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, the racialized discrimination against Haitians that persists despite the fact that most Dominicans themselves are of African descent. Tensions have intensified since 2010, with laws stripping Dominican-Haitians of their citizenship as well as deportations.
This trip will visit the San Cristobal region of the Dominican Republic. Participants will stay at Rancho El Campeche, a beautiful ranch dedicated to cultural and ecological tourism, and operated by Xiomara Fortuna, an Afro-Dominican musical artist and social activist. The trip focuses on cultural traditions and social movements that help sustain the Haitian and Afro-Dominican fight for social justice. Participants will visit communities that maintain rich traditions of Haitian and Afro-Dominican music and ritual, and learn about efforts to address antihatianismo by groups like MUDHA.
Day 1: Travel to Santo Domingo; transport to Rancho el Campeche; orientation
Day 2: Visit communities of Duveaux and Franks for conversation with families; visit shrine of Mana; presentation about San Cristóbal
Day 3: Day trip to Santo Domingo; visit MUDHA; visit Batey Matamamon; meet with MOSCHTA; return to Campeche
Day 4: Drum class; presentation on Dominican popular music; meeting with member of US Embassy; film
Day 5: Visit school in Franks; activity with school children; tour religious sites in El Limon
Day 6: Visit bateys and other communities; presentation by Xiomara Fortuna about sugarcane economy
Day 7: Depart to Santo Domingo; sight seeing and museums in historic capitol city; visit university for conversation with college students; evening concert
My name is Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez. I am a sophomore from Novato, California. I plan to major in economics and minor in business. I work for the office of Admissions as a Tour Guide and Ambassador and a Student Assistant for the Office of Residential Programs. When I am not doing service with Big Brothers Big Sisters or Alpha Phi Omega (APO), you can find me drinking coffee in Musselman Library. When I'm home, you can find me at the beach or attending a San Francisco Giants Baseball Game! I am super excited to be leading the immersion project on Haitian and Afro-Dominican Rights in the Dominican Republic. I was a participant last year and loved it so much, I am returning!
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