Eyes WIDE Open: Awareness Tour Day

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That is exactly what this day has done for me. It opened my eyes. Being at home before this trip, I had never truly understood poverty. But now, being with the people, the families, the children living in it, there are so many emotions running through me that I had never felt so strongly. Taking a walk through the villages and the homes of the Dominicans took my breath and words away from me. Everyone was just so friendly. During each bus ride to each village, building, and site we would be working in, we would wave and say Hola! to those we passed by and without a doubt they would say it back, with a beaming smile. It is just so refreshing to see such happiness especially in a place where to us, they have so little. I now realize how much we really do take for granted at home. We have so much more than we give credit for. Even our simple human rights, laws and customs at our home are completely different, and much more safe and secure. Talking with the people of the Dominican Republic – in what Spanish I could muster or with those who spoke English – really opened my mind to what really goes on here. Despite the fact that any day their house and village could be flooded by a rain storm, or their house could collapse from poor foundation, these people live with such energy and passion and pride that I am so grateful to be here and share this time with them.As we walked through these villages children would run up to us and smile, and grab our hands and hold them tight, or jump into our arms. We were first alarmed, of course, but once you see the joy in their eyes you can`t help but want to carry and hold every single child you see running past you. I really appreciate the fact that I am here and get to do whatever I can to lend a hand to those who need it. Not only are we helping the people, but they are also helping themselves with us. Together we are making a difference in their lives. It`s astounding that even a simple pair of shoes or drink of water can change a lifestyle hugely. I cannot say enough how amazed I am by the people here. They are truly extraordinary, and inspire me to be a stronger, gracious, joyful person. All I can do is wait anxiously for tomorrow where we get to see those beautiful faces again! And even THAT is difficult! Today we only got a piece of what this whole trip will bring. And spending even a small amount of time with these children it was hard to leave them. I can`t imagine a whole day or more of getting to know them and then leaving!! So, all I can really say is `wow`, and that I cannot wait for tomorrow morning :)Until next time,~ NicoleHey!Today we went out into the Dominican Republic into the villages and really got to see first-hand what the poverty level is really like and what people go through on a daily basis…I don’t know… but all of a sudden my problems at home all seem so small… actually I don’t even know if they should be referred to as “problems”…. I should really thank my lucky stars for being brought up in a place like Canada and for having the luxurious of life that I do and sometime take for granted….There are so many things out here that we North Americans are totally oblivious to…. Today I did a lot of things…. and got many opportunities to get to know people, I tried to put myself into their shoes and even picked up on some Spanish…One of our sites today was a hospital…. and I saw pre-mature babies.. there was one baby there that was delivered this morning 3 months premature. Can you believe it.. 3 months premature!!! That’s NOT the scary part… the scary part is the hospital that these kids are kept in and the conditions…Did you know that in the DR you could become a “nurse” with just 6months training? Did you know that there is only one nurse on duty in the children’s unit? Did you know that the nurse sits around and does nothing until it is time to give the kids the medicine (which is only twice that she has to administer it during the day), Did you know the hospital requires you to bring your own sheets, clothes, food and medication? There are at least 10 beds per hospital room with people just flooding in there… not to mention that the whole hospital has bars in it to protect the medical supplies so people will not come in and steal stuff…Back to this baby that was born 3 months premature… Take a minute and just take a guess at how much you think this little guy weighed? He only weighed 1.3 pounds not even 2 pounds…I looked at him at one point and he didn’t even look like he was breathing… premature babies just like in our country are also kept in incubators… but not incubators like these ones… These ones break your heart… there isn’t even enough IV out here to administer… that’s how horrible these conditions are….My hearts just broken tonight… I’m really trying really hard to be strong but it’s tough…. I wish I could just do something … something more… I don’t know…. I just want to bring these kids home with me…. but I’m so glad that I took this opportunity… and it’s making me more passionate about what I love… and that’s helping people and communities like these… I could totally see myself doing more of this type of humanitarian work… This is who I am… which really neat… because… I wondered who I was for a little while…It poured rain here last night, the thundershowers were crazy. We were in an open canopy bus and it was so much fun getting drenched. There is nothing like this experience… nothing at all in the world can compare to this… just watching the twinkle in these people’s eyes…just seeing there beautiful smiles is worth every moment… I can’t even explain it….One child came up to me… tugged my shirt and just gave me a peck on the cheek and it just made everything okay…. If this child is able to live in a home that is smaller than ones family room with 8 people and doesn’t have food for sometimes 3-4 days and this child is still smiling…. I have no reason at all to complain or not to smile….~ Pardeep

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 8th, 2010