Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Batey Libertad pide su ayuda (asks for your help)

You may remember a previous posting about Batey Libertad. Bateyes are where agricultural workers live, and are among the poorest places in the DR. My friends on Batey Libertad have been asking me for some time for some help in getting money for fixing up their church, which is in sad need of some help. You probably know I am not a religious person, but everyone has a right to their own kind of comfort, and this church/community center certainly provides that to many batey residents. I feel bad I haven't been able to help them out so far, so please help me to remedy this situation!

I've added a "Donate" button to my page over there on the left. Please donate whatever you can to my Batey Libertad fund. This money will go into a Paypal account, and I will then send that money on to them. I'm not a non-profit so I can't offer you tax deductions or anything, but I do promise you that whatever you donate will go straight to the church at Batey Libertad (minus the approx. 6% I pay in fees for sending money to the DR). Even $5 or $10 would make a difference to them - that's already 165 or 330 pesos!

Previously, they had written to me explaining their need for a few fans and some paint, as well. You can take a look at the church in this previous post:

Here is the new letter I received from my friend Yanlico from Batey Libertad this morning. In short, the gist of it is that the church already had some problems and then was robbed several times this year. The robbers stole their speakers, microphone, chairs, robes, and decorative items. Besides needing to replace these items, they want to put bars on the windows and secure the door in order to prevent future thefts.

"Reciba un fuerte saludo y muchas bendiciones en el nombre de Dios.

"Le escribo en el nombre de la Iglesia Cristiana en Batey Libertad. Después de este cordial saludo, quiero manifestarle los siguientes.

"Desde el inicio de este año 2008, hemos sido víctimas de robos en el templo, donde han llevado algunos objetos útiles e importantes. La primera vez se robaron cosas decorativas como, manteles, sillas, micrófonos y hasta las flores y otros. Hace dos meses atrás también nos robaron dos bocinas (speaker) y un micrófono de gran valor que hasta ahora no podemos comprarlo, suerte que tuvimos guardados la otra bocina.

"Entonces, por estas razones hemos decidido y planificar la idea de que la única forma de estar seguro es ponerle más seguro a las puertas y ventanas reforzándolas con hierro y así no tendríamos que llevar y traer las cosas en cada momento de los cultos. Por eso estamos pidiendo ayuda y colaboración. Primero comenzamos con los miembros de la iglesia y luego las otras personas amigos y colaboradores de la comunidad como usted y sus amigos. Solo quiero recordarle que no es algo obligatorio.

"Pues, según una cotización que hicieron, el costo de los materiales ascendió a un monto de $10,000.00 sin la mano de obra que costaría $3,000.00. Espero que cooperen con lo que puedan y así no estarían ayudando a la iglesia sino estarían cooperando con la obra de Dios. Muchas gracias.



Free! Free at last!

You may wonder where I've been and why I haven't been posting. First, I was teaching at the University of Arizona, which took all my time. Then I moved to Berlin, where I am at the moment, working on improving my mediocre German. In Feburary I was indeed back in the DR for my usual carnival-season activities with Los Confraternos. And then......

I finished my dissertation.

I defended on Sept. 5 and my degree was apparently awarded last week.

Can you believe it? I can hardly believe it myself.

Anyway, it's titled Merengue típico in Dominican transnational communities: Gender, geography, migration, and memory in a traditional music. 700+ pages all about your, and my, favorite music. I need to get to work on turning it into a book, but frankly, I'm a little worn out and need a dissertation vacation. Anyway, anyone who wants to tackle it, feel free to email me and we'll discuss.

I'll next be in the DR in January-February for, you guessed it, some carnival research. In the meantime, I'll try to do a better job of keeping all you faithful readers up to date.

By the way, if you haven't taken a look at or listened to the tipico CD I co-produced for Smithsonian Folkways, what are you waiting for?? It has all my favorite stuff on it and I wrote the liner notes myself. They are highly educational and you can even download them for free. I don't earn any royalties from it, but La India Canela does, so you might as well buy the CD while you're at it.

Here's the album:

And here you can watch a video about it: