Hello, my name is Meliza Ramos, I am 17 years old and I’m from Hayward, CA. I became interested in Global Glimpse when I heard about it from my teachers’ and peers’ past experiences. Our school usually doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to go to other counties and get to experience the reality that others around the world live In so these past 8 days have been really eye opening and have made me appreciate and value the opportunities I am given every single day. All these bonding days with the community have been filled with joy, the families open their doors and homes to us with a big smile on their face and love in their hearts. The families have been so kind and have offered us all the little things that they have, they have even gone out of their way to buy bread with the little money they own just to show how grateful they are to have us. All of us Global Glimpsers have been so grateful to be welcomed in their community. At the same time, it has also been a sad experience to know that these communities receive no help from outsiders that have so much they don’t need. Today, as a Leader of the Day, my partner and I were impacted by the reality that immigrants like the Haitians here have had to suffer through in the Dominican Republic, which is why we chose Immigration Day to lead.
To offer a glimpse of our day, in the morning there was a workout squad that woke up at 6 am to exercise in the town’s military gym. The rest of us woke up at 7 am and got ready, ate cheesy potato’s, fried cheese, pineapple, papaya and passion fruit juice for breakfast. We then had a mental warm-up where we learned that most people do not choose to migrate, they are forced to leave their homes due to war, famine, dictatorship, corruption, etc. We also had two questions that we had to think about throughout the whole day which were, “in what ways are immigration in the DR and U.S. similar?” And, “how has the Dominican government’s decision to strip Dominicans of Haitian descent of their nationality affected the identity and human rights of people who are here?”. After we had a deep discussion about our thoughts, we started preparing food stations to prepare snacks that we would be making for the community we were visiting. In one station we made sandwiches, some were ham and cheese and some were peanut butter & jelly. We also had a station where we made tamarind juice and another station where we made strawberry, banana, and grape kabob’s and lastly, a station to make fresh guacamole. When preparing the snacks, all of the group was engaged on their tasks, and of course singing along to our favorite songs.
Before going to the Haitian community we watched a documentary titles “Hasta la Raiz”. This documentary highlighted the injustices that Dominicans of Haitian descent are currently facing concerning the denial of citizenship in the Dominican Republic (DR). The film highlighted a man named Isidro who is a leading figure in Reconocido, which is an activist movement in the DR that advocates for the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent. This documentary explained how Haitian children have no citizenship even though they were born in the DR. Most Haitians were forbidden Dominican rights like education until they proved they were of Dominican decent.
Overall, my experience as Leader of the Day was really fun because I got to bond with the Haitian community here even though being a leader was something new to me. Usually I am really shy to speak up in front of everyone but today I had to. The role of the Leader of the Day is to make sure everyone is on time to all the activities we have planned. At first it was kind of difficult to get everyone’s attention but later throughout the day it got easier with my partner’s help. Being leader of the day was not as hard as it seemed because GG leaders are always there and trying to help you when you are struggling which I am grateful for.
Hello my name is Elena Cook and I am 17 years old and I’m from Oakland, CA. I joined Global Glimpse to gain a new perspective on the only world I’ve known and to also understand what life is like for others around the world. Hearing the stories that others from my school have told me, I knew I would have a blast discovering new cultures, trying new things, attempting to understand poverty and gaining new friends. I didn’t expect for this trip to open my mind about the differences between people as well as the many similarities we all share. During the last 8 days we have been in Costanza we have been embracing the culture and connecting with the locals here. Our days have been fun but also very eye opening for me. For the past two days we have been visiting communities to see how the locals live. The locals here have been so sweet and caring towards us. Even with the language barriers (Spanish, Créole, English) they have welcomed us with open arms and positive attitudes.
Since today was Immigration Day for Global Glimpsers, we visited a Haitian Community here in the cuts and corners of the DR: Colonial Kennedy. With the help and guidance from Enel and Ramón – two Haitian day workers- we learned that Haitians come to the DR to work in the sugar cane fields, to do construction, or to work in agriculture making between $6-9 US dollars a day. When we got to the community we all split up into groups to get to know some of the families. My groups spoke to Junior and he shared his story about how he got here to the DR from Haiti. His travel was 3 days long, most journeys consist of walking. He had hopes to open a mechanic store here, but he was stripped of his belongings and forced to work doing hard labor. After his stories, I asked him how many people in the community still didn’t have their Identification paperwork because that was still on my mind after watching the documentary. Jr said less than half had their identification papers.
After gathering with the other families and kids, we gave out the snacks our delegation had prepared earlier that afternoon. While everyone enjoyed the snacks we decided to show some of the choreographed dances Reevan had showed the other Glimpsers’, the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble. These are my favorite dances to do at family gatherings so it was really cool to see the Haitians willing to try and having fun with it. We also got to see them dance Kompa, a Haitian traditional dance which was really cool because we had never seen it before.
After giving Big Love and receiving some back from our warm community, we walked up to the Community Center to pitch our CAP project. One person from each group presented projects around benches and tables (Liam), Cleaning (Jenna), painting (Viri y Dora), and sports nets (Jazmin). After discussing details for each like budget, where things will go, and how it will look, all ideas got approved and we had a little celebration while waiting for the bus. Moments after dancing and talking we left back to the hotel and had Dinner (Build your own burgers, the plantain patties were delicious) we started our Nightly Meeting. Once we finished discussing the day, what has become of our systems, and the similarities and differences of the US and Dominican Republic, we passed the Torch to Viii once she finished showing us her amazing dance moves.
Overall today, was filled with a lot of fun, bonding and and really getting deep with our thoughts and questions, I can say we had a good day. And I can’t wait to see what the next 8 days hold for us.