A Day in the Life of Boston Pizza Volunteer
I have worked at Boston Pizza in Sydney, NS for the last 7 years. My franchisee, Cheryl, told me about the amazing experience she had in the Dominican last summer with LiveDifferent. I was completely overwhelmed by everything that this group of people did for the families and I knew that I immediately wanted to experience it for myself. So, with help from Cheryl, I put on a small seminar for anyone who was interested in joining me on this adventure, and was able to have four others to join me in this once in a lifetime experience! Through a lot of fundraising, support from our families and friends, and our amazing Franchisees Cheryl & Gordon, we were able to go down and experience this for ourselves.
When we arrived we were all given a schedule, and discussed what we would be doing each day. I was very excited to meet the families that we would be helping. Knowing that we were helping to build a house where these families would be safe was very rewarding for each and every one of us. However, I was just as excited to experience “A Day In Their Shoes” at the Garbage Site in La Union. I never could have imagined how hard it was until I actually experienced it for myself that day.
I woke up this morning feeling anxious, nervous and excited. As we all gathered in the dining hall for breakfast, I wondered how my day would go. Knowing that I was heading to the garbage site in La Union, to help people rummage through items that are considered treasures to them, made me curious to see what it would be like. We all piled into the truck with thoughts filling our heads. The truck pulled out of our ‘home’ in Sosua and drove along the highway for a while. We turned onto a dirt road and a local man jumped on the back to hitch a ride to “work”. We drove to the top of this long and winding road and my mind raced as I watched not only men, but women and children rummage through garbage trying to earn a few dollars for their families.
I got off the truck and my eyes were wide. The things I saw, heard and smelled overcame me and my emotions ran wild. I couldn’t fathom the thought of people rummaging through garbage for a living, and the people of La Union do this for 5-6 days a week. I was immediately paired up with a 12 year old boy that had been working in the dump for a few years. It had just stopped raining and he was covered in mud from going through the wet items on the site. He gave me a half smile when we met and I asked him his name. We got to work right away collecting bottles, cans and anything plastic that could be returned for cash. He had a pile of items already collected but it was not enough. A garbage truck drives up the road and the people swarmed it even before the garbage is dumped off the truck. It is like treasures to them because they are the first to rummage through the bags. The children stand back and watch the adults rummage through first because they have priority. The young boy looked at me and told me to stand back to keep me out of danger. He then took his opportunity to go and rummage as well. He climbed on the pile and started throwing items to me to put in our bag. We worked for a while and then broke to get a cold drink of water. Before I knew it, our time was up and we had to say goodbye. He gave me a hug and thanked me for my help.
As I got on the truck and we drove away waving goodbye to our new friends, my eyes filled with tears. Knowing that this 12 year old boy has to work in these conditions to help his family saddens me. My eyes are much wider today after experiencing “A Day In Their Shoes”. I’ve realized that you never really know how lucky you are until you experience something like this for yourself.
Christa – LiveDifferent Builds Volunteer, Boston Pizza Trip 2012