Today started off in good spirits after a night of dancing and enjoying each other’s company. Despite the fact that some of us are battling minor discomforts, such as upset stomachs and bug bites, we pushed through to have another great day. We headed to La Curva, a community outside of Manugua where we were welcomed by chickens, pigs, ducks, and very annoyed dogs. We met Dona Marie and Paola there and they shared their stories about working in free trade zone factories. Although it was saddening to hear about their poor work conditions, low wages, and dislike of their places of employment, their sense of determination to provide for their families at all costs was very inspiring. After hearing these amazing women talk, the children of the community gave us a private concert on the flutes that they have been learning to play. A community leader,Jairo, saw the need for an after school program for the children and he began teaching music and art classes. Jairo took us back to his home where he showed us the amazing artwork the children had created.
Upon leaving his home, we took a walk down the road to see the new free trade zone that was being built. Several families were asked to leave their homes and were paid to move in order to clear enough space for the huge buildings that were to be built. Although this will offer employment for many, as Dona Maria and Paola mentioned, it will not be “good” work. These factories do not pay the workers a living wage, forcing them to work overtime to provide for their families.
Following a wonderful lunch, we visited a fair trade store, Esperanza en Accion. Here we met our friend Yani and her co- worker Emily. We learned about the importance of giving artisans not only a fair wage, but a place to properly display and sell their work. We may have bought out the store. It left us all questioning why people have to suffer from a poor working environment when amazing places, such as Esperanza en Accion exist.
We finished off the night going to mass at The Cultural Center. Despite the fact that this was a community mass, foreigners took over the crowd, with other student groups from Canada and USC. Many of the words may have gotten lost in translation, due the fact that the mass was in Spanish, but we shared a wonderful experience in community.
Now that we are getting ready to bed, yes, at 9:45 pm. We really miss all those back home and wanted to take the time to show some love to our moms! So here it goes, Happy Mother’s Day to:
Brigid Lee, Marie Hendrix, Barb Rosenberger, Jeri Rockett, Lori Cannon, Louise Biela, Elibita Biela, Trish Hart, Katie Buckwalter, Debbie Ryan, Cathy Lew, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jeanne Figura, Cyndi LaBrec, Carla Matosich, Celia Fitz Gerald, Bridget Webster, Nelly Chavez, Mary Ann Meek, Rhonda Hoffarth, Mary Moyer and to all those who have impacted our lives!! We love you!!
Yane also wants to wish her little brother Jaziel a very happy birthday and to be prepared for his surprise when she gets home.. Love you baby! (Yane)