Day 4: Amelia’s S. Perspective

            Today was filled with new things I have never seen before. We traveled to the Batey as well as saw a Homework Room. We also went to visit a community center that was not far from the homework room where Natalie, the Peace Core Worker at Caminante, teaches a group of girls once a week. While we were there, a little girl came in selling bananas. At first I didn’t think much of it because this entire trip we have been bombarded by venders selling us things. However, Julito (one of the Caminante Educators) was very adamant that everyone buy a banana. When we met with Erin and Alex (who had both worked at Caminante) at Hiram before the trip I remembered they said “do whatever someone from Caminante says”, and so I bought 2 bananas. Our group ended up buying all of the little girl’s bananas. Julito brought her into us so that she could thank us. I never saw her face from where I was sitting but I saw her back. She was wearing a sundress that was tattered and torn, and it could not hide what I saw on the back of her right shoulder. Before coming on this trip, us nursing students studied a number of images of different types of physical abuse. The little girl had about a 2 inch circle of numerous cigarette burns. She would be beaten if she did not sell all her bananas. She was safe for tonight but not forever.

            I do not know her name, but I know that she just like many other children in Boca Chica and in the Dominican Republic share this burden. As a child my parents believed in “spankings” for punishment. My parents never left a mark on me and this was an acceptable punishment at that time. I know growing up however that just 1 spanking hurt. I have never been beaten and it is hard for me to even imagine what kind of quality of life these children have after they work long hours and then come home tired and hungry and are beaten.
            As a nursing student we will identify the children we see that have been abused. We will pass the information on to Caminante and they will be responsible for taking further action. We will be looking for any signs of physical or sexual abuse. Next week, will be difficult, especially when dealing with this issue. But, if I can save just one child from one beating, I have made a difference.
-Amelia S.

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