Friends are the family that we choose ourselves
Today was a day of celebration as our families received the keys for their new homes. Each tear shed was a mark for hope, prosperity, longevity, health, and happiness. This, like all experiences previous, was a mixture of emotions not unknown to any of us as we laughed and cried on our roller coaster ride.
The final preparation for our families was a trip to the grocery store. Each team had $75.00 to spend per house to outfit them with the necessary supplies to start out a home. I was quick to volunteer, as those of you who know me know how I love a bargain! Nettie gave us a list of groceries, highlighting the essential ones, like soap, brooms and mops, rice and beans, etc. Once those where bought, any remaining money could be used for non essential items on the list. Just so you know…everything on the list to you and me would be essential. Finding the best deal was easy, deciding what to buy was difficult. When you have nothing every little thing is a bonus. With enough money left for one more item at a $1, we decided on a can of vegetables. One can of vegetables not two.
When we arrived back at the resort we excitedly put together their gift basket of groceries and started on our ride back to Nuevo Renacer. We placed the donations and groceries in their homes on their brand new beds. Not on a mattress that is ripped, wet, and filthy but a brand new queen size mattress. These families will be dry from now on, but there definitely was not a dry eye in sight.
When I looked into Tony’s eyes, the man who would be receiving this new home and all the supplies we brought, I knew that this is the most that they have ever had. He embraced me in a tight hug numerous times, as well as each one of the team members. The joy, gratitude, and love from our families was absolutely beautiful. They will be dry, safe, and cared for now and this is is exactly why I came. To give my heart and soul. I am proud. Watching and listening to my team dedicate the keys to these 5 amazing families was amazing. The gap is closing. Speeches where made, God was blessed, friendships were shared.
If I had one more thing to say to my new families I would say, “Although you’re receiving your homes means that it is time for us to go, only our bodies will be gone. Forever you will stay in our thoughts and hearts, just as we hope we will stay in yours.”
Rhonda ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer, Dominican Republic, 2013