Addicted to Change

Joining the Boston Pizza Foundation on their annual Hero Holiday trip with LiveDifferent for the second time has been the most gratifying experience I could ever ask for. I came here thinking I knew what to expect because I’ve experienced it before but I was very wrong. Although the trip has a similar structure, I was able to revisit families I met last year, build many new relationships, and connect with the community on a deeper level. Three deserving families received brand new, safe, dry homes. Their smiles, gratitude, and tears of happiness made everything worth it – their lives will never be the same. Each parent will know that their children will sleep in a dry bed with a lock on their front door, and that fills my heart with happiness.

Coming to the work site everyday and seeing the smiles, excitement, and positivity throughout the community has taught me that change is real and that you can do anything you put your mind to. Coming from a society where everyone looks out for their own personal achievement, it is difficult to comprehend that every community member is alongside us, even the contractors and families building these houses for their neighbours. I am truly inspired and humbled to see that they are doing everything they can to change their living conditions and standard of living. Everyone in this community witnesses the progress as they work together with great faith in this process.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to be part of the change I see in the community and in the people of Nuevo Renacer. The personal development and growth experienced throughout this trip will keep me coming back because I have become addicted to the change I have seen in the lives of these deserving families and in myself as I in bark in my future endeavours.

Kristina, Volunteer, LiveDifferent Boston Pizza Trip, 2014


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 27th, 2014

Incredible Treasure

Trying to prepare yourself for something you have never experiences before is like diving from a 20ft cliff without knowing how shallow or deep the water is.

Before my arrival in Dominican Republic I had known my heart was going to be broken. I had known this experience was going to expose a small dose of reality for us all. If only for a short period of time, we would get a glimpse of how these amazing people are able to survive in great levels of poverty. What I didn’t know, was that my world was about to be rocked and overflowed with love, joy and beauty by this incredible community.

I was given the amazing opportunity of coming to Sosua, DR with Boston Pizza-Hero Holiday, who for the past 4 years has partnered with LiveDifferent. During our time, our team has been towards building 3 beautiful homes for 3 incredible families in Nuevo Renacer (New Birth), previously known as Aguas Negras (Black Waters). Upon our first arrival to the village this sea of children, smiling, screaming with excitement and climbing all over us, immediately consumed us. We then proceeded through the village, meeting some previous families and seeing their houses that past teams had built. 

I immediately felt a great deal of sorrow, heartache, and pity. How were we born into such a privileged life? One that most of us (including myself) take for granted everyday. I saw everything they didn’t have; food, shelter, security, stability, dry floors when it rained, fresh clean running water…the list was endless. However, over time, I realized that they would be giving me the greatest gift I think I’ve ever experienced.

Despite everything they lacked in their lives, they carry the incredible treasure of knowing what life is really about. Children are free to be children. They spend the whole day outside playing, running, screaming. I was enthralled with the sense of community, love and commitment these people carry. To say “it takes a village to raise a child” is nothing short of what they do, as every adult looks out for each child regardless if it’s their or not. These people are strong, determined, and their perseverance is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. Their love, their beauty is written all over their faces. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman singing a Spanish song while hanging up her laundry, or the ability to dance in the streets. Their heart, their love for one another and to serve each other with no expectations of anything in return is beautiful.

A little boy, William, had captured my heart one of the days, when he took my hands and proceeded to wash all the dirt and cement off of them. I had no idea something so simple – an innocent act of kindness – could bring me to tears. These people know how to love. That is what life is about, and that is what I will be taking away. We are not the heroes, they are!   

– Lauren, LiveDifferent Volunteer, Boston Pizza Trip, 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 25th, 2014

GBC – Day in the Life

Sunday was our first build day. While the rest of our team started working on the house, four of us had the privilege of partaking in an experience that LiveDifferent has coined ”Day In The Life”. This meant that two families who lived within the same community as the family which our group is building alongside opened up their homes to us so we could get a taste of day to day life for them. A family of five welcomed me with big smiles into their home. It is difficult to pt into words how cramped and confined their home was. Yet somehow they make it work. 

The three children between the ages of 12 and 18, all slept together in the same double-sized bed. My first assignment was to wash some of the family’s clothes ,by hand’ which ended with the family laughing at my futile attempt. Next I was charged with the task of cutting up a chicken (no, I did not have to catch & kill it first) with a knife that wasn’t exactly the sharpest. Again, laughing aimed at me. The eldest daughter took me under her wing and patiently walked me through the rest of the lunch preparation. The few “taste tests” that I had were delicious. As the food was simmering away on the stove we sat with the family and talked about all sorts of things. I found it funny how I had only just met these people yet I felt as though I was a part of the family. This really hit home for me when the mother of the family thanked us for what we are doing and said “our door is always open to you”. Even as I am writing this I find I am still processing the whole experience. It was definitely one that will not be soon forgotten.

Tomorrow is already house dedication; it will be hard to say goodbye but we are all very excited for the adventure that lies ahead in Haiti.

Lisa, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, GBC, 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 3rd, 2014