Alexa Mieses, Medical Student, 12:05PM Aug 27, 2013
In the town of Yaguate there are acres and acres of sprawling sugar cane fields. The town is in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush jungle. Within one of those fields is a village of seventy Haitians. They live under conditions in stark contrast to the natural beauty around them.
The villagers crossed the border to the Dominican Republic in search of work and new opportunities. As a result they are undocumented, and they are forced to remain in their village at all times for fear of deportation. They work tirelessly in the fields cutting sugar cane, a job Dominicans won't do. They work for six months out of the year, for less than $2 per day. The other six months out of the year they are forced to remain in their village, trying to survive, waiting for the sugar cane to grow once again.
These villagers live without electricity and running water. The children suffer from diarrhea and parasitic diseases as the result of a contaminated water sources. Many villagers do not eat for days on end and cannot afford clothing. Most cannot even afford ibuprofen to ease their aching backs.
Last week, I had an opportunity to visit the village with representatives from Vencedores Ministerio Evangelistico, a religious organization. In preparation, I made sandwiches and bought juice to give to the village's families. I sat in on a religious service and was able to feed 50 villagers. The best part was meeting the villagers and hearing their stories.
Despite the struggle they face every day, the villagers are happy to be with their families. Despite the grave conditions in which they live, there is still hope in their hearts. This visit allowed me to serve a community apart from my own, but also made me realize that I need to more frequently cherish the simple things in life. These villagers still need food, clothing and medical supplies and I hope to return again soon.