Jul 5, 2011

Wow highlight #5: Visiting a Haitian batey

During our stent here in the Dominican, we have visited Haitian batey's three times, and each time I've walked away with images etched in my mind that have changed me.  Click here for more information about what a "batey" is, but in short what you need to understand is that it is according to wikipedia, "a company town where sugar workers live."  Often bateys are tucked back in the thick of the sugar cane fields and are somewhat isolated, and they each seem to take on their own personality and feel.  Sometimes you can taste an air of oppression and darkness, and sometimes an air of joy.  It is not as simple as that, and then again, it is.

When we went down to San Cristobal (southwest of the capital city of Santo Domingo), we visited a batey that some friends of ours have been visiting for some years now on missions trips (before they up and moved here back in January 2011!) And, as a side note, these new friends, the Gray family, have been an ongoing highlight for us Sawyers this year.  And, let me tell you, they are super stars (and this is going to be a totally separate blog on a different day, but you'll understand better when I tell you about them!  I digress . . . .)

Driving into the batey, which was about a mile from the main highway.

Batey housing.  Multiple people/families share each apartment.
Those little eyes stared a hole in me as we pulled up in the batey.

Shoes caked in mud as we begin to walk around.
There were many children without clothes and/or shoes.
Sometimes putting yourself in the other person's shoes means taking your shoes off.   

Catching rain for  water.

These women were doing the laundry . . . by hand.

Beautiful cherubs.
Those of you who know me well know that I am struggling to not paint my own house these delicious colors.  The Lord was so sweet when He sent us to the Dominican because the vivid surroundings and colorful houses are like a song in my heart that He planted long before I realized that I would be called here!

Some of my most favorite photographs that I have ever taken were on this day at the batey.  Like many other events from the month of June, I don't feel like I can adequately express the range of  emotions from outright discomfort to utter joy.  It was beautiful.

I think that I'm going to have to create "highlight 5.5: children at the batey".  It was incredible to watch my children, other's children and the children of the batey together.  No words needed when it comes to children diving right in with each other.

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