Everyone’s favorite: Batey Margarita

Rustic Pathways’ Life in the Bateyes program serviced a handful of communities around San Pedro de Macorís, yet every group’s favorite place to go spend time was always the community called “Margarita.”

To me it always seemed as if Batey Margarita was the worst off of all the communities; like other communities there was generally no electricity or running water. The only water came from the two public taps in the middle of the two fields. The dirt “roads” seemed to always be particularly muddy, and the school situation there was pretty bleak. There is a wonderful woman there who takes it upon herself to educate the community’s plentiful supply of children as best she can, and she has no supplies; her “classroom” is the general area underneath a lone tree.

Whenever our van would drive down the dirt path, the children would start galloping towards us, literally overflowing, no, more accurately, pouring out of the doors of the dwellings. The mothers saw the approach of our van as a neon blinking light for “free babysitting” for the next two hours, and we certainly didn’t mind, as we were there to play with the children. We came with an arsenal of arts and crafts supplies. Particularly startling was that the children of Margarita would eat the crayons once the tropical sun would begin to soften them, and worse yet was that when we would confiscate the crayons, the stealthy children would rassle up some colored pencils from our stash and gnaw on those, too.

Despite the obvious saddening situations we encountered in this batey, our groups really made the most of providing a significant block of time where the children were the center of everyone’s attention. We always had a structured arts and crafts activity for the first hour, but this would always happily disintegrate as the children found new friends in our group members. Our students did a fantastic job making the children feel valued in a community where it may not be easy to be a little kid. Our groups said Margarita was their favorite batey, because the children were so eager to play and seemed so genuinely thrilled to get to spend an afternoon frolicking with people just as excited to be with them.

Enjoy this video of the day when one of our students brought his donation of musical instruments:

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