A day of celebration

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My name is Beth and this was my very first LiveDifferent experience. Today I experienced something that not many people have the privilege of experiencing in their lifetime. I, along with 54 other inspirational people, handed over the keys to a brand new Medical Clinic and two homes for two very deserving families in Nuevo Renacer, Dominican Republic. At twenty one, I feel so blessed and honoured to have taken part in this journey. I am sad that I just recently discovered the work of LiveDifferent and got involved. However, I am glad that I can now say that is it something that I have accomplished and it is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

The people of Dominican Republic are unbelievably admirable. They have the hope, happiness, relationships and dedication to their lives that some people search for forever. The hardships that they overcome each and every day are often more than anyone can experience in a lifetime. Medicare is now something that I know I previously took for granted. Until coming here, it was hard for me to understand the depth of their struggles. As medical practices are some of the largest expenses and the one of the greatest demands in this community, it was incredible to be a part of the construction of the Medical Clinic. Not only does it provide services to the community and to those who require the facilities, but it provides a new sense of hope for the longevity of life. It is hard to fathom that people die every day because they do not have the access or money to medical services. As the Medical Clinic is open to the entire community at large, I am incredibly excited and proud that so many people will be able to reap the benefits of this facility.

Earlier in the week, I had the honour to sit down and talk with a few of the family members of the first house that we were working on. Talking with Sonja, her two daughters and daughter-in-law was inspiring and eye opening. After discussing several areas of their lives from their hardships to their hopes, it gave me so much joy to watch them receive the keys to their homes. Sonja, Antonio, their two daughters along with their son and his wife were living in a house the size of my parent’s kitchen and dining room. They have faced numerous struggles throughout their lives. However, they continued to dream through the belief of greater powers. After hearing a bit of their story, it was incredible to see them receive the keys to their home, knowing that it would provide a glimpse of light to their lives. Hugging the family as I walked through their new home gave me a feeling that I will never forget. 

Our team worked with several different Dominican translators during our time here. Their stories alone make me wish that I had more time and money to commit to the incredible community of Nuevo Renacer.However, today was a day where time and money didn’t matter. Today we handed over the keys to the fiftieth house built in Nuevo Renacer to Bella and her family. Bella and Sara have been working with LiveDifferent for the past few years. Over the years, LiveDifferent heard about the struggles and hardships that they faced in their lives and in their previous home. Knowing this, LiveDifferent with some other sponsors, jumped through as many hoops as possible to provide Bella and her family with the home that they deserved. As Bella and her family are such special people and have provided LiveDifferent with so much help and their kind spirits over the years, we were determined that their house would be a surprise to them. As our team and several of the other translators knew this prior to the build and dedication, it made it that much more difficult to hold in our excitement during the build. The house is special in so many ways. It was such a surreal experience to hand over the keys to Bella, knowing that their lives would dramatically change forever. Their new home provides them the security and safety that they deserve. After today, Bella and her family no longer have to be concerned about not being able to pay rent. As a result, they do not have to be fearful of the struggles that they previously suffered in their old home. Knowing this provided me with emotions that I am unable to describe. Watching Bella accept the keys to her new home as she was supported by her daughter and son is something that will forever be engraved into my mind.

At the beginning of our trip, the interns and staff told all of us volunteers that we would not be the same individuals walking away from the Hero Holiday. After today, I now understand why. Prior to this experience, the hardships and lifestyles of the families that we worked with and met were only stories. After experiencing a “Day in the Life” and the emotions of providing a home to two deserving families and a Medical Clinic to a community, the stories turned into life experiences and memories. I feel so privileged to have worked alongside so many inspiring young people and volunteers over the last ten days. I hope that I can one day return to the Dominican Republic and sit down and talk with Sonja, Bella and their families. I would also love to see the next part of the Medical Clinic and hear all about the people that have benefited from the services from the centre.

Beth ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer 2013


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 16th, 2013