Hey there beloved friends and family! It it is Sloane from Berkeley High School. Today was a very busy day with an early start of 6 o’clock (resulting in nothing but happy faces all around, as expected). Our focus of the first half of the day was global business in which we talked about the benefits and downsides of operating businesses in developing countries. Our main focus was the Sugar Cane Factories, also known as Consorcios. The workers within these factories are Haitian immigrants that have been outsourced by their government to come to the DR and work. In addition to these workers there are the Dominican people who live in communities called Bateys surrounding the Consorcios. We started off our journey upon arriving at the facility
In which the organization Plataforma Vida is located. This organization fights for the rights of the sugar cane workers who risk their livelihoods every day. We learned about the origins of the organization and heard firsthand some incredible experiences of the locals with the Consorcios. We then split up and toured the Bateys for a few hours. We again got a chance to talk to the workers of the cane fields and we were told both devastating and inspiring stories of their experiences, taking note of the differences in wages between farm workers and higher ups as well. After our intriguing tour of the Bateys we ate a marvelous lunch (courtesy of our beloved Sheila’s) at the site of the organization with the locals and had a chance to talk with them more personally about their lives and experiences.
Hello there! I’m James Rosas from James Logan High School. As my wonderful partner has already explained, the morning was busy. Unlike the afternoon where it was filled with different perspectives and questions. My partner left off at the tour at the Batey’s and we had returned back to the church where we first started. The tour was not enjoyable but insightful. The length of the tour had caused our hunger to grow. As we had lunch with community members, we questioned them about various topics. The discussion group were divided according to our self reflection groups and the community members split up to talk to us. I was the only fluent spanish speaker and I translated all of my group’s questions and answers to the community and vice versa. The discussion was interesting. However we were running late and could only donate the kite materials to the community, instead of building and playing with the children of the community. As we boarded the bus, we had a visitor ride along with us on the bus and give us a tour of the batey’s and the whole process of the sugar cane globalization. Carlos Espinosa was the man that beat the system because he started as a bracera (cane sugar worker) to then a lawyer at the local university. Throughout the whole bus ride, Carlos was explaining the history and the process of the sugarcane business. The presentation on the bus was interesting including the playlist on the way back. However the tour of the chemical baths makes sense, it is used to clean and refine the cane before sending it off to the factory. The whole process of globalization was discussed the whole day and how community are affected by jobs. What we visited next is a clear representation of the how the conditions are. We visited the dorms where batey workers stay and the conditions are eerily similar feeling to a prison. Well on a more positive upside the bus ride back was enjoyable because of the playlist that the group composed. We sang, we joked and just enjoyed each other’s company, I feel that our chemistry grows stronger each day.