Hello friends and family! It’s Rissa and Rhea here to tell you about Global Business & Deconstructing Poverty Day.
We started off the day with an early, 6:00 am wake up call and headed over to Rosaura’s for a delicious breakfast. After that we took a bus ride to Barahona, where we met a community living next to a sugar cane plantation. We had the opportunity to hear community members talk about Plataforma Vida, a local organization dedicated to fixing problems in the community. We learned about many projects they did such as building new houses, churches, schools, and a new water system.
After hearing members speak, we took a tour of the batey (the community) and saw the injustices locals faced due to the corruption of the Consorcio Azucarero Central Barahona, the sugar cane company. For example, a man we met was blinded after being forced to work in toxic conditions a day after the sugar cane fields were burned down. Most workers were expected to feed families of 7 or more with a wage of $3-4/day.
Instead of our usual lunch at Rosaura’s, we were able to enjoy a meal with the community members and ask them about their experiences at the plantation. One of the most memorable activities of the day was “The Ground We Share.” In this activity, Glimpsers and Dominicans gathered around in a circle and were prompted to step forward based on situations they have experienced, such as: “Step forward if you feel safe walking alone in your neighborhood at night.” This activity allowed us to see the parallels between the people of the community and us glimpsers. Even though we live in very different parts of the world, we still face similar challenges. After thanking the locals for their time and insight, we headed to our next tour.
Our second tour was with Pablo from Fundación Central Barahona (FCB), the branch of the sugar cane company responsible for giving back to the community. Sadly due to the rain, much of our tour was restricted to the bus but it gave us the opportunity to ask Pablo many questions. Through this tour, we noticed the lack of support workers had, despite promises of improvements to their living situation made by the company. Even though the discussion was heated, it gave Glimpsers the chance to see how companies fail to balance economic development with the protection of basic human rights.
Finally, we headed back to the accommodations after a long day, but not before enjoying a bus ride full of Banda (Mexican music)! We were all excited for some down time after a busy few days and enjoyed sharing our snacks and games. To complete the long day, we had a spectacular meal thanks to Charlie, Robby, Angelo, Consuelo, and Rosaura (the amazing staff)! On the menu, everyone was excited to taste the juicy, fresh fruits of the DR. To finish off the day, we discussed the impacts of global business on the DR and the parallels in the US.
We all miss you very much, but we’re excited for another week of memories in this beautiful country.
Rissa and Rhea
p.s. mom, dad, and didi are you alive?! please comment, I miss you. where are my World Cup updates?? vive la france – Rhea
p.p.s don’t get too comfortable at home without me – Rissa
p.p.p.s Vincent, I miss u brudder <3 – Mikey