Wednesday, February 11, 2009


<-- Haiti from the border

Me on the Dominican side of the border
This past weekend, my family and I went to Dajabon, the town on the Dominican side of the Dominican/Haitian border. We stayed in my dad's friend's house and it was very different from my apartment in Santiago. Dajabon is a much smaller town and is more of a campo than a city like Santiago. It was a really neat experience.

Saturday night, we went over to my dad's friend's uncle's house to make pastels, play dominoes, and just relax. There were so many people there and my family didn't know anyone, but it was still fun. I really enjoyed making the pastels. You put a pumkiny paste in a banana leaf, then on top of the paste put pork and olives and then you fold it all up and tie it with string and cook it for what seemed like hours because I was so hungry and the pork I nibbled on while we were making them was so good! They were delicous and it was really fun to prepare them with my dad's friend's uncle, his niece, sister, wife, and my mom. After we were done eating, my family and I played dominoes for a bit before heading back to where we were staying.

Sunday, I woke up to roosters, for it's impossible to sleep when they are awake. We went to visit more people on their farms. My dad gave one man medicine in return for an enormous amount of grapefruit and some coconuts. I love drinking the coconut milk straight from the coconut.

Also on Sunday, we went to the Dominican/Haitian border, which was a bit overwhelming. The difference between the Dominican Republic and Haiti is immediate. Dajabon is not a major city, but in crossing the border, you go from a thriving town into desolate and extreme poverty. I didn't expect the difference to be so drastic. Haitians cross the border the sell things in the DR. The border isn't very secure. The people who have passports go through the official gate, but then there are also many people who just walk across a shallow river that is the border. Throughout Dajabon, there are military stops to attempt and control people who cross illegally and drugs, but their method of the checking seemed so superficial. Here, dark skin is immediately associated with Haiti, however, there are many dark complected Dominicans and I'm friends with two very light skinned Haitians. When we were get stopped at the military check points, we would roll down our windows, and they would look at my family, whose all lighter complected and let us go with out any questioning. All in all, it was a very eye opening weekend.

Two different people this weekend, asked if I was from Europe and I thought that was funny. :) One asked me if I was from Spain and another from France.

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