Dominicans Feelings Towards Foreigners in Puerto Plata

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To begin with, I lived in China for eight years, so I know the feeling of being a foreigner. Even the use of the word “foreigner” has special meaning for me as I heard it so often during my time there: 外国人, pronounced like this “why gwo ren” (don’t say “that’s not exact Pinyin romanization, because most people don’t know Pinyin). I’ve also lived for a number of years in Brazil and Russia.

Do they like us (us meaning us foreigners)?

No, not deep down they don’t. This does not mean that many will not treat us decently in the main, nor that most won’t be kind a good bit of the time. Why?  Many Dominicans are religious people, many aspire to be Christians. However, this does not mean their first instinct is to like us. It isn’t.

We’re Coming Into Their Land and Buying Up their Land

How would you like it if a bunch of people came into your home town or city and quite visibly began buying all the nice houses and lots of land? And imagine also that you did not have the wherewithal to make those purchases, and that you did not have any reasonable likelihood of being able to afford a home or land in the future? And take me for example. House purchases aside, I claim to know a good bit about the Bible. And here I come along and presume to be able to pontificate about scripture in a way that is more sophisticated than most Dominicans who profess an interest in “the Book.”  Not even that is left. (I’m speaking now of the phenomenon that Nathan spoke of when he chastised David for his treatment of Uriah.). Sorry, I’m not a real holy, holy phoney baloney guy so I’ll try to spare you too many Biblical references.  At any rate the point is this: we end up taking everything from them and not leaving anything on the table. Just giving them handouts is not the way to go. There may be a place for that in some circumstances, but not as a long-term approach.

Many of Us Can’t Speak Spanish Well at all

We walk around living “wonderous” lives and all the while yapping away in some jibber jabber the average Dominican can’t comprehend. So, we’re coming in buying up land, and walking around talking about our plans for the same in a language they don’t understand.

We Often Take their Women

Now we’re getting back to where King David with all his wives, stole the one wife of Uriah (Bathsheeba). Nathan said to David you’ve got five pastures full of sheep and but you had to have that one solitary little baby sheep that Uriah was looking after. David, you couldn’t even allow him just that one little thing. You had to take it all. This is our human nature.

I don’t mean to say that we foreigners come here and commit adultery. For many of us we have had families already, have kids, but would like to have a girlfriend here in the Dominican Republic. I’m no exception (except that I don’t have kids and have not yet had a family as such). So, we go on to take a Dominican woman as a partner, or girlfriend or even wife. That’s one less woman available for the Dominican men in their 20’s and 30’s. I learned about supply and demand in economics class at university. It’s like saying illegal immigrants don’t depress wages of working people. No, I don’t think most Dominican men love us coming here. I know we provide jobs for some of them, and raise wages as well.

What is the Solution?

Probably not any government program of any kind. There may not be a solution, but a good start is to know the truth.