Today was a very emotional and eye opening day as we learned about the sugar cane business, got a tour of a major sugar cane factory and talked to community members that used to work in the business.

We first traveled to Consorcio Azucarero Central Barahona where we were introduced to the sugar cane business by our guest speaker and tour guide, Pablo. We took a tour of how the planting and harvest work. We started by learning the process in the field. Pablo explained the process from cutting the sugar cane until it is taken to the mill where it will be transformed into a finished product. Next, we were able to see the space where the sugar is packaged and sent off. There were huge mountains of brown sugar everywhere in the warehouse and Pablo even elaborated on how the sugar is sent off to other countries to be turned into white sugar or sold as brown sugar. Finally, we got to see a social project called the Batey Bombia fish project. It was really interesting, there were many kids playing in the man-made lake and enjoying the nice cool water.

The next part of the day was deconstructing poverty which is when we went to Plataforma Vida, located in the community Batey 6. It is an organization that fights for the rights of sugar cane workers and community members whose lives are affected by the Consorcio. In that community there were local people who actually worked for the sugar cane business and had bad experiences but others also enjoyed working for the Consorcio. However, this community lives right next to sugar cane fields which is very dangerous because when the company sprays pesticides or burns the canes, it is harmful for the community members in many ways.

One of the best parts about this day was the bus ride when we all were able to listen to our favorite songs and bonded over them. It was very interesting to go to the community because we learned so much from them and understood how the sugar cane company they live by affect them on a daily basis. It was a pretty exciting but also a very emotional day. It really changed people perspectives and mindset towards different things.

Adios, Until next blog.