Haley’s Blog – Tears of Complete Joy (DR Intern 2012)

Spread the love

The first day on the worksite was an excited relief to say the least. Going from a warped and twisted treasure hunt in the La Union garbage dump, picking recyclable trash to help a family’s income, to aiding in building a home for a deserving family was an unsuspecting switch. I faced equally hard working individuals, striving to better themselves and their family, merely living in different communities. 

Marino, his wife Elizabeth, and the workers were already working by the time Team Four arrived in the morning. Marino was cutting and preparing a chicken for lunch, which had been alive a mere half an hour earlier, and the beans we already boiling over a fire. In an instant, the Team was immediately engrossed in work. The old flooring was being pick-axed and removed, sand was being sifted, and cement was being mixed. Via translator, Elizabeth expressed her happiness and how truly blessed she was for finally having a safe place to call home. 
arroyo seco
Having only known Team Four for a couple days, I was already so incredibly proud at their ability to jump right in and help out in any way possible. Fifteen minutes in, it felt like I was sweating buckets and everyone looked just drenched as I was, but we all had smiles across our faces and excited for what was to come next. We have the biggest house build for Week One and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of it. 
more cement
If I had to express my two highlights of the day, everyones’ willingness would definitely make the top two; however, finally reaching the Arroyo Seco school after being away for a year was my number one. My heart was pounding, waiting to see if I would see the kids and recognize them from last year. As we rolled up in front of the gate, there she was. Ana. She was standing amongst her sisters, and at twelve, she is always looking out for younger siblings. She was watching the Team file off the truck and as soon as I dropped to the ground, I feared she wouldn’t remember me. The long year I was gone, worrying about if she would be okay during the hurricane season, or if she was surviving a mere mosquito bite, would mean nothing. All that washed away as soon as I called her name and her eyes met mine. Her face lit up in the biggest smile I’ve ever seen cross her face and suddenly she was in my arms hugging me as hard as I was hugging her back. I’ve never cried tears of happiness, but having finally seen Ana after all this time, I was shedding tears of complete joy. 
Ana and I spent the afternoon together with four other members of the Team and numerous other children from the area. The girls started painting the Team’s nails, and Ana gave me a nice pink manicure. A Team member, Laura, and I played two-on-two basketball and got our butts kicked by two boys half our age and height. They may be younger, but they had an intense amount of skill that put mine to shame.  The day ended with us reuniting with Team Four at the worksite and hearing stories of their day on our way back to the resort. Covered in concrete, dirt, and dust, they were all smiling and ranting they couldn’t wait for tomorrow. We worked hard and we played hard, and it’s only been one day on the worksite. We still have three days ahead of us and I can hardly wait for the morning. For hard work, for helping build a house for a deserving family, for the Arroyo Seco kids, and lastly, for Ana.
Haley – LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Intern, Dominican Republic 2012

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 8th, 2012