Today was definitely a day that was more difficult than the rest. It was immigration day and we got to hear personal accounts of immigrants moving to the Dominican Republic. We started off our morning at 7:30, with oatmeal, crackers, and bananas. After breakfast we had a mental warm up to learn about the history and background of Venezuelan and Haitian immigrants and their motivation for moving to the Dominican Republic. Our first visitors at the Hotel was Maryangel and her family. We learned that she had moved from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic 10 months ago to escape the government of their president and the constant violence in the country. We wanted to know about the discrimination that her and other Venezuelan immigrants faced. While she faced little to none many other immigrants leaving their country are moving to the Dominican Republic and are angering the local community. The citizens believe that the Venezuelan immigrants are taking their jobs and stripping opportunities that they believe should be theirs in the first place. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? After speaking with Maryangel she was kind enough to bring a little bit of her culture and share it with us. We got to make bracelets in the colors red, yellow, and blue. Every time they sell a bracelet money goes towards patients with lung diseases.
After an amazing lunch of sancocho(soup with rice) we watched a video about the plight of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic. It was a portrayal of a man who had to sacrifice himself for his family. The situation in Haiti makes it so that people have to migrate in order to live even paycheck to paycheck. The health and sanitation in developing countries are so poor that the man lived a short life and died of cholera after drinking contaminated water. And this was just one of the difficulties that immigrants have to go through everyday. After that, we transported to Colonial Kennedy(thanks to Sandy😊). There, groups of four glimpsers were guests in one of the Haitian homes. We got to ask these immigrants about their journey and life in the Dominican Republic. The conversations we had were completely eye opening and difficult to listen to. We learned that they face discrimination everyday from other Dominicans which can be verbal or physical. Although many of these adults come here to make a living and provide for their families, they leave everything behind. Most of these families aren’t able to see their children because they are still in Haiti, and that is probably the hardest part. After meeting with the families individually we got to talk to two Haitian immigrants named Junior and Ostav as a group. Despite all that they face, the Haitian immigrants are extremely positive and grateful to the government for letting migrate to make a living. Even though they are not paid very well they still appreciate living here rather than the horrible conditions in Haiti.
After meeting with the families we came back to the hotel and had free time and got to visit the local bakery and supermarket for the first time. It was nice to have a small break after the long days of hard work. Next, we got in our self-reflection groups and discussed what we learned about the Haitians we spoke to earlier. Then, we had dinner and we were served with pasta, salad, and bread. After dinner, we ended off with a seminar and our nightly meeting. During the meeting, we talked about the overall message and compared the lives of immigrants in the DR and immigrants in the U.S. We discussed how all the discriminations is worse here, but is still prevalent in the U.S. We ended the night with big love and our unity clap!!
P.S hey mom, dad,sarah,and junayd! Love and miss you guys!!😢
Hi papa, harsheen, nana, and dadigi!! Doing well and I miss you guys a lot!! Love you!