On the 23rd of June, the glimpsers went to Batey Matas Mamon. Bateyes are neighborhoods populated by Haitians or people of Haitians ancestry who came to work on a sugar cane factory. After the sugar cane factory closed, the locals stayed. The glimpsers learned about what residents of this Bate did, what the living conditions were like when the sugar cane factory was open and after it closed. We learned about how the locals felt about being immigrants and what they consider themselves, Haitian or Dominican. We also were told about how they felt about the chance of the locals being sent to Haiti because of their Haitian ancestry even though they were born in the DR. The constitution was changed so that people with Haitian ancestry were stripped of their citizenship, meaning they could be sent to Haiti. I learned about how people liked it better when the sugar cane factory was still open because it brought more businesses to the streets of the community. Unfortunately we only had an hour to meet with the locals, so we weren’t able to see the entire Batey and talk to all of the locals.
It made me think: why stay in a place where the government can easily find you and send you away. Talking to this woman who lived in a small home and had her grandchildren and great grandchildren playing outside, she explained to us Matas Mamon has always been her home and it has been her kids only home. That community was all they knew; it would not be easy to move to an unknown place and start a new life… Something that made me sad was that this community only has a primary school for the kids. So students who passed seventh grade have to find the money for transportation for middle and high school. Looking at their surroundings told me money wasn’t easy and school isn’t an option for some families.
What surprised me the most was seeing how happy grandparents, parents and children were. They were all laughing and joking with each other, people in the community don’t consider themselves poor and you can see by the way they interact with each other and with us. I’m proud of how everyone was engaged with the academic seminar about immigration and once we got to the Batey, everyone was intrigued on how the locals lived and we all asked questions. We learned a lot in a small amount of time about immigrants, about locals, and about the Dominican Republic.
The most inspiring person that I met was a woman whose name is Morelia. She has two children. We asked her if she considers herself a Dominican or a Haitian and she gave us an answer that was admirable. She said that she calls herself a Dominican because she was born in the DR, but she refuses to hide that she is Haitian. She will always be one, it’s her heritage and that won’t change. I thinks it’s admirable because even though she could be deported, she still won’t hide. She is a proud Haitian woman that has great pride in her culture.
Being El Lider Del Día made me so nervous and I was scared that I would forget the gift or donations. I woke up at 5:30 am by accident, probably because I was scared to wake up late. Even though I was nervous, everyone helped me in so many ways. Everything from reminding me about time to give gifts to saying thank you to Conamunca. I wouldn’t be the great leader I was if it wasn’t for everyone helping me.
I learned that I over think certain things as a leader. I can be very tense and stiff. I figured out that public speaking is something I need to work on more. Another thing I learned about myself is that I am very compassionate to people and can be committed when I put my mind to it.
Side Note: Hey family! I’m having a great time. Love you, see you soon!
Friends: miss you all ….. kinda and OH! Kim and I found future husbands
Happy late father’s day!
Happy birthday YUYU!!!! –Love llita
Happy late birthday mom-Jessica
I love you mom-Keya
I Miss You Loser – Diana