I've been never hungry in my life without knowing that there will be enough food available in next few hours. Yet hungry people are this world reality. The picture was taken in the midst of endless sugar cane plantations in El Seibo region of East Dominican Republic in a region where air-conditioned tourist busses never protrude. Roads? 16 km in 2 hours, four-wheel drive. Social conditions - slavery. There is were I was desperately begged not for money but for food - "comida buona". Money has no value. One can not spend it. It is impossible to drink more than too much disgusting sugar-cane rum. The business is running on illegal Haitian workers, people who work 10 hours a day hungry, having no documents, no rights of any kind, and no chance to leave the social bottom. They live in wooden barracks, mud and dirt on the floor, about 3 square meters per person. They drink, cook, wash, and defecate into the same irrigation channels laden with dirt and chemicals which are inevitable in such a mono-culture plantations. The hunger in this country is of an unusual form. There are abundant eatable fruits everywhere in the woods, also one can suck tons of sugar cane raw if he wants, so it is hard to starve to death. But "comida buona" is very scarce. I was told that these people get food like bread, potatoes, vegetables just once or twice per week, meat and milk not even be though off. I was like paralyzed and unable to take pictures but a few. Anyhow, a huge armed man quickly and resolutely showed me that taking pictures in this place is not considered as an appropriate behavior.
Critiques | Translate
Luko (13998) 2003-04-29 16:17
I like your pic very much for both informational and aesthetic contents. great background threatening sky contrasting with the warm browns of the zebus.
though, I would have appreciated more DOF as only the animal heads are in focus.
AdrianW (2274) 2003-04-29 16:47
Interesting shot, and fascinating description! It's hard to believe that things like this are still happening in the 21st century :-(
Porteplume (3393) 2003-04-29 17:29
Thank you for the very well written info Amadej. It gives even more value to this very interesting photo...
amy (40) 2003-04-30 2:28
great documentary photography, really moving thanks for posting it.
Leo (881) 2003-04-30 7:20
Welcome to "The Real World" Amadej. Tourist can be great Concience and Awareness emissaries.However, most of us like to document the beauty of our travels totally overlooking the downside of places we visit! Most of us talk about the horrible things that occur in countries we visit and most of us are oblivious to the homeless and poor of our own countries. The money required to pay for our cameras, accesories and travels may never seen by some people around the world in their entire lifetime! So its great to point the camera towards reality, in fact it could be a great project...lets all of us point our cameras to reveal some of this things at least one day in the month!!! The sugar that sweetens our coffee and drinks comes to us cheaply from the bitter infrahuman life styles of migrant workers and near enslaved condition of people whose countries will not provide them of the essencials to live a dignified life...great reality check!!!
gringofil (0) 2003-05-11 2:56
Incredible picture. Shows life as it really happens for these people. Excellent. Good to know that you got out of there without being hurt.
oscar (0) 2003-06-05 17:51
Moving picture and story.
coronado (0) 2003-10-20 14:19
Well the picture is a realy nice one. But you over exaggerated with your descripcion. I do live in the Dominican Republic. And I know the problems of haitians. They are not slave and you exaggerated when you say "They drink, cook, wash, and defecate into the same irrigation channels". Even an lunatic wouldn't do that.
So, do not exaggerate your descriptions to earn points in your pictures.
WorldGuru (176) 2003-11-25 10:51
TrekEarth is a wonderful site where we can see extradinary sights and read about what we see. Others with a contrary point of view can post it, as Coronado did. I have heard that the difference between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is like day and night. It took me three months to aclimate to the stark differences in Korea and my home country when I traveled there. Before I left, I developed a great appreciation for the place and its people. My description of Korea when I first arrived and when I finally left would be totally different. It is often hard to accurately close the gap on all the facts in every situation.
Bravo to Amadej for posting the picture and relating his story as he saw it. And, bravo to Coronado for taking the time to post his critique pointing out Amadej's exaggerated expression of his perceptions. Most of all, bravo to TE for providing a place where we can learn.
Nina (4965) 2003-11-29 8:36
Well documented Amadej.Very moving story.
LeoDR (6) 2004-12-16 2:27
Slaves? Wrong word, there is no slaves in the DR. But, nice picture.
mightyweed (1292) 2005-10-10 21:07
Your picture is stricking. Increadible first plan...great colors and sharpeness...your description makes me sad....and feeling sorry for all the people in the world who suffer.
maloutim (9623) 2006-10-04 7:54
Thanks for this testimony! Very sad and depressing!
However, the composition is good, with the bay oxen in the foreground, the men on top of the work site, with coloured tee-shirts making some bright spots against the dark sky as the background, as if this dark colour underlined the misery of slavery.
MabiDpalo (0) 2007-03-05 7:37
First I would like to thank you thank you for showing the world the reality that some people are living in my country. You are absolutely right. For those that don’t know this picture shows a new way of slavery in the Dominican Republic. It is sad “yeah of course it is sad”, it is the truth and everybody knows that the truth hurts. If having a job from 06:00 AM to 5:00 PM and sometimes later than that for a less than 500 dollars a month is not being a slave then someone tell me what the word slave really means, come on guys the picture speaks by it self most of these people are also Dominican that didn’t have the proper resources to have an education and have ended up in “los Campos de Caña” also. Every Dominican knows that the Central Romana is the richest association in the Dominican Republic they can do better than that with these poor people.
- Copyright: Amadej Trnkoczy (amadej) (1285)
- Genre: Gens
- Medium: Couleur
- Date Taken: 1998-06-00
- Categories: Vie quotidienne
- Camera: Nikon 8008S, Tamron AF 35-105/2.8, Fuji Velvia
- Versions: version originale
- Thème(s): Men at Work, TE Trieste exhibition: “Viaggiando Immaginando”, Sugarcane [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2003-04-29 12:38
- Favoris: 2 [voir]