Buenos noches from the San Juan de la Maguana #1 Delegation!
Today was Global Business day. Our day started at 6:00 Am. At 7:00 we ate breakfast at our usual restaurant Onaney. After breakfast we got onto a bus and started our one and a half hour drive to one of the bateyes (sugar plantation housing) run by the Consorcio de Azucar sugar company*. There we met our first speaker of the day, Pastor Williams. He shared stories of working in the sugar cane fields and his personal experience with discrimination. After Pastor Williams finished speaking we broke off into two groups and went to two different Bateyes and heard from several members in the community. One story that stuck out in particular was a story told by a fifty year-old Roberto Luis, he is a worker in sugar cane fields and a student attending eighth grade. He wants to attend high school and college afterward. He was passionate and touching, he said that if the world would hear of their condition, the world will be ashamed and he described his life as an animal’s life.
We met back up and rode the bus to the headquarters of the Consorcio de Azucar. There we ate lunch and had a speaker talk to us about all of the “changes” the company has made to improve workers rights. After the speaker couldn’t continue to answer our questions we went on a tour of a few of the community projects that they have sponsored. We then got back on the bus for another long, but fun ride to the hotel. We ate dinner at Onaney, had our nightly meeting and passed the torch off to Julian Dulce.
Airel and JD
* The bateyes are not owned or run by the Consorcio. They were used for workers’ housing when the CEA was government-owned, but now that the Consorcio is managed by a private company, the bateyes belong to the people and are no longer formally tied to the sugar industry. Reminder to everyone: these blogs represent the perspectives and opinions of our 17 year-old students.
**The photos below are courtesy of Takai Ginwright: