Two related themes arose during our visit to the Dominican Republic: the Haitian presence in the Dominican and Human Rights. One morning, we visited Sister Idalina, a Brazilian nun, working in the Dominican to help Haitians improve their rights. The day we visited she was hosting a clinic to help Haitians acquire proper documentation such as their passports, which will allow them to work in the Dominican and make a better life. She is an amazing and inspirational woman and even though we only had a few moments to meet her I think she left a lasting impact on all of us.
Another visit we made with a Haitian connection was to a Batey. A Batey is a town where sugar cutters live. John, a member of our group from Rayjon who acted as our guide, described it as ‘an island in a sea of sugar cane’. That is truly what it feels like. The little community is surrounded by fields of sugar cane all around as far as the eye can see. It was extremely hot out there since there were no trees and hence very little shade. I cannot imagine what it must be like for workers to spend six months of the year working all day in such conditions. In the past, Haitians were forced to work here under such conditions. Both experiences were eye opening to some of the history and cultural diversity that exists in the Dominican Republic.