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Dominican Republic Bateyes
You probably know what or more specifically where Dominican Republic is; but what about Dominican Republic bateyes? Most people haven't got a clue what that word means. Actually, the three words have one meaning. So let us elaborate further.
Dominican Republic is a country in the Caribbean, more specifically, a country in one of the islands of the Caribbean, the 'Hispaniola Island'. Dominican Republic is the two-thirds of the tropical heaven 'Hispaniola'. What about bateyes? Well, bateyes is derived from the word 'batey', which means 'a 'company town' where sugar workers reside. A company town is a town or a urbanized area wherein all the structures (real estates, buildings, utilities, hospitals, businesses), whether commercial or residential, are owned by a single company. Bateyes are mostly found in Dominican Republic and Cuba.
The basic corporation of a sugar manufacturing company is called 'ingenio' in the Dominican Republic. A single ingenio is made up of one main administrative office, a sugar processing plant, the settlement that surrounds the office and processing plant, sugar fields and various production equipments and machineries. all of the above mentioned is collectively called a batey. To summarize, Dominican Republic bateyes are company towns where sugar workers reside.
Most, if not all, of the Dominican Republic bateyes are situated near sugarcane fields. The sizes of Dominican Republic bateyes vary, depending on the size of the sugar company.
For more than seventy years, male Haitians immigrate to work on Dominican Republic bateyes each year during harvest season. These immigrants from Haiti who want to work on Dominican Republic bateyes are called 'congoses' (or 'un congo', term for one individual), which is a mocking expression the same as 'hick' or 'chump'. These people who want to work on Dominican Republic bateyes are accommodated in five on a small room that has no bedding. These people experience long and hard work on these Dominican Republic bateyes.
In the old times, government leaders of the country pay the Haitian leaders to recruit large number of Haitians to work in the Dominican Republic bateyes. Today, individual ingenios and colonos hire people called 'buscones'. Buscones are headhunters that collect a percentage of the earnings of the congoses.
The sugar industry used to be a profitable industry in the Dominican Republic. However, due to low wages and the ever present lack of education, workers of the Dominican Republic bateyes get poor health services. Today the government of the Dominican Republic is slowly transforming these bateyes into new kinds of community. A good example of this is the Los Alcarizos in the city capital Santo Domingo. The Los Alcarizos was once a batey, now it has grown into a totally different kind of community.