Village of Hope.

I?m doing a whole post on Esperanza because it is the Village that has really captured our hearts as a family. There are dear, dear people here that we have come to love. It?s amazing actually how difficult it is to really care for people and not be able to communicate. Communication is especially difficult in Esperanza because it is a Haitian community. The language, therefore, is a real mix of Creole and Spanish ? neither of which we speak well. The nice part is that Creole has a good part of French in it ? so we try with that mostly.

Esperanza is formerly the Batey of Algadones. A batey is residential area on a plantation. In this case, the plantation is sugar cane. Haitians come to the Domincan Republic seeking a better life and mostly come to cut cane. There are many issues surrounding the sugar cane industry ? There is a great Documentary called, The Price of Sugar, which raises some of the issues in the treatment of workers in the sugar cane industry, however, the biggest issue for the Batey of Algadones is that no cane has been cut for the past 6 years. So whatever inequitable wage the Haitians were making before ? they are not even making that now. Clarity moment ? I took some footage this morning of this elderly couple in Algadones, I?ll try and edit and post later ? this couple moved to the DR in 1986 ? he told me through our interpreter that he was making 60 - 100 pesos a day cutting sugar cane. That?s about $1.50 - $2.40 I?ve heard numbers ranging from 50 pesos to 400 pesos a day. Even 400 is $9.93 a day. So the price of our sugar depends on paying people a very little amount per day. (pause?this is complicated, very complicated, I understand that?.however, I am growing to think more and more that the fact that things are complicated is no excuse to abuse people and take advantage of their poverty.) The folks I spoke to this morning can?t cut cane any more because of sickness and age, however, if they could they would, because 90 pesos a day is more than they are getting now ? which is no reason to pay them only 90 pesos.

The Village of Esperanza is a relatively new Village constructed of concrete block houses with concrete sidewalks, water is available every 4th house in the rear and each house has a toilet. This is an incredible step up from the previous situation. The people of Esperanza now have a church, a school, a clinic, water, sometimes electricity, and in general are in a better situation for shelter than they were previously. What they still lack is work. There have been attempts to create some shops, the shops mostly rely, if not entirely, on visits from church and mission groups. I?m not sure what the distribution of these items are, and they are worthwhile undoubtedly, but they won?t feed a Village, so there are some things to consider on a larger scale there. Apparently there is about a 30% rate of AIDS to add insult to injury. It?s a tricky spot, but it has found it?s way into our hearts. I?m falling asleep these days trying to figure out how to deal with their garbage, currently we?re constructing a big concrete pit to burn it in, but in my spare time I?ve been reading about the toxins released into the atmosphere when you do that especially with plastic and thinking about our new friends there breathing that in and the additional health complications that will add to an already hash situation.

I think the reason that this place has found a way into our hearts is the same reason any place does ? the people.

So here are some people of the Village of Esperanza that we love for you to meet,


Anna Christina


We?ll add some more as we can take them of these great people!

Anna Bella

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