It’s Lucia and Jestina here, today we got to share the role of leader of the day. Today we took the gua-gua (bus) to CAC, a sugar cane company. We were given a tour by Pablo Garcia who informed us on the conditions and rights of the sugar cane workers. He answered many questions from us and our fellow Glimpsers about the company and how it employs their workers. He informed us that they had stable living conditions, a form of a union in which they were able to express their voices, food provided as well as transportation and education. He also told us about the various projects that his organization did for the workers. During the tour we were in a confined fenced area where we were not permitted to take pictures. Garcia wouldn’t inform us on why that was a policy. He stated that the gates were to keep goats and stray dogs out of the accommodations but there were many roaming goats inside the gates that the company didn’t seem to mind.
Later on, we were able to interview and talk with locals that belonged to the Plataforma Vida, a group of local residents. They met with us to talk about their side of the story. They told us how people living at the residencia were not permitted to leave the accommodations unless they were heading straight to work because the company feared them going out and drinking. Part of the sugar producing process entails burning the sugar cane fields and fertilizing with pesticides. During this unregulated process, the locals described it as raining black, ash snow. The ash from the fires were so severe that pregnant and nursing women would have to evacuate the town to not harm themselves and the baby. During the fertilization process, fertilizer would be dropped from a crop duster which ruined nearby gardens and rice paddies as well as giving the employees and locals fungus and irritated skin.
After we had heard two sides of the story it was up to us to decide which one seemed like the truth. It was eye-opening to see the process of something that most of us use in our daily life and knew nothing about.
We all miss our families and friends back at home but are having a great time. We look forward to seeing you all very soon!
<3 Lucia and Jestina 🙂