I woke up early this morning to meet  Padre Germán at the Parroquia de Santa Cruz. I had been trying to reach him for the past 2 weeks, without success. I finally met him. When I reached the door, I shouted, "hello!" Suddenly a tall Haitian man said, "yes! Come in!" He then pointed to his left where the priest was sitting. Apparently he was the security. Padre Germán stood up and greeted me with warmth and a smile. He was dressed with a white shirt and with his preaching bands. He then asked me, "how can I help you?" I introduced myself and my project. He then started telling me about key people in Baní that could help me. He mentioned a Dagoberto Tejada, who is a fountain of knowledge on the Banilejos and has an office at the Centro cultural. He also mentioned Alexis Agramonte, who gave a speech last night about the history of the Banilejos. Finally, he also mentioned that I should speak with Mr. Manuel Valera. I told him that I already had spoken with him. He then told me that Baní is a special city because it is the third most important city of the Dominican Republic. He was proud to mention that the colonialists that founded Baní bought the lands, and that the inhabitants of Baní are a product of that truth. At this point, I was not sure that he was going to give me access and entry to obtaining 10 more women to interview from his community. He then added, "what can I do for you?" I told him that I needed a formal presentation before his community after a mass, in order to acquire 10 more women to interview. He agreed to do this introduction this upcoming Sunday at 8:30 am. He told me to arrive earlier so that he would know exactly what he is going to say. Padre Germán was happy that I am performing this kind of research. He said, "excelente trabajo!" Then I thanked him for his help and went my way, as he blessed me for the day.

Next, I met Mrs. Lara Díaz, who happens to be the secretary of Dra. Pimentel Mejía. After explaining what the investigation entailed, she agreed to participate and signed the consent form. She then noticed that it was in English and said, "how am I to understand this?" I assured her that everything that I explained was perfectly translated. Now I know for the next time that I will have to translate the consent forms. So, we began with the genealogy. She knew up to her great-grandmother. She made a quick phone call to confirm more of her grandparents. I began asking the usual questions about marriage arrangements in the family; she did not express anything out of the ordinary. Her family is interesting in that they were nominal Catholics and years later, some of them became evangelical Christians. I noticed that she did not have knowledge of many customs of her family. This has to be due to her age (34).  I infer that there is a generation gap of knowledge between those that are younger than 50 years old. The younger generation has lost awareness of superstitions and traditions. However, Mrs. Lara Díaz did have knowledge of the weekend preparations in her family. She added that she still keeps this tradition. Her family accustoms to clean the house every Friday and wears the best clothing for Saturday and Sunday. She did mention that her mother would not cook on Saturday, but that she would buy the food. I had a particular interest of the ethical behavior of the family and especially the custom of the men wearing hats the entire time. She also added that the women would cover their hair with scarves. When I asked her if she knew about the Inquisition or having Jewish ancestry, she denied having that knowledge, but heard that there were Spanish ancestors along the maternal lineage. After the interview, she was curious about my questions. I shared some of the meanings and origins of the superstitions. She was amazed that these practices could be so old. She wondered if I was religious. When I told her that I was a Jew, she was amazed and I showed her my kippá (under my hat). She then proceeded to ask me a plethora of questions. I told her that it would take me at least a month to explain our tradition and way of life. She did not even know what or who are Jews.

You Might Also Like


¿Preguntas? ¿Comentarios? ¡Escríbenos aqui!