What it’s like to be a sugar cane field worker

Ebano and Pastor Mede
Ebano and Pastor Mede

“A sugar cane worker is like an orange,” said 45-year-old Ebano. “You take an orange, squeeze all its juice into a glass, and drink. Then you toss the crushed rind away. That is what they do to us.”

Ebano is a Haitian immigrant working in the sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic. Every day, from sunup to sundown, he gives everything he has into the work for a minimal wage.  When he is used up, he is uncertain what the future will hold.

Many Haitians like Ebano have immigrated to the Dominican Republic in hopes of escaping their desperate poverty for a better life. Without legal status and little to no education, these immigrants rarely find good opportunities and end up in the sugar cane fields. Even though he struggles under these harsh conditions, Ebano is still thankful for the income.

“It is by the mercy of God that we can work here,” he said.

The field work provides Ebano with a steady job, but he still finds it extremely difficult to feed his family. Thankfully, Ebano, his wife and his four children receive help through the Cross International-supported ministry of Pastor Jean Mede and his wife Estela. Pastor Mede, who is Haitian himself, provides social support, educational opportunities and pastoral care to sugar cane field workers. He is also able to give these families the nutrition they need thanks to Cross shipments of Vitafood, a protein- and vitamin-enriched meal pack that is filled with essential nutrients. One box of Vitafood sustains Ebano and his family for a month. Whether they eat the rice-based meal as a stew, savory cake or even mixed with fruit and blended into a smoothie – he said he is very grateful for the support.

Ebano’s family is one of 300 others who receive this vital assistance. And at each distribution Pastor Mede shares more than life-saving food, he directs families to the love of Christ, the true source of their provision and sustenance.

-Annie W.


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