Learning tour in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) led a group of 10 people from across Canada on a “Caribbean Solidarity Trip” to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, from June 30 to July 7, 2018. The group was accompanied by CJI Director Jenny Cafiso and Outreach Coordinator Pieter Niemeyer and they were hosted in the two countries by Fr Mario Serrano SJ and Centro Montalvo, a Jesuit social action centre.

Participants visited communities impacted by Canadian mining companies such as Barrick Gold and Unigold, Fe y Alegría schools, shelters for street children, Jesuit Migration Service staff who work at the Haitian border, a textile free trade zone where 10,000 people work, and workers on banana plantations.

Much was learned about poverty, inequality, racism and forced migration and what is being done in the region for social justice and the environment.

Ramón Ventura shows the impact of gold mining on agriculture. In his right hand is a healthy cacao pod while in his left, is what currently grows. Credit: J.Cafiso/CJI

One of the learning tour participants, from Quebec, said,

“During the stay, I was able to better appreciate the considerable effort made by the Jesuits who defend human rights through their various works. I now have a better understanding of the socio-political and economic systems that guide our political and economic decision-makers in the management of the North-South trade development.”

Another participant, from Saskatchewan, said,

“I was so impressed by the commitment we witnessed – people were working for justice despite the potential cost to themselves. But it seemed to be a joyful commitment – people were serving their communities with tremendous love and tenderness.”

You can read more about the Canadian Caribbean Solidarity trip here.

Banner photos: Tour participants from Canada together with their hosts in the Dominican Republic (Credit: CJI)