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The Fiesta and the kids


#1

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.

Rose

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.


#2

Rose:

You are soooooo right. The future of the Dominican Republic (and every country for that matter), rest in the children… its future leaders.

The more we can raise - both money AND awareness - the better for the children and eventually, the entire country. Children are the building blocks - the foundation - and that is where our focus has to be.

I don’t mind giving a few pesos to someone offering a legal service, even if I don’t actually use the service (i.e. don’t want my feet polished but will give 5 or 10 pesos to take their photo). At least they are trying to make a living the honest way.

Imagine if the ONLY alternative was selling drugs, their bodies or, by robbing people… now that makes me want to PUKE!!

PS - there is another reason we NEVER complain about vendors on the beach or elsewhere… figure he is trying to make a living for his family. We try to remind people who do complain about them that they do NOT have Unemployment Ins, Welfare or other social programs that we are so fortunate to have… Everyone - please remember that next time they “pester” you.


#3

During the time that I lived in Puerto Plata I met very few Dominicans who were interested in leaving the island. They were very content with who they were and what they had.
A true life-lesson that I wish could be understood in the States!!


#4

Yeah, we had a good wry laugh at ourselves about that. Pulled us up short.

On our first trip to the DR which was to Samana, we hired a taxi totake us down to the town and the driver had actually been a taxi driver in Toronto for a while. He said he came back because the winters were too cold. We could not blame him in the least!!! LOL. We were down there avoiding the winter ourselves.

Rose