How NOT to House Surf Down a Ravine
I currently live really close to the beach. The surfing beach, actually. Vaden and I are living in Dominican Republic as we wait and hope to bring our 5 year old adopted daughter home to Canada. I keep telling myself I want to get into surfing, because it just seems to somehow up your cool factor: casual conversation, dropping the ol’ line: “yeah, I surf” just seems to be so enviable. In fact, the whole concept of surfing seems to be surrounded in all that we pursue in life: looking for the best wave that will carry us through safely until it pops us out on the other side with only great memories and friends surrounding us and cheering us on. However, life is not always like that. I don’t actually think it ever is, to be honest. And until I met Carlos and his family, I thought that the possibility of surfing was something you needed a board and ocean waves to do. I was wrong: it could happen in a way that could be disastrous.Carlos’ real name is Hilario. He lives on the edge of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic with his wife, Felicita and their four children (Jorkeli, Joskar, Jocairy, and Ruth). Carlos is a good man. He works long, hard hours, fighting to keep food on the table for his family and to keep his kids in school. He and Felicita only dream of the best possible future for their children. And since the day I met them, I only wanted the same thing for them. It sounds simple until you realize where they actually live.Their community is called San Marcos. It sits on the edge of the city, connected by loose dirt roads that often wash out in the rain, with houses clustered around a river ravine at the base of the mountain. The trees are lush and the mosquitoes are plentiful, and yet it is the best they can do: here they own their own land and take quiet confidence in the fact that they are together. Carlos and Felicita’s house was tiny, with only two rooms. There was no running water or dependable electricity. As I stepped around to peak over the back of their house, I realized the full extent of the danger they lived in every day: their home was almost falling off the edge of the eroding ravine, threatened to surf down into the creek 15 feet below. It was held to the side of the hill with scraps of wood and other odd materials that they were able to collect to help them just a little bit longer. But how long before it was too long?This past summer we were able to build a new house for Carlos and his family. It has a real cement floor, with enough foundation depth to keep his family’s precious new home secure. They are not going to be surfing down that ravine any time soon; they are going to be safe. If feels good to know that tonight, as I sleep with my little family and know that we are safe when it rains or storms, I know that Carlos and Felicita are also safe – thanks to so many amazing Canadians who joined with them this past summer and believed in the power of hope.This Christmas, we are going to be delivering Christmas Hampers to Carlos and Felicita and many other families like them. The gifts will be filled with food, children’s gifts and needed household items. We need your help! Check out www.livedifferent.com/hampers. This is how hope begins!