You know those really annoying kids that ask questions about everything? The ones that want to know why cargo is transported on a ship while shipments travel in cars? The ones that have to know why streets have certain names? And how roads were built? The ones that ask about why the mirror in the bathroom fogs the most when you shut the water off, as opposed the while you’re showering?
I was one of those annoying kids. Always asking questions. Always trying to connect dots. Always pondering the deeper meanings of things.
Face value was invaluable to me. I wanted to understand everything.
I wanted the truth. The marrow.
My poor mother.
I was really annoying.
Eventually, I grew up. I never stopped asking questions, I just stopped verbalizing every single one.
I’ve had millions of questions since I landed in DR. I have questions about the flora and the fauna, questions about the language, questions about why men speak in cat language when anything female walks by and how many of them have had any luck with the ladies that they’ve hissed at, questions about laws, education, policy, and questions about life.
I see dots everywhere I go. Asking questions helps me put lines between the dots, it helps me to draw the picture.
Working in the bateyes, seeing the snapshots that I’ve been blessed to witness, has led me to ask millions of questions. I want to know why the communities are so different than hunter/gatherer natives, why they haven’t learned to harvest the land, why there seems to be a lack of sacred space, why disgust is dealt with in such a counter-intuitive manor, and why it is so difficult to evenly distribute resources.
I don’t like the picture that those connected dots form. I don’t like what it makes me see, what I’m forced to admit, because there is nothing I can do about it.
Agencies. Governments. and Corporations.
Profit before people. Actually, profit on the backs of people.
My hope, what keeps me moving forward, is knowing that all major movements in history have been preceded by nameless people that went out with their fists in the air. We read about the heroes, the ones that stood on their shoulders. Martin Luther king. Gandhi. Rosa Parks. Cesar Chavez. Their lives meant something. They altered the course of history. But they only did so because someone before them had lived and died with such passion, making way for them to do the same.
My vision for my time here is not ignorant, or even naive. I know that I will leave and be forgotten. I know that I am just a face in a crowd of Americanos that venture to the Caribbean motivated by their altruistic ideals.
My hope is that there will be one day where the work that has been done culminates to the point that one charismatic leader stands, speaks, and is heard, because a few people gave a year or a month or a week to lay the foundation.