Christmas Eve Miracle

christmas-eve-pic.jpgI am currently in Dominican Republic, visiting our Hero Holiday sites with my parents and some friends, and catching up with old friends from the garbage dump and the villages that are forever etched in my heart. On Christmas Eve, I had a little miracle, and last night I went to sleep with peace because I knew it was going to be ok. As many of you know, this past summer, while here on Hero Holiday, I found a little boy in the garbage dump that was orphaned, and who didn’t remember his own name, because his mother and father had been dead for so long. I named him David, and his story has gone around the world! He stole my heart this summer, and for the past 4 months, he was always on my heart and the focus of so many of my prayers. He is an amazing and resilient kid, but I left here in August hoping he would be ok. The home that he was in made me a little nervous, but what did I know about life for Haitian refugees and what they are forced to do to survive?When I got to his village on Christmas Eve, I started looking for him, as there were lots of kids around our vehicle, but none of them David. Our translator, Bernard, and I started to look for him throughout the village. I went to the house I had last seen him staying in, and there was a new family there. We asked around, and after much confusion, found out that that family had moved to another house. We got there, and the lady that was there told us a terrible story: that David had freaked out and wrecked their house, and that she had to beat him with a leather belt twice. As she is telling me this, I am trying to control my facial expressions. In my head, I keep repeating, “Ok, Christal, calm down and don’t judge this situation until you find out the truth”. With measured control in my voice, I asked if I could see him. She proceeded to tell me that he no longer lived with them, and that he was now with a Dominican Family up the hill. Her son led us up the hill and as we wound our way through little rivers of garbage and mud, past houses with blaring sound systems, dodging chickens, dogs, and other unidentifiable creatures, we finally came to a nice painted cement house (a rarity for this village) and knocked on the door (also a rarity!). Inside, a man with kind eyes looked out at us and smiled, and Bernard explained to him who we were. He replied, “Oh, yes, we were expecting you to come find us!”. And then, from out around the corner of the doorway, I saw those same beautiful eyes searching mine. As soon as he saw it was me, he came forward. We met in the doorway, and I held him and cried. I kept kissing his cheek and telling him how much I missed him and how much I loved him. He just stayed there with his arms around me and nodded his head. I turned to the man whose house we were in and I told him thanks so much for taking such good care of him. He told me, “I can see that you love him very much. We love him too. We brought him here because we don’t want to see him being mistreated anymore.” That was what I needed to hear: that he was somewhere safe and somewhere where he was loved.We began to walk back down to meet up with everyone, and David showed me his new school, as well as where he and his friends play. He told me is happy now and that he feels safe. The people that have taken him in were friends with some missionaries that visit his village, and they were very good to him and made him know he was loved.This was my Christmas miracle: the gift of being able to see a dream realized, and the reality that there is never a small kindness that is wasted. Life is about giving yourself away, because it is the gift that the world truly wants and needs. This year, on Christmas Eve, I experienced that in a whole new way.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 27th, 2007

Stellar Opportunity!

Hey all Heroes, we just got the inside scoop on an amazing opportunity! If you have joined us for Hero Holiday in the past, and are the between the ages of 16-24, you may want to consider applying for this cool opportunity:

The 2008 Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit, being held in Florida, is looking for 6 students to bring down to the conference for free! To apply, you need to fill out the application here :

Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit.

This could be an amazing opportunity to get inspired and connected with people like you who are looking for ways to make a difference and change the world. Your Hero Holiday experience is a great launching point for something such as this, so go ahead and apply!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 21st, 2007

Good Morning Mexico!

Here comes building day two! The excitement level is at the ‘we love our cereal’ level, but the chit chat is about how much can be accomplished today. The walls are going up and the roof is going one Our Christmas crew are all here, despite the best efforts of a snowstorm in eastern Canada. There were canceled flights, delayed flights, missed connections and ‘delayed’ baggage. Baggage that according to one of the air line agent, and I quote, “Are probably out there somewhere.” Hmm. Probably. The trip started on Mexican time, and what a lovely time that is. The work went well yesterday, lots of bent nails and jokes about that. Gerard, our local Newfie Hero Holiday builder, is having a great time with all the nails that the girls ‘got started for him’. The walls are all framed and sheeted and the roof panels framed and ready to go up. Today…tar. Hooray. A little household tip fro our experience in with tar, gasoline will take it off the skin, but a friendlier way to do it is baby oil. There we are, some of us are smarter now then we were a moment before. fisch tacos The skeleton is of a whale, we pass it every day going to the site outside a “fisch taco” stand. Last night we made sure we were all in the Christmas spirit, and decorated the tree we picked up in Ensenada. Great fun, Charles and Tricia’s boys (Hero Holiday Director) sons pitched in with great gusto, and inexact placement. All in all…a great start, a great day and very much looking forward to a great Christmas. Xmas Tree

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 20th, 2007

Lori’s House

One of the houses that were built with the team in November was built in memory of Lori. Friends and family raised the funds for the project and left a memorable and meaningful mark with a family and a community in Mexico. The following is a message from her family. Lori's house with the family and work team Our daughter Lori Ann was a loving and caring person, always ready with a helping hand for anyone who was in need. She would fight to the bitter end to make sure justice was done no matter who it was. Lori loved Mexico and the people of Mexico, she was especially fond of the children. She had many friends in Mexico and always enjoyed going to their homes for a visit, cheering at a soccer game or enjoying the children’s birthday parties as well. Lori would be so happy that “Lori’s House” is built in her memory for a needy family in Mexico. Ho proud and honoured she would be. We thank everyone involved in the project so very much, from the people who donated to the builders.Lori passed away September 2006, way too soon, she was so loved and is missed very much. Mom (Jean)Dad (Gary) Brother (Scott)

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 9th, 2007