Fair Trade and Cruel Labor in the Dominican Republic

Trip Overview:

In 2010, Gettysburg College initiated a new Immersion Project in the Dominican Republic, based on interest students had in the issues surrounding Haitians living in the DR. Part of this interest was sparked by the viewing of the filmThe Price of Sugar which documents the Haitian immigrant involvement in the production of sugar in the DR, and the poor working and living conditions in the bateys (sugar cane villages) which are systematically enforced because of “antihaitianismo,” a culturally accepted discrimination against Haitians.

This trip will visit the Jarabacoa region of the Dominican Republic. Participants will stay at Finca Altagracia, an organic and sustainable coffee farm owned by Julia Alavarez, a Dominican author of several books. Around the farm are two communities, Dominican and Haitian, that participants will visit and get to know, understanding both the tensions that exist between the communities, and the potential for living peacably together.

One of the books written by Julia Alvarez is In the Time of Butterflies, which is the story of the Mirabel Sisters and their involvement in the political efforts to overthrow the Trujillo dictatorship. This will also serve as a backdrop for our trip, as we'll visit the Museum of the Mirabel Sisters, and perhaps have the chance to meet with Dede Mirabel, the only surviving sister.