends!
This is Jonathan Zepeda and Micah Tam, the leaders of the day for “Global Business and Deconstructing Poverty Day.” Today we were able to expand our horizons about the relationship between local communities and global businesses.
We started the day by waking up bright and early at 6:15. A handful of us were able to see the sunrise in the Dominican Republic. We left the hostel an hour later and started our two hour bus ride to Consorcio Barahona, the Barahona Sugar Company. We met Pablo, a representative from the Foundation of Consorcio Barahona. He walked us through the process of making sugar by showing us the fields, machinery, and factory for processing and crystallizing the sugar out of juice. Alongside sugar manufacturing, Pablo showed us one of the many side projects the foundation funds to help the 45 surrounding communities. We were able to see a man-made lake that the foundation endorsed which hosted a tilapia farm. All the profit from the tilapia farm goes to the community in which it resides.
After, we arrived at Batey 6 (A batey is a small community) to have some lunch. Following the lunch we had a panel of locals speak about their experience living in a batey in such close proximity to a sugar cane field. We had three speakers from Plataforma Vida and five from Jovenes en Accion (Youth in Action). They told us the story of their respective organizations and how the sugar cane company affected the community, such as how the foundation’s inhumane practices negatively affected the communities health. For example, the burning of the crops forced families to evacuate their houses to escape the smoke.
Today we were able to learn both perspectives of the impacts of global businesses such as the Barahona Sugar Company on surrounding communities. On one hand, Pablo from the FCB strongly believed that the sugar cane company was benefitting the locals, while the organizations from Batey 6 claimed that most of the reasons for their poor living conditions rooted from the sugar cane company’s actions. Conflicting stories helped open our eyes to the fact that there are multiple perspectives to a story that should all be explored and heard.
To Micah’s family: I miss you guys so much! I’m having an amazing time here and I feel like I’m learning so much about the world. I can’t wait to share all my experiences with you! Tell Oliver I miss him!
To Jonathan’s family: I miss you guys and hope I didn’t miss too much. Tell Korra I love her! I have tons of stories that I’ll tell you all when I get home.