Batey Cuchilla is located in the southwest of the Dominican Republic in the province of Bahoruco. It is a small community of about 500 residents, surrounded by sugarcane fields on all sides. Most residents are children or grandchildren of Haitian immigrants who came to work in the sugarcane fields, or were born in Haiti themselves. The economy of Batey Cuchilla is based primarily on the production of sugarcane. Additionally, some people work in other sectors of agriculture and raising livestock. There is a high rate of unemployment, illiteracy, and child labor. In Cuchilla, there is a community center and a four-room school that serves children up to fifth grade. There are no paved roads, and during heavy rains the roads often flood or are washed away. The majority of houses are made of wood with dirt floors and no bathroom. Electricity is intermittent and running water comes on about twice a day. There are no health services directly in Cuchilla, but there are two health clinics in other bateys nearby. Locals enjoy sports, especially baseball, and there is an informal baseball team that plays weekly against other communities. Locals also enjoy going to church and visiting with friends. There is an organized youth group, and a number of incredible youth leaders. (Taken from www.global-potential.org Community Profile)
More on bateys
A batey is a community built by a corporation to house migrant farm workers. In the Dominican Republic most bateys were built to house sugar cane workers from Haiti, but have grown to include many 2nd and 3rd generation Haitian Dominicans. Sugar cane workers are paid extremely low wages, and children born in the bateys often do not have birth certificates, which essentially renders them stateless and denies them an education past the eighth grade. The government provides little to no services to the bateys. To learn more about living conditions in bateys, watch “The Price of Sugar,” a highly revealing documentary about the plight of cane workers and batey dwellers.