ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Christianity, the Bible & Jesus

Finding Purpose in the Sugarcane Fields

Updated on September 9, 2014

A Look at the Sugarcane Fields

Looking out from the village to the sugarcane fields.
Looking out from the village to the sugarcane fields. | Source

Is There Purpose in Life?

It's a pretty common question, isn't it? What is my purpose? What is this all for?

I've recently graduated from college, and I'm currently looking for a job. Not just any job, a career. Because what I do will give me purpose, right? Whatever job I get will define who I am for as long as I remain employed. Isn't that the first thing we ask someone new: What do you do for a living?

Living...what is living? Call me a heretic, but I don't think working 9-5 to pay the bills and impress people with your resume is considered living. What if you hate your job? What if you lose it? How will you be defined then?

When I was in the Dominican Republic last summer, I spent a week in the sugarcane villages near Haiti. These villages are called the Bateys, the French word for village. I struggled with finding purpose in life for these people who had absolutely nothing but a field of sugarcane to harvest and send off to the Americans. What the heck did they have to live for?

But that's when I realized a simple truth from the heart of Christianity. Wherever I am and whatever I am doing does not matter; my purpose is to worship God. It's a simple truth that's hard to grasp, but it suddenly made sense to me in the middle of this world of nothing. Here is an excerpt from the journal I kept while I was there:

Looking for Life

What is there to live for when all you have in the morning is a field of sugarcane to harvest?
What is there to live for when all you have in the morning is a field of sugarcane to harvest? | Source

Life in the Bateys

Morning welcomes you with the roosters, goats, and a loud car horn, sometime before 6. Aside from the horn, it sounds so fresh in the morning. It sounds clean and new and inviting to another day of work. And what does a day of work look like in this village? Well for the men, they go out to the sugarcane fields. The boys will drive the cattle out to graze, wherever they can find grass. The children will run around and play and sometimes go to the nutritional center around noon for some lunch and singing.

In the Nutrition Center

The nutrition center is packed with children around lunch time, looking to get one balanced meal a day.
The nutrition center is packed with children around lunch time, looking to get one balanced meal a day. | Source

The Village

There is actually a long building here with several classrooms in it, a school that goes up through 8th grade. There is another long building that the sugarcane company built as housing for their workers; a long, hard, concrete building. There are other houses around too, a church, a ball field, a watering hole, I think there's a store somewhere, and a park that the pastor had built, but that has not been maintained.

Around the Town

A herder walks a group of goats through the village.
A herder walks a group of goats through the village. | Source
A tired donkey waits for his owner.
A tired donkey waits for his owner. | Source

What is the Point?

And I must wonder, what is the point of all this? Where do they find meaning in their lives? I don't know because I can't talk to anyone, but my guess is their lives are about survival. This is coming from my American point of view, but I can't imagine what would motivate me to get up everyday if I lived here.

I guess to do the work that needs done for the day, just like Americans get up to go to our jobs. We certainly put a lot of stock in what we do for a living, but I think we need to separate what we do from who we are. The lives the people here lead do not define who they are.

Just because they live farther away from a lot of people, without electricity and big, heartless chain stores, they can still worship God and they still have each other. No matter where you live or what your job is, how good you are at it or how many resources you have, you still need people.

Life is not worth living for yourself.

Are There Answers?

A child looks in at a free medical clinic being offered in the school building.
A child looks in at a free medical clinic being offered in the school building. | Source

Defining a Successful Life

What does it mean to be successful? I don't think you can write a definition to cover every person; you will have to ask the person himself, and the people he's touched, both positively and negatively. A successful person is one who can live peaceably with others and learn how to give to and gain from the people he comes into contact with.

What is life? Life is not earning good grades, but gaining knowledge. Life is not seeing the wonders of the world, but meeting the people of the world. Life is not searching for a spouse but searching for God.

And God will satisfy the longings of your heart. No matter where you live, no matter how poor and isolated and dirty, or how rich and impersonal and regulated, God is there and God will satisfy the longing of your heart.

The sun setting over a village in the sugarcane fields.
The sun setting over a village in the sugarcane fields. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)