Batey in Dominican Republic

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I received this video link through a KIVA (a non profit micro lender) email that features an entrepreneur who opened a small store in a batey (a sugar cane workers camp) showing off her inventory.

It's cool to pick out the vocabulary I know, hielo, aceite, champú. I thought others might enjoy it too.

To see a short YouTube video on Cloreta Yan, please click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch'v=8reiqg1pbBo&_te=mj

Here's an excerpt from the KIVA email:

For those that are not familiar with the term 'batey,? it is a
small, barrack-style community built and maintained by large sugar
corporations. These communities are often completely surrounded by sugar
cane fields, and often they lack basic resources such as clean drinking
water, transportation, reliable electricity, and medicine. The majority
of a batey's members work in planting, cutting, and loading sugar cane
for eight months of the year. The other four months are a stalemate,
during which there are no sugar cane earnings.

In order to ensure continued earnings, one entrepreneur, Cloreta Yan,
who lives on a rural batey, used her Kiva loan to open a small store in
her house. Her community previously did not have a store where they
might buy basic supplies, which meant that community members had to
travel to nearby communities to shop. When my fellow Kiva Fellow Kalie
Gold and I first visited Cloreta, she offered very basic supplies, such
as sugar, oil, and rice. When I conducted a follow-up visit, she was
selling over 20 items, including tobacco, ice, drinks, and cookies. She
is now earning 600 pesos a week and, according to her loan officer,
continues to expand the line of merchandise she sells.

www.kiva.org

3892 views
updated MAY 1, 2010
posted by yipyip
Thank you! This is the context in which I heard the word "batey" used, and now I understand.

4 Answers

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And if history repeats itself, after this woman establishes her store, the owner of the fields will buy her out and create a "company store" charging usurious rates, and lending schemes that perpetuate poverty and servitude to the owner. At least with KIVA, they won't be able to buy up her loan and force her out. Great program.

All in the name of capitalism. Cheerful, yes?

Now why in the world did someone call you cynical the other day? smile

updated JUN 13, 2009
posted by Valerie
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Thanks for sharing with us!

updated JUN 13, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
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What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.

updated JUN 12, 2009
posted by 00b83c38
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votes

For those that are not familiar with the term 'batey,? it is a

small, barrack-style community built and maintained by large sugar

corporations. These communities are often completely surrounded by sugar

cane fields, and often they lack basic resources such as clean drinking

water, transportation, reliable electricity, and medicine. The majority

of a batey's members work in planting, cutting, and loading sugar cane

for eight months of the year. The other four months are a stalemate,

during which there are no sugar cane earnings.

150 years ago in the U.S. they would have been called slave quarters. Of course, we still have migrant farm worker camps that aren't anything to brag about.
And if history repeats itself, after this woman establishes her store, the owner of the fields will buy her out and create a "company store" charging usurious rates, and lending schemes that perpetuate poverty and servitude to the owner. At least with KIVA, they won't be able to buy up her loan and force her out. Great program.
All in the name of capitalism. Cheerful, yes'

updated JUN 12, 2009
posted by 0074b507