Happy Wednesday! I only have 3 weeks of solid training left and 1 week to taper before my big race to raise money for my mission trip. I feel ready and not ready all at the same time. I haven’t had a chance to update in two weeks since I’ve had a crazy busy work schedule, but last weekend I got back up to 9 miles. This time was faster than my first 9 miles by 3 minutes. That might not sound like much, but it makes me feel like the “Little Engine That Could.” (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…). I still have to work up to 12 miles before the big day, so I have some distance to cover, but I’m feeling good.
Also since my last post, we had another meeting with our Mission Trip Team. One of the interpreters (named Ariel) who will be working with us in the Dominican came to speak to us about how the Dominicans will feel about us being there and what we can expect. He grew up in the cities of the Dominican and his parents grew up in a Bateye (sugar cane village). I learned a great deal, so I’m going to fill you in:
The biggest assumption that Ariel broke for me is that since we’ll be going to the Dominican, we’ll be working with Dominicans. It seemed logical to me. The truth is that we will be working predominantly with spanish speaking Haitian immigrants to the Dominican. I forewarn you that I am most certainly over simplying the following explanation. (aka, don’t use this for your next book report on Hispaniola)
See, the Dominican people aren’t happy with immigrants coming into their country without proper paperwork. That means that Dominicans are documented to work in resorts and factories, making upwards of $9 a day as a bellman or line worker. The Haitian immigrants are not. Sugar cane companies ship Haitians in to Dominican to work (on contract) in the sugar fields cutting cane. This is a job Dominicans who can get other work do not want because it is incredibly hard labor. The Haitians living in the bateyes are paid only $3 a day. Yes, you read that right…. $3 a day. Even if they worked 365 days each year, they would make less money than I need to raise for my trip. Because of this, they have a hard time putting food on the table. And since they can’t put food on the table, they certainly cannot afford to send their children to schools. While the primary schooling is free, it requires uniforms that these families simply cannot pay for and the cycle perpetuates. These families don’t return to Haiti because, sadly, what would await them if they returned are conditions worse than they currently have.
$3 a day. That’s our morning coffee. That’s what they have to support a family on. It costs an American $160 to sponsor a Dominican child to go to school for the whole year. A parent working sugar cane would have to save their entire paycheck for nearly two months in order to give one of their children an education. We’d have to pass over our morning latte for the same time period or give up just one fancy dinner out for a family of four. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we all go cut caffeine cold turkey and I want everyone to enjoy their family time. My mind just simply exploded when I thought about how easy it is for most of us to cut $3 out of our daily budget when that’s all these families have to put into their budget daily.
I don’t really know what I expect you to do with all this information except to sit with it and realize how lucky we truly are. Odds are you’re reading this on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet with high speed internet. I don’t care how bad the bills might look this month, I assure you that you are still the 1% to the rest of the developing world. If you’d like to do more than just roll this information around in your heart, would you do one of the following:
Sponsor a child at the Joe Hartman School at the link below. The cost is only $160 a year to give a child a chance to advance beyond sugar cane. Visit this link http://www.drmissionteam.org/hartman
Would you sponsor me and my trip to the Dominican? I’m 20% to my goal as I run this race to raise money and awareness for the DR Mission Team. https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115
Or you can pray for me as I close in on my race for healthy body, mind, and spirit. You can also pray for our team as July 1st comes near and we fly to the Dominican. If you are interested in signing up for a specific time to pray for the team or for a specific team member, send me a message and when that info becomes available I’ll put you on the list.