Hello everybody back home it’s Gaby and Elena! We hope everything is well. Today was immigration day, one of the most serious yet great learning experiences. First we took a bus to Elias Peña where our Taíno tour guides greeted us to have a tour at El Museo de la Cultural Fronteriza which means the Museum of the border culture. This museum was extremely special because it’s a binational museum where we learned about the masquerades dances, the gaga dance force, saw a room of saints with ceremonial rituals, went into a room full of different Dominican and Haitian paintings of churches throughout the years, and learned about the festival music.
We also visited a common area that replicated a living room from the 60’s and 70’s where we also encountered some bats in a room nearby. We then went to a binational market. This market specifically is open Monday and Fridays to the Haitians to come and sell their goods from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The market was beyond overcrowding and was very out of many peoples’ comfort zones. But it was very interesting to see it and see how people there make a living.
Next we went to the border to witness the border crossing which was very interesting to watch because many motorcyclists, truck drivers, and businesses pass through the Dominican- Haitian border in order to sell their merchandise in the market. We were all very excited to put one foot through the Haitian border. Nevertheless it will definitely be a day none of us will ever forget. For lunch we met our speaker Julio who talked about the complexities of Dominican- Haitian immigration and also on why he got involved with the organization he is in because he is a local and knows first-hand how the laws against Haitians in the DR can really affect people.
Finally we went back to the hostel to prepare for our third English tutoring lesson. Unfortunately there was a storm which was enough to scare our students away. Our first encounter of a tropical storm was full of gray clouds wit the sun shining through and thunder and lightening that scared some of us too. Everyone was okay and we made it to Sheila’s with no set backs and no rain. We ended the day with our nightly meeting then passed the torch of hand sanitizer to Jonathan Verdun who will lead us through our first fun day at the beach!
We love you all and keep commenting,
Gaby Romero and Elena Juarez
Shoutout to my mom and dad -Gaby