A Day to Remember
We had the great honour of meeting Florencia and Martin during our Day in the Life visit. We were amazed by the hospitality shown to us with the limited material items they possessed. We were seated in “pride of place” on a well-used couch that was the most comfortable piece of furniture in their home, and they wanted their guests to be seated there. Sharon learned from Florencia how to sweep and wash floors the Dominican way with good old fashioned elbow grease and no Swiffer in sight!
The work was made more difficult by the intense heat in such a small environment. Florencia showed great pride in her clean floors. Meanwhile, Linda spent time with Martin preparing a meal. The lack of clean water to properly wash and prepare the food and utensils left Linda wondering how the family stays healthy. A full meal was prepared in a very small space, and the few utensils that Florencia and Martin own are kept in a plastic peanut butter jar with a lid tightened to prevent insects from crawling on them. Martin proudly showed us a box he had made using scrap wood to store any food they may have to keep it safe from cockroaches and rats. A piece of denim material was used as a wiping cloth as well as a pot holder. We were taken aback by the amount of time and work required to do these simple tasks without all the gadgets we have to make our lives easier in Canada.
As we thanked the family and said goodbye, we hid our tears until we were out of sight so as not to offend. We then broke down in tears of frustration, sadness, and even anger as to how in the year 2015 people can be living in such deplorable conditions. Isn’t it about time that we decrease the gap between those who have and those have not? As we left the community, we were reminded as the LiveDifferent message states, “Life is about people, not stuff”.
On the last day of the build, we were invited by Tara and Liam from LiveDifferent to share the amazing news with Florencia and Martin that they will have a new home built for them in a few short weeks. Florencia looked up to the heavens and thanked God and us for this great gift. Martin was moved to near tears and kept repeating “thank you, thank you, thank you”. Both of us agree that this was such a defining moment for us that our future plan is to fundraise and build another home in Nuevo Renancer, hopefully with friends and family members. This has truly been a life changing experience that now allows us to “LiveDifferent”!
LiveDifferent Volunteers, WestJet Christmas in July Build Trip, Dominican Republic, 2015