Caribbean Solidarity Trip

**Upcoming Solidarity Trips**

To learn more about upcoming learning tours, please see 2019 Solidarity Trips.

2018 Caribbean Solidarity Trip

Canadian Jesuits International led a Caribbean Solidarity Trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti from June 30 to July 7, 2018. The group was accompanied by CJI Outreach Coordinator Pieter Niemeyer and CJI Director Jenny Cafiso and locally it was hosted and led by Fr Mario Serrano SJ. Participants learned about social justice and environmental issues in the region, including poverty, pollution, inequality, racism and forced migration. They visited numerous places and people, including banana plantation workers, Jesuit Migrant Service staff who work at the Haitian border, an inner-city project working with street children, communities affected by Canadian mining companies, textile free trade zones and Fe y Alegría schools.

Feedback from the trip has been very positive. Here we give a report from CJI’s Outreach Coordinator:

The Caribbean, in the summer, is not your typical Canadian venture. However, this trip was not your typical Canadian Caribbean excursion!

Sr Amparo talks about her work at the Fe y Alegria school in Dajabon.
(Photo: J. Cafiso/CJI)

Twelve participants, from across Canada, travelled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti for a social justice immersion tour to listen to the stories of people who courageously chose to share them with us:

• people who are migrants, on the move, hoping to find work that will offer something more for their families
• people who are vulnerable and often taken advantage of and abused
• people who work for less than living wages in garment factories or on banana plantations — and are willing to take work at whatever cost.

Our group visited communities where people shared stories about how they have been negatively impacted by Canadian mining operations, and fearful for the sustainability and safety of their water resources. One woman told us, “Water is life, and if you don’t have water, you don’t have life.”

After the trip, Sarah, a participant from Campion College in Saskatchewan, said, “I was so impressed by the commitment we witnessed — people were working for justice despite the potential cost to themselves. But it seemed to be a joyful commitment — people were serving their communities with tremendous love and tenderness. I hope I can bring that to my work as well.”

Together we all drew inspiration from the commitment people had to stand up for their human rights, to speak out, and to invite us to join them in solidarity. Jacques Boudrias, from Brebeuf College in Montreal, stated, “This experience transformed me and encouraged me to do more within CJI to promote social justice.”

Looking ahead, advocacy is one way we can promote social justice, especially as it relates to holding Canadian mining corporations operating in the Global South accountable to best practices both socially and environmentally.

Our thanks to Fr Mario, from Centro Montalvo, who accompanied our group, offering spiritual grounding and social analysis. CJI will be leading more Caribbean Social Immersion tours to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in May and July of 2019. Please return to our website soon for more details.

— Pieter Niemeyer

Sugarcane workers from Haiti, living in very poor accommodation, share their struggles. (Photo: J. Cafiso/CJI)

(Banner photo by J. Cafiso/CJI: Participants on the Caribbean Solidarity Trip)