This summer I was lucky enough to live and work in the Dominican Republic. Most days I helped build a home, latrines, and cement floors in Monte Coca Batey, alongside a team of truly incredible locals. This team and the community members I got to know are some of the most generous, kind, and caring humans I've met. It almost came as reflex to them to give to others, whether that be in terms of juice, water, food, or time spent helping with labor.
They gave without asking for anything in return, and they gave even if that meant they would be left with less for themselves and their family. They filled every interaction with respect and kindness, and offered friendship to anyone they met. They gave more of themselves, always, than most people I know from home. It was beautiful. I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships I built in Monte Coca, and am beyond appreciative to their community for the reminder to think about others far more often than we think about ourselves.
Unfortunately, like most bateyes, Monte Coca Batey is a marginalized area of the DR originally established as a temporary settlement for migrant sugarcane workers coming from Haiti. Over time, this batey (and others) became permanent settlements for growing families. However, these communities, their systems, and infrastructures have long been neglected by the government.
Until the government starts to make change, organizations like Rustic Pathways are helping to progress the infrastructure throughout the bateyes so that these families can enjoy an improved quality of life which they so very much deserve. I encourage you to help the cause by donating even a few dollars to the Rustic Pathways Foundation. Click the link in my bio, the funds go directly towards projects in Monte Coca Batey. ❤️