"Look, the white girl's carting water!" exclaimed a middle-aged woman in surprise as I carried two buckets full of water up the street to the house where I was living. The water mains had broken, so my neighbors and I had been fetching water from two blocks away for the past three days.
I had been living in La Ciénaga, a barrio of Santo Domingo, for a couple of months. In the Dominican Republic, as in many sites around the world, light-skinned people tend to be wealthy and occupy a place of privilege, and dark-skinned people occupy the lower social strata and supply their manual labor to the wealthy. White foreigners are particularly viewed as privileged, since they come from wealthy countries and tienen la manera [have the means] to do as they wish.