Quote of The Day: “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucious
I noticed looking at the other blog posts from my fellow glimpsers that nobody had posted the schedules. I thought that maybe I should share with the friends and family what a day looks like. Keep in mind that our days are packed and we have everything planned, even leisure time.
6:00 Wake Up Time
-Mandatory Suero Shots
7:50 Field trip to Los Bateyes
12:30 Lunch at Tamayo
2:00 Leave on Guaga
4:00 Free Time
5:00 English Prep
5:25 Head to Lucille Rupp
6:00 English Tutoring
8:00 Dinner @ Comedor
9:00 Nightly Meeting
9:45 Self Reflection
10:30 Bed Time
11:00 Lights Out
It was an early start this morning, having to be up around 6 for the long day ahead of us. We loaded on to the Guaga(bus) for an hour and a half drive. We went to Los Bateyes, a community made up of Dominicans of Haitian descent, who live on the the outskirts of Baraona. We visited three bateyes: 6,7, & 9.
In Bateye 6 the group got to talk to Don Salvador, a man who helped the group understand the struggles that the people in Los Bateyes face every single day through a overview of things like documentation issues and mistreatment of workers at the sugar cane factory.
In Bateye 7 the group got to do one of things that I personally believe we do best, spend time with children. We were given the opportunity to go to a school in the community and do various activities with the kids. Some of us played baseball, others colored with crayons, and some even painted kids faces. Sharing laughs and practicing both Spanish and Creole with the young kids. I’d especially like to recognize the boys who played baseball with the kids, Desmond, Daniel, and Michael, who were innovative when the ball was blasted over the fence by one of the kids and made another one out of paper and tape.
The thing that I think is most important to express to those of you tracking our experiences is how we were greeted. As we arrived at the bateye and unloaded from the bus we were greeted by two teenage boys who agreed to help show us all where the school was, and as we walked through the community others joined. Kids came out from their homes and joined us as we trekked toward the school. We were at bit overwhelmed at first but they were just so friendly, the only way to react was smile and engage. These children slowly encased us and intertwined throughout the group, grabbing our hands and looking up at us, beaming smiles. Lucia, one of our coordinators, had mentioned this, the amount of love that these kids that have so little will give us, simply for being there. At first when she had told us we hadn’t understood what she was trying to express, but the moment those kids interlocked fingers with us, we felt it.
In the last Bateye we visited, Bateye 9, we were blessed with the opportunity to speak with the leader of the community, Pastor Williams. He shared the hardships that not only he but the people who live in the Bateye have to deal with every single day. It was touching and emotional for not only me, but many others in the group as well. This man shared his life and personal experiences with a group of complete strangers. He told us of this one instance where he was out of town for business and the community was being given the opportunity for mammograms. But the only place the medical team was able to do it was the upper level of his home, and he had the keys for his house. Pastor Williams, without any second thoughts ordered his lock to be removed from his house. The way he spoke to the group was so genuine, and showed his selflessness. It was an experience that I felt could never be replaced or that I would be able to thank him for. Big thank you to Julian for helping translate.
Quotes from The Day:
“When the Pasteur said that he would sacrifice his life to make his Batey 9 better, it really activated my mind.” — Daniel
“When I learned that the kids actually wait for a bus to pick them up to go to school and it never shows up, it really touched me. In the States, we have the choice to go to public or private school. The kids here just want to go to a school, any school.” – Michael
“I feel like we are so spoiled, myself included, and these kids don’t even get the opportunity to have an education.” – Beca
“They do have a lot; they have given you the memories that resonate in your heart for a lifetime. They possess a whole lot, it’s just not what we are raised to value.” – Victoria
Much Love to All The Parents! We’re all homesick, even though some of us are in denial about it. Love You Mom and Dad. Happy Birthday to my best friend as well.
The one thing that i did enforce at the end of the day was wall sits. For every single person that was ever late to any place we needed to be we had to 20 seconds of wall sits, in total we had to do 2 minutes. Here’s the link to our struggle through them.