Yesterday I landed in the Dominican Republic to complete a month-long fieldwork excercise for my study on transnational migrant organizations and their development impacts. I was immediately taken to one of my study sites, the town of Villa Sombrero in the Baní region. First impressions: the car ride reminded me a lot of the trip I used to make as a youngster from San Juan to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. There is a certain similarity in the physical (natural and man-made) lanscape and in the overall movement of people in the surroundings. My hosts are Doña Carmen and Don Julio, two elders of the community that have been extremely gracious and attentive. I am also under the care of the leaders from Soprovis, one of the organizations that I am studying. Yunio, one of the leaders, has become an instant friend. He’s a smart, young agriculturalist who’s devoted to his community and works hard to support his family.
I hit the ground running. Just hours after my arrival, I was taken to two community meetings where I’ve met a good number of the local leaders and got a sense of how the organizational ecosystem works. Right now, I am discovering the local amenities. I am sharing a small, cramped room with some young men and woman in an Internet center just steps away from where I am staying. While I type away these dispatches, they are chatting with friends all over the world. Using keyboards and cameras, they keep in touch and make virtual distances disappear.
For those interested, I’ll be sharing some experiences of this trip every once in a while. Hasta pronto.