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Monday, March 07, 2011

Dominican Experience 2011 - Day Five Feb 22

Finally, this day was the first day since we arrived that we were allowed to sleep in.  We had a later start to the day because our activities were local.  This day has a few serious moments but more lighter ones for a change.  After three emotional, heavy days I think we needed the change of pace.

We took the bus further into town and first stopped at a local daycare for low-income families.  The cost of the daycare is very low, 100 Pesos/Week.  This daycare takes in children from 45 days to 5 years.  It is staffed by qualified women.  When we arrived it was nice to see several bags of our donations going into the daycare.

Before touring the daycare though we had one stop to make, all of our bags and cameras were locked into an office and we hit the streets.  We went to an area called the Zona Franca, this is where many of the sweat shops are located in the D.R.  Here many Dominicans work hard, sewing clothing for 8 hours a day with only a 15 minute break.  These people make about 1200 Pesos a week.  The sweatshop was a bit of a shock, it was hot it was noisy and they were working fast!  The walk through was very quick and we had been told to leave our cameras behind at the daycare because photos weren't allowed.

Our guide Pedro introducing us to one of the daycare employees

The older children receiving lessons from a teacher

We then returned tot he daycare and toured the facility.  We stopped and played with the babies for a little while.  Of course the girls I had on the trip were absolutely in love, I have to admit the boys softened up too. 

After the daycare we made a quick detour.  All of the males on the trip are huge sports fans, so we stopped to check out the field of the local baseball team, the 2nd largest in the country.  Our guides sweet talked the guard to allow us in to check out the Estrellas home field.  We had a nice long lunch break before our afternoon activities.

We met up again and went further into the city.  We visited the local market, the park, the cathedral and the saw cigars made by hand.  We also stopped for ice cream on the ocean front before heading home

Walking through the local market

Food on sale

The Cathedral in San Pedro de Macoris

Cigars being made by hand

That night we had a great reflection with the kids.  The sister of one of the Dominicans who had been along with us for the experience as an observer joined us.  She works the the self same sweat shop we saw that day.  She talked to us about her job, and the conditions under which she worked.  The kids had some great questions for her.  After she left the discussion continued about how they would never take their part-time jobs for granted.  How good we have it in terms of labour laws which give us rights, good pay, and often good benefits.  How there is always an opportunity to move up or move on.  I must admit, I appreciate the good job I have.


Alisa said...

Lovely pics, that cathedral looks majestic...and those peppers look HOT! ;)

Alice said...

This is such a thought provoking trip for your students. Talk about having a new frame of reference when it comes to counting their blessings!

Carolyn NC said...

Love all the pictures of your trip - looks awesome and sobering, too.

Karen said...

There certainly are many things that I take for granted and should appreciate more like my working conditions. What an eye-opener for the kids on the trip.

Lisa said...

Sounds like another interesting day, but glad you got to sleep in a little and also have a bit of fun.
I remember watching cigars being made when we went and DH brought some home as he smoked at the time, he said they were the best he'd ever had.