I’m sure most of us who have been off resort for a few minutes recognize this scenario.
You head off in the town to absorb some of the “Dominican culture”, stop at a bar/pub/even a supermercado, and a little boy approaches you with a shoe shine box. To be honest, this freaks me. As an American born bread and raised “shoe shine boy” is a degrading concept. And to see a little black face looking up at me, wanting to shine my flip-flops makes me want to puke. I want to run away, I want to deny this exists, it fills me with shame.
I know that to give him money or food or ANYTHING is only going to encourage him to do this more. And yet I also know that what he earns may well be putting beans and rice on his family’s table tonight.
We all know that the Dominican Republic is a very corrupt country. Maybe not more than others but…they have ALWAYS welcomes us with open arms. Despite the fact that they know we are only transient. We will be gone tomorrow…
(when we had dinner at a very nice restaurant on Cabarete Beach, we had a very charming and talented waiter who mentioned that he was an artist. My husband comes from a family of artists and we asked to see his work. One of them was of a young man/boy leaning against a fence and watching one of the airliners leave. ALL of us interpreted it as his wanting to leave the island. When we asked him about it, he said that it was himself, watching all of these people come and go. He had NO desire to leave his home. It brought us up short. Our arrogance in assuming that he would want to leave his home to come to ours).
Personally, I don’t want these kids goals to be to leave their country. I want them be able to be to fix it. I want to be a part of giving them the skills to do so. I may be naive and I may not see the progress, but I want to be a part of helping it a long.
THAT is what this Fiesta is about. That is why you should go, if you can.
One thing I forgot to mention. The girls. How to they contribute to the houseold income without the ability to go out and shine shoes.