Today was certainly an eventful one, starting off bright and early at 6:00 a.m. After a delicious breakfast of turkey and tomato sandwiches, we were off to the nearby greenhouses to begin our “Working Like a Local Day ” and “Global Business Day.” After arriving at the greenhouses, we were introduced to “Chucho,” who was the supervisor of day to day operations. He briefly gave us some background on his own life and how he began working out in the fields and eventually transitioned to working inside the greenhouses. We divided up onto groups and met with our individual workers for the morning who then instructed us on how to begin work choosing the proper cucumbers to pick. While early on, It as difficult for some of us to get past the language barrier and also determine which cucumbers were worthy of being picked, everyone ultimately got the hang of it. We would learn late on that many of those picked would be discarded for varying reasons, but initially it seemed as if we had a successful harvest. After about an hour and a half of picking, a snack brake and another hour of so of weeding, we thanked the greenhouse workers and were on our way. Many of us left exhausted, even after only half a days work, providing us with the eye-opening experience of what everyday life is like for many Dominicans. We learned that many of the greenhouse workers were obligated to work this job in order to support their families, and worked long hours in strenuous conditions for minimal pay, and even that was sometimes not enough.
After working at the greenhouse, we headed back to Dilenia’s for yet another delicious meal, this time consisting of chicken, rice and beans. After what may have been the most satisfying lunch of the week, we once again departed, following the cucumbers that we had picked earlier that morning to the World Agro Marketing and Exporting Company. There, we met Luis Ayala, the supervisor of the facility in Constanza. After donning fashion forward hairnets to prevent contamination of the products at the facility, we headed inside to begin a full, private tour of the entire operation. While the majority of us were tired and perhaps not the most engaged with the tour, Luis proved to be an extremely informative speaker who gave us in-depth information about the process of exportation of cucumbers to other countries, such as the United States. During the tour, we were all surprised to find out how much food goes to waste before it hits the grocery stores in the U.S. Many of the cucumbers that we picked would end up being rejected and simply thrown away due to the fact that they were discolored, under or oversized and even just slightly tainted in their appearance, making us question why the U.S. has such high standards for its imports if it all tasted exactly the same. We thanked Luis for his time and walked away with a free box of cucumbers and heads full of new knowledge about the entire process of exportation.
We returned to Dilenia’s and took a much needed hour long rest break before spending time prepping for our last English tutoring session of the week. After finishing tutoring, many of us felt much closer and more connected to both our students and our classes as a whole. We headed back to Dilenia’s and enjoyed a nice dinner and a special birthday celebration for Nijah, one of our fellow Glimpsers. The night ended with faces full of cake and an interesting discussion about the positive and negative impacts of global exportation of goods in Constanza. Tomorrow we look forward to “Immigration Day” and many more adventures in Constanza.
Leaders of the Day: Trevor Crowell and Hallie Tobia