What to expect

When I signed up for this trip I did not know what to expect. I envisioned being exhausted for 10 days, discovering the conditions of the people living in poverty, and doing hard but meaningful work. With LiveDifferent, every day I discovered wisdom that I would not have been able to discover anywhere else. The first one being the overwhelming kindness that the people in Puerto Plata have for one another and us “gringos”, as well.

Arriving in the town of Nuevo Renacer (New Life) we saw that the Dominicans freely greeted us with open arms and loving hearts. What I found particularly inspiring was that most families do not dwell on what they do not have, but share and give back to their own community by helping one other. By looking at their smiles and witnessing their laughter, I honestly could not tell how little they had due to the joy they shared with each another. 

I have also learned the importance of building relationships beforehand with the local leaders and people who are in need help. It is probably the most important thing when it comes to charity work. Without trustworthy relationships with the leaders of the community, the so-called “help” we would be giving them could potentially do more harm then good. For example, giving 100 pairs of shoes to one community may cause the shoe store down the road to go out of business. In our case, Sandra was basically the Mother Theresa of the community whose strength and love shone through the project and allowed us to build the home for the deserving family brick by brick. 

Alexia, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, Sentinel Secondary, 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 24th, 2014

It is better to give than to receive

As said in our debrief meeting tonight; it is better to give than to receive.   There’s truly nothing more rewarding than doing what you can to make someone’s life a little better. Today was our first work day, and boy isn’t everyone exhausted! Everyone worked harder than I could imagine.  You don’t feel the work until you’re on your way home because the smiles and encouragement from the locals give you all the energy and motivation you need.

When going on a Hero Holiday, you’re ready to give everything up just to give it all to people you feel need it more, but what you soon realize is you’re receiving just as much back in return. The locals are teaching you something. I have learned about true happiness, love, and strength in family and community. The family that we are building a house for has nothing but smiles on their faces, the children may be quiet at first but they are definitely not camera shy! It is only the beginning of our journey so far but I can see the connections being built and strengthened between our group and the community. On our first trip into one of the villages a local lady was speaking to us and it was being translated and she said “You are part of our community, our home is your home.” She was so thankful that we would leave the comfort of our homes to come and try to make their lives a little easier.

There is a beauty in this place, there is a beauty in these people, and there’s a new beauty within my heart. I have already learned a great deal on this journey, and I can already see the growth within myself and the team.  Having amazing, positive, and understanding leaders is a huge thing for this trip. You have people that inspire and guide you within your trip and slowly as we mix the cement for our families house there’s another mix of cement that is cementing all of these memories into to our hearts. For today is just a day and tomorrow is but a dream and if you follow your dreams today than there’s no turning back.  The greatest way to find happiness is not to look for it, but to give it to someone else.

– Shaleigh, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, Oceanside, 2014


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 20th, 2014