Today we woke up at 7am to get ready and then proceeded to eat breakfast before heading out on a very nicely packed day. At breakfast we received ham and cheese sandwiches with watermelon and cantaloupe which was absolutely amazing! We then headed off to the bus, on our way to Batey Palave. We had our mental warm up, informing us of certain laws that Dominicans and Haitians share when it comes down to immigration. Upon our arrival at Batey Palave we received a warm welcome with traditional Dominican and Haitian dances.
They then began a thorough presentation which informed us of how the Dominican Republic and Haiti share a very complicated past causing immigration issues still today. Following that we began touring Batey Palave, in which we split into mini groups to enjoy our tours and talk with a community speaker each group was given. We explored the old barrancones that people still use today which could house 10-15 men back in the 1960’s.
Our tour guide (Javier) went on to show my group the bathrooms which weren’t installed until the people of Batey Palave negotiated with the government to have sanitary conditions rather than using the restroom in the mountains. – Mia
Meanwhile. My group had a different approach to things. As they showed us the barancones our tour guide (Ernesto) pulled an old sugarcane worker aside so that we could talk to him. He told us the harsh conditions that he had to put up with and even showed us his wounds due to working there. – Bree
We slowly but surely ended our tours and met back up at a house where we started placing ourselves to begin lunch. For lunch the locals cooked for us an amazing meal, it consisted of a traditional Haitian dish with gnocchi and sardines, then of course there was rice and beans, as well as beef with carrots and chicken for anyone that wanted. The food was so great!! A small group got up which lead to everyone getting up to play an unplanned game with the community called Mickey Mouse, the locals sang the song while we all played along! We all felt like a close knit family.
We then all took some time to relax before starting our next activity called “Common Ground”. While playing the game, things got a bit more personal. We learned that we aren’t so different from many of the community members and it led to us bonding even more. At the end around 3, we said our goodbyes, which ended in hugs. It felt as though we were all leaving piece of ourselves behind.
We got on the bus with a lot of laughter and good vibes from what we had just experienced. Arriving back at La Fundacion, we planned our next 2 English classes because tomorrow is our adventure fun day. Overall, today was an amazing day and all the experiences we went through will stay with us for a long time to come.
With Love, the best liders del dia, Mia and Bree!