Buddy Bonding(including: interns, kids, families, and yes- horses!)

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Thursday morning (July 15) was a strikingly heartfelt day as we watched our friends from first week drive off in the rain towards the airport. Some heading back to the west coast, others to the east. Although we were sad to say good-bye each intern left behind knew that it was the beginning to new and lasting friendships. All eighteen interns and a few team leaders spent the next four to five days bonding as a Dominican family! On one of our days off we were to go to the different communities such as La Union and Agua Negra to drop off some extra donations such as clothes or shoes. This night turned in to so much more than just putting smiles on a hundred little faces.We were all on our way to Agua Negra, which translates to black water, where we are currently building a home for a family. This time was a little different- as it was pouring rain and the streets and homes were flooding. I had always heard about how bad this community gets when it rains but to experience it first hand was unbelievable. It was difficult to process the thoughts and feelings that I experienced that night as I walked through the streets with black water up to my ankles. I remember being able to come back to the hotel to rinse off my feet from the dirt and debris it was exposed to while considering those families who go through this weekly. We complain about rain and how it ruins our hair, not thinking about how it can ruin someone’s home. The people in Agua Negra, some of the kindest people I have ever met, are forced to deal with these unfortunate circumstances everyday. Many of them spend hours trying to remove the water from their homes with a broom or a small pale while others place buckets on the ground to catch the drops leaking in from the roof. Although this night was hard to grasp, it was also opened my eyes as to what I am doing here. We toured the village and ended up standing in front of a home that we built last year with Hero Holiday. The grandmother and her grandson who were currently living in this home were completely dry and safe from any flooding roads or leaking ceilings. It was amazing to see how all of our hard work last summer really helps those who need it the most.Early Saturday morning all of the interns loaded up on the bus and headed out to the ranch! we spent the day horseback riding through the town. Our final destination was along a gorgeous beach where you could hear the waves from a mile away. We stopped at a restaurant by the beach to get some refreshments and then headed back out! This was our first day together and it was great to finally bond as interns. Although we had already spent the week together with our teams, it was a totally different experience getting to know one another more personally. There are so many amazing people out there and this excursion gave us the chance to realize that. I learned more about each individual and our Dominican family became stronger as we prepared for the next group. Nothing will be able to break the bond between us as we went through the month of July experiencing mixed emotions and tough times together.Saturday night was something extraordinary for every intern. We packed up a white sheet, laptop, and a projector and headed off to La Union. With those three items we created a movie theatre for approximately seventy-five people. We set up “Finding Nemo” on the computer and hung the sheet from the railing of a balcony. I sat with Jessie during the entire movie and couldn’t help but to constantly look around at every single smiling person there. Not only the kids, but the parents as well were all gathered around gazing at the movie. You think about back home when we go to the movies all the time or see the premiere of movies at midnight and all the excitement builds up- it was like that, only it had a different excitement for me. I was excited to see the kids’ reactions, hear them laugh, and share this memory with them. This experience was fun and uplifting and allowed for us to create relationships with the locals. So far this has been my favourite Hero Holiday memory as I spent the night with Jessie on my lap never letting go of my hand. It’s a feeling difficult to describe but one that I assure you will stay close to my heart forever.Sunday evening was an interesting night to say the least. Some of the interns were interested in going to experience the cultural aspect of Dominican church. My friend, Megan and I were discussing church and how there is something unusual but amazing about it- it’s universal. Everybody there believed in a God and that he was there to guide each individual in their path as they struggle with their circumstances. As we walked into the church we heard the band playing and all of the locals singing and chanting along with them. This service was special because a couple of our translators that we work alongside were taking part in it. One of them was in the band while the other was being welcomed back from a retreat. After being at church for a little while I started to feel very warm and happy. I couldn’t help but to smile as I saw each individual in the crowd praising the Lord and having such strong faith. As I was sitting there I remembered a lady I interviewed last year who continued to tell me that she believes her life and her family will have a wonderful life because of God. I couldn’t help but to think that each person there was thinking the same way and how this one belief can bring so much joy and happiness to people who barely have food for dinner. It was amazing to see how different their mass was compared to back home. It was upbeat and informal but was an incredible experience that we all enjoyed and hope to do again sometime.Our five days in between the trips was awesome. I learned more about each individual and our Dominican family became stronger as we prepared for the next group. Nothing will be able to break the bond between us as we went through the month of July experiencing mixed emotions and tough times together. We will always have each other to lean on and discuss the struggles we may have once we go back home. Overall, we have met faces we will never forget, created friendships that will last a lifetime, and have a summer that will forever be engraved on our hearts.~ Bianca, a Dominican summer intern

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 21st, 2010