Exploring a Batey by Shara Foreman
There were so many memorable moments on our trip that it was really hard to just pick one. On Monday morning we headed to our first Batey (bat-ea); one of the poorest ones. A Batey is a village that is owned by the Sugar Cane companies for the workers and their families to live in. Many of these villages are very run down, no running water within the homes, and outhouses for community use. There is usually a church and a school in the village, but many of the children’s families can’t even afford the supplies required to send their children to the school. It was really hard to see so many children not getting an education that we take for granted here in Canada. But we were so thankful that the parents brought their children to us at the school building, and the children who attend the school also joined us. We had a full program planned out, but some of the plans went out the window and we just went with the flow! At every Batey, Pastor Miguel had organized food to be brought with us to feed all the children, their families and many went home with leftovers. The children’s eyes grew so wide when they saw their heaping plates, just for them! It was an amazing morning of telling the Gospel through translation, paintings, and actions. We played games and did crafts with the children too!
On our way out of the Batey, we drove along the sugar cane fields and saw many workers in the fields. We pulled the bus over and Pastor Miguel and some of the other men got out and started handing out plates of food to the workers as well. The smiles that brought to their faces, well I just wanted to cry. Many of them work out in the hot sun all day and don’t get to eat. They kept saying thank you over and over! They waved as we drove away; how such a small thing in our minds can be such a HUGE blessing to someone. What a reminder how God can use us in even the small things to make a difference!!