Today was another day that Global Glimpse gave us a chance to step out of our comfort zone. It was a heart warming and an eye opening experience to see how two countries that are connected but are worlds apart can come together, two days a week. They not only shared commerce but culture as well. When we first found out that we were going to the Haitian border we felt a feeling of uneasiness. Before we left to come to the Dominican Republic all we ever heard was “whatever you do, don’t go to the border. It’s unsafe.” However while we were at the border we got a chance to see the Haitian and Dominican people interact with one another, which made us challenge what we believed about not only the border but the stereotypes we had about Haiti and Haitian people.
The market that we experienced today was a different feeling than what we experienced on “Work like a local” day. This market was packed and bustling. With over hundreds of sellers surrounding you at every turn, it was a moment we truly felt like we were in a different country. There was a mixture of Spanish and Creole, and a feeling that if you blinked you could get lost in it all.
On our way back from the border we encountered the bitter reality of race relations and immigration issues between Dominicans and Haitians. We are a pretty diverse group but when passing through our first checkpoint the police were only concerned with checking the papers of the dark skinned passengers. It reminded us of the harsh realities of people trying to leave a really bad situation to make a better life for themselves but being met with obstacle after obstacle. We could not help but think about the similarities that happen at the US border with people trying to make a better life for themselves and their families but get treated less than human.
Overall immigration and foreign policy is something that a lot of us felt we understood when it came to the United States. But when it came to a different country with people trying to sell you beans, juice, or whatever they could do to get by, as well as a mixture of languages, and an overall sense of desperation and determination to get to the other side, it made me realize that its an issue that still needs to be discussed. We as a group had serious discussions concerning this whole day, and process, and why people needed to cross the border and discovered; people had serious motivations, such as family and friends, to leave their country to go to another. No matter how many struggles, they were always able to keep the bigger picture in mind, like we hope to be able to do in our lives.