Yesterday, August 5th, as El Lider Del Dia I had to wake everyone up at 6:30am so that we could visit Batey Libertad. A Batey was originally for Haitian migrants to come and work in the sugarcane fields of the Dominican Republic. These temporary living barracks were not supposed to be permanent but have become so creating impoverished living conditions. Batey Libertad is actually 2 hours away from where we are staying. When we got off the bus we met members of the Yspaniola organization. Yspaniola is a play on words of Hispaniola the island and Yale, because the organization was founded by a Yale student. Yspaniola focuses on providing Spanish literacy education to the kids of the batey. The members Alex and Carolina, gave us of a tour of the batey. This tour consisted of showing us the different houses, the colmados, which are stores, the agriculture, the play (futbol field), and the river among other parts of the community.
One of the buildings that we got to see during the tour was the learning center of Yspaniola which holds literacy classes for kids of different ages. In the picture above you can see one of our glimpsers, Ricardo, reading to one of the students of the learning center.
In the learning center Jonathan, the executive director of Yspaniola, along with others spoke to us about education in bateys and how immigration affects the community. After they spoke to us we spilt up into 7 groups where we got to eat with the families and one of the Yspaniola members. I had the honor of getting to eat with Jonathan, Pheobe another glimpser, and one of our GG leaders Shiloh.
While we were eating we had a more in-depth conversation about how the Dominican military police mistreats the community. One of the ways in which they do this is by raiding them with guns drawn and taking people away. When I heard this piece of information it really did hit me hard, because you only really hear things of that caliber happening in history. One other thing that came up during the conversation was that one of their workers of Haitian decent was deported to Haiti, a place that he had never been to.
After eating almuerzo (lunch), we headed back to the learning center where we read to the kids from the community. This activity can be viewed in all the pictures. As a sign of respect we only took pictures of glimpsers reading to the students, as that was our participation within the community for the day.
While being El Lider Del Dia I learned one major thing about myself, I am more patient. Also, being El Lider Del Dia I am proud of my group because I didn’t get any complaints from the speakers or our GG staff. El Lider Del Dia takes a lot of responsibility because you have to make sure that everyone is on time to everything. That was one of the hugest challenges for me considering I don’t have a watch. Other than that the group made it really easy for me to lead them which I appreciate.