Note: Due to the technology and connectivity challenges WestJet’s Hero Holiday participants face in the Dominican Republic, the post below was stuck in cyberspace for a couple of days. Thankfully, we’ve got it now to share with you.
Today, Monday, April 16, officially marks our seventh day here in Puerto Plata. It was also our final build day in the community of Aguas Negra. After a long and labouring day on site we packed it up, hit the showers, grabbed a quick bite to eat and were off again. Destination: La Union for a movie night with the kids in the community.
La Union is home to many Dominicans but mostly Haitian refugees. Many of people that live in this community work at the local dump. There were a few familiar faces and exchanges when some of the WestJetters were reunited with the worker they had been introduced to and had the pleasure of working alongside during the previous couple of days.
We were greeted with cheers from the children who were all seated in front of a makeshift screen cleverly constructed of a bed sheet suspended from two trees. Every time one of the four trucks carrying the 50 WestJet Hero Holiday participants rolled in, it led to another burst of cheers.
The feature of the evening was Rango in Spanish (with English subtitles for those of us who have not quite perfected the language). There was a buzz in the air and the children were eager to find the best seat the house. The best seats, of course, included the laps of a few WestJetters.
The children here are so beautiful. So open, trusting and looking to win your affection. I looked around at one point and noticed we were all surrounded by children. Some had even fallen asleep in our arms. Cookies and Bits and Bites were handed out throughout the movie – a huge hit. A special thank you goes out to the Air Supply crew in Calgary for setting us up with those treats, which provided a little WestJet flare for the night.
Not only did the children come out, so did several of the adults in the community. What a great evening to be surrounded by good company. The perfect end to an amazing day. Thank you Live Different, the people and, especially, the children of La Union for a wonderful night under the stars.