Today we had an Academic Seminar about the Batey. Bateys are communities in the Dominican Republic that developed around the sugar industry and are some of the most impoverished and isolated communities in the Dominican Republic. Our group went to the Batey Libertad and met some people that lived in the community of the batey. We did a warm up activity and it was very exciting to meet these people and to see the excitement on their faces to meet us. We got spilt up into groups and had lunch with our host families. While we were in their homes we also got a chance to get to know them a little bit better. We got a chance to get a tour of the batey and got a chance to ask questions and see their community. Our group got spilt up into smaller groups to talk to the people that lived in the community and got a chance to ask them questions about their daily lives. Some of them expressed how they don’t really have that much support with their identity. Another thing that uplifted the group spirit was having a chance to play with the kids. We played games and we read to the kids and to see the smiles on their faces brought us joy and made the day even better.
Throughout the day it was good for us to get to know about the batey and what their community is like. While we were in our groups we asked questions about themselves, but something that really got my attention was about their identity. They told us how long it takes for them to become a citizen of the DR. They told us that if they get stopped by the police and they have no documentation on them being a citizen in the DR, they would get sent to Haiti. It was a depressing moment to have to see these people live this every day and nothing is being done about it. It made me realize how lucky we are to have the life we have, because people are struggling every day and we watching it happen made me appreciate everything that I have.