Johnny Pollera


Documenting the Dominican Republic

Words by Anna Gronewold
Photos by Andrew Dickinson

“Little Fockers” is playing on TV.

The voices are dubbed to Spanish and the black and white picture mixes with static. But Ghertha rearranges a couple handfuls of live wires – electricity borrowed from neighbors – and Ben Stiller joins the family all morning.

Gherta and Juan Roberto live in El Cercado in a cracked wooden house that sits a couple meters back from the street. “Johnny Pollera” is painted in peeling letters on the side. They’re not the only Haitian family in town, but they are Haitian, so they stick out.

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The kids lose interest in the movie. Ten-year-old Berlinda dances in and out the door, and 2-year-old Julia slides around the floor on empty charcoal sacks, screaming and giggling. Five-month-old Diefly naps and endures Berlinda’s pokes. He doesn’t cry.

Diefly was born in El Cercado in July. He has a…

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