A Discussion with Elizabet Cruz, Checker at St. Ignatius of Loyola Technical Institute, Dajabón, Dominican Republic
February 20, 2018
Background: As part of the Education and Social Justice Fellowship, in May 2017 undergraduate student Mary Breen interviewed Elizabet Cruz, checker at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Technical Institute (Instituto Tecnológico San Ignacio de Loyola, ITESIL) in Dajabón, Dominican Republic. With 10 years of experience at this Jesuit high school, Cruz describes the increasingly permeable nature of the border and the growing interaction between Dominicans and Haitians.
How long have you worked at this school?
Have you lived in Dajabón your whole life?
Can you describe your experience living here at the border? Have there been changes?
It has changed greatly from when I was a child until now. When I was a child, we didn’t see a single person of Haitian nationality that was crossing over or walking along the streets. There were some cases, but not many. Once the selling of used clothes and the commerce between people started, there has been a great flow of people. There are people that come only to sell, and they go back to their country of origin. On market days, they return. It has changed greatly. The market and commerce has increased the population and changed the economy and environment.
Do you think education plays a role in the change?
Yes, it has a significant change. People come to study here. In this school, we have some students from there and other foreigners. They have been permitted to travel on both sides.
What is different about this school given that it is Jesuit?
It is different in every sense. The education is different in quality and since we have very good morals and etiquette here; that is not at all schools. The education of the Jesuits is very good.
In what way does a Jesuit education influence the situation at the border?
We have relationships with [Haitians] and have permitted them to come here and educate themselves. That is what makes someone grow.
How would you like to see the situation at the border change?
Permit not as many immigrants here. At the border when there are new people, I do not want the mistreatment. It is about control and which foreigners are able to stay here and which cannot. At a social level, there are many girls that come to work in prostitution here, and I do not like that a border has this type of work.
In your opinion, is this school a model for the educational system in Dajabón?
Yes, because this school exceeds other schools here and above all at a national level. The students here are excellent when they leave.