Hello family and friends!

This is Allen, Shirley, and Wyatt, the líderes del día of day 8 of our trip to the Dominican Republic. Unlike the other days we have experienced here in the DR, today was a really heavy and emotional day for our group. We visited the sugar cane plantation, Plantaforma Vida, and then afterwards, talked to a speaker representing the social side of the sugar cane factory, Fundación Central Barahona. We got to experience both sides of the production of sugar, the harvesting of the sugar canes and the process of the sugar canes getting brought into the factory to be made into sugar.

We started our day off bright and early, waking everyone up at 6:00 AM. We then walked over to Rosaura’s to have breakfast at 7:00 and started our 1 1/2 hour long trip to Plantaforma Vida. The workers then talked to us about their experiences in the sugar cane farms and the hardships they have gone through. Afterwards, the workers gave us a tour of the housings and talked about their harsh living conditions and the polluted water system.

Our day continued with a bus tour with Pablo, a speaker for Fundación Central Barahona. He talked to us about his perspective of the working Haitians and Dominicans: their working hours, breaks, and meals. He also showed us the housing of the farmers, the sugar cane farms, and the factory where the sugar canes are processed into sugar. During the tour, we would ask Pablo various questions about communities projects and the health conditions of the workers.

Finally, we ended our day, eating dinner at Rosaura’s and having our self reflections about the global business and poverty. Returning to the hotel, we ended the night off with the nightly meeting.

Shirley: Hello, family members, this is Shirley. Today was a really huge impacting moment for me today, and I think also for other people. We really saw how other people in other countries live. I want to say thank you to the community for being so welcoming and amazing showing us real life conditions. I think we also appreciate our life even more in the US. I also want to thank Pedro for answering all of our questions about Fundación Central Barahona, and for giving us a tour on the sugar cane process. Overall I think today was a really good and impacting day for us, we learned many different perspectives today. We all miss you guys so much and love you guys, we will see you soon.

Allen: Hearing and reading about the conditions that people in developing countries have to go through everyday never hit me until I arrived at Plantaforma Vida. Walking through the batey (the neighborhood or housings of the farmers), the living necessities were not even accessible to everyone. The water that they receive from the aqueducts is not safe to drink, but some members of the batey have to drink it, since they cannot afford to buy filtered water. Also, the conditions of harvesting sugar canes are devastating. After harvesting the sugar canes, they would burn the rest of the stalk, which would cause ashes to fly around and create fires. After today, I really feel like I understand the tragedy of the workers here in the DR and how I could improve my own situations at home by taking shorter showers or turning off the lights when they are not needed.

Wyatt: Hello family members, and friends, this is Wyatt. Today was a helpful day for me as well as for others. In the morning, we were at Plantaforma vida which is an organization that advocates for human rights. They were extremely nice and it really humbled me for what life is like in the Bateys .They also told us about Fundacion Central Barahona and the things they are doing to their workers was extremely eye opening. The second part of the day, we went and talked to someone who worked for this company and got a different side of the story. My take away from this is that I understand the hardship of the workers in the DR.

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog about the two sided coin of what running a sugar cane factory looks like here in the DR

Big love to all the family and friends!

From: Allen, Shirley, and Wyatt.