Keeping the peace

Documenting the Dominican Republic

Words by Anna Gronewold
Photos by Andrew Dickinson

We met the mayor of Elias Pina by accident.

The town, about a mile from the Haitian border, hosts an open market every Monday and Friday. From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. vendors, many from the Haitian border town Belladére, are free to cross into the Dominican Republic without papers.



The market is a hot whirlwind of Kreyol and Spanish, old and new clothes, empanadas, plantains and knock-off purses. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder business transactions and two enormous speakers blasting Merengue music next to a string of just-killed chickens.





But the mayor isn’t needed at the market, where Haitians and Dominicans have been trading across the border by necessity for more than 20 years.  If the mayor visits, he comes later in the afternoon, to the line of enormous trucks waiting to carry vendors back to the border before it closes.

On Friday, Andrew…

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