Although we had to wake up a bit early to travel from San De La Maguana to the Batey of the Sugar Plantation, we had another fulfilling day in the Dominican Republic. After an hour drive to Plataforma Vida, where the sugar plantation was, we got a tour of where they kept the machinery. We learned how the process of making sugar was more profitable when men cut the sugar cane rather then machines. This was interesting because although machinery is known for its swiftness, when men cut the sugar cane they get more of the product. Although men put out more work and more effort they still appeared to us to dehumanized simply because of their race and nationality. A workday cutting cane averages to 11.48 hours daily, 6.4 days a week, averaging 74.47 hours at 31 cents an hour, or 23 US dollars a week. These Haitians, who live on the plantation 6 months out of the year, live in rooms of 6-8 people. We learned that they have have bunk beds, no space to walk around and no windows to have fresh air. They are not aloud to drink or have visits from family, and they have little to no downtime and take their meals while working in the fields. Although it was said that child labor is nonexistent in the Sugar Plantation there have been reports of child labor. We did not see any.
The Batey that we visited is located on the sugar plantation property and house those who work 6 months out of the year at the sugar plantation during the other 6 months out of the year. Here you can see that these people live in what I would consider slums, the children we saw weren’t wearing shoes, and to us seemed like they were yearning for proper food, water and shelter. We also saw some skinny dogs. There was a man who was visibly burned on his arm, in pain, with no ability to access medical treatment. This community was visibly in need of more then what they have and it makes you think of what your life is like in comparison to the Dominican- Haitians here and what we take for granted and what we can do to make a difference.