An Awarness Tour…

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 This year at the beginning of our trip, Hero Holiday has added an Awareness tour. The aim of this tour is to educate our participants on the Dominican culture and a brief lesson of it’s history. We also visited our some of past projects and work sites for 2009. It was a great day and really encouraged our teams and made them excited about the work they are about to complete!Here is some blogs from our participants about the day…IMG_1203 “Today we started out by visiting the Jewish Heritage museum in Sosua. When the world turned a blind eye to the plight of millions of Jewish lives during the Holocaust, the Dominican Republic was one of the few countries that graciously and generously accepted them and offered them citizenship and land. Walking through the museum I felt that more than ever, we all had to do all that we can do help. When the Jews needed assistance, the Dominican’s opened their arms and at that moment I felt, like many others, that it was our turn to give any help we could. We then visited the municipal cemetery and when I say cemetery, I mean more of a plain burial group with simple crosses. I was shocked at how small the graves were, showing us that many of these people passed away before turning five.IMG_1210We visited Danica’s grave, who lay there at only eighteen months. She had been abandoned by her mother and found in a shack by the Hero Holiday people. She was brought to medical attention, but ultimately died and I must admit that by that p0int we were pretty emotional. To think that a child so young, so innocent, so in need of help died in a strangers hand without even her relatives or her parents to hold her through her last breath is pitiful and outrageously unjust.It was a quite and somber ride back to the resort for lunch and nobody really felt like eating. After lunch, we set off for a medical clinic where we met some amazing kids. As soon as I got off the truck, a young boy called Tandy jumped on my back and wore my hat. But what rang true to me the most was how undeveloped the medical care was. The medicine cabinet had more kinds of medication than the entire pharmacy and there were only three beds serving the entire community of about 3,ooo! Without a doubt, we were dismayed by how happy and appreciative these kids felt while we all gawked out what little they proudly owned. Needless to say, we finally realized how fortunate we are in Canada.IMG_1214 By the time we had to go, none of us could say goodbye without holding back some tears. Our next two stops, Arroyo Seco and Congrejo where we saw the finished projects of Hero Holiday. They were outstanding and the people there couldn’t thank us enough. It made me, and all of us, feel that with every dollar and every ounce of effort put in there would be a smiling face and truly grateful person behind it.Today’s Awareness Tour was a mix of bittersweet moments and regrets that our broken Spanish could not convey what our hearts wanted to say to the kids and locals. It was very emotional, but I think it made us even more excited and determined about what we will accomplish in the next few days.”~ Alex, a participant on Hero Holiday DR# 15720_98607030325_95760375325_2205691_6616270_n The first full day in Dominican, teams were packed onto the trucks for the Awareness Tour. First stop for Team 5 was the cemetery. A lot of the graves were for children, something you wouldn’t see in a fully developed country. It was interesting to learn the different burial customs of the Dominicans. We visited Danica’s grave and heard her tragic but inspiring story from Christal. Her story was the inspiration for the medical clinic which we visited next, between the Dominican populated village of Nazareth and Haitian populated Redemption. We had a quick tour of the facility and talked to Phil and Donna who run it. Just up the hill we toured the school where children are sponsored to go. After lunch we visited Arroyo Seco outside of Sosua where Garcia and his wife run a school, in the same building as the community centre and church. The genuine care and compassion they have for the children and community was evident as we talked to them. The children there were quiteb_Canon_Nicole (5) excited at our arrival and friends were made easily. We also got to see a house currently being constructed for Garcia and his family. Next we visited Congrejo where Bernard showed us his awesome new building, a church community centre and school. Out back behind the building we saw where we will be building a community kitchen as one of the five HH projects this week. It was great to see throughout the day past HH projects and how the help was being used and making such a difference already. Last we visited the Sosua Jewish Museum. Dominican Republic was one of the few countries during the Holocaust that allowed Jewish refugees in across the border. It was great to learn the history of the area and see how much the Jewish population encouraged and popularized tourism in the area. b_Canon_Nicole (4) After the museum we crossed the street to watch local kids play a baseball game. By the end of the day everyone was tired but had so many things to talk about. It was great getting to know the rest of the team and seeing poverty first hand. Many assumptions and expectations we as Canadians have about poverty were found not to be true. The kids and people we saw were not all sad and sorry for themselves. They were happy and so glad to see us. So now that we have a better understanding of the people, area and situation, we are prepared and keen to get down to work so we can give as much as we can and face surprises that will change us.~Natalie, Summer Intern

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 7th, 2009