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One day earlier this year, I was searching the web for something special to do with my daughter over the past summer. The link that came up for ‘LiveDifferent’ completely caught my attention, and I had to click on it. The more I read, the more interested and enthusiastic I became to participate . The ideas and concepts that were demonstrated on this website were something that my husband Carlos and I have been looking for for a long time. We have always wanted to make a difference in the world, we just didn’t know how. One of the things we considered was to travel to Venezuela, the country that we are originally from, to help the poorest people there. However, since Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world due to criminal activity, we decided it wasn’t a good idea. This is why the discovery of LiveDifferent was awesome. The next day I showed the website to Carlos, and he seemed very  excited about it too. Days after we talked to the kids about it, they felt it was fantastic. We were very proud about their reactions.  A week later, we started to come up with ideas about fundraisers that could help meet our goal to collect as much money as we possibly could for this project.

That dream became a reality and today we are in Sosua, Republica Dominicana, on the Hero holiday program, and I can honestly say that this has been the most spiritual and meaningful trip of my entire life The sensations, feelings and emotions I am experiencing are indescribable. It is one thing to watch a short commercial or documentary, showing  how poor people are living, but it is entirely another to experience it in reality. This experience is something tangible. You see the faces, you smell the dirty garbage all around you, and you try to interact with these people as much as you can to make them feel important! I have realized with this experience, that although it is true that we are giving these families a  wonderful gift by building them a nice home, that for me it is also a wonderful gift  knowing that my family, other volunteers and myself, are making a difference together for the lives of these people. 

Today I had a very joyful moment with Carmen, the woman whose home we are building. As I was smoothing concrete on to the wall, I couldn’t help but notice Carmen, in her future room, walking around, with the biggest smile that I ever saw on her face. I asked her what  was on her mind and she said, “this is something that I’ve always been yearning for . Every time that it rained, the river close to my house would overflow and all the water would barge into the house. Some rainy nights I would stick my finger on the floor and in that moment I knew that as soon as I woke up my house would be flooded with water, not knowing how I’d be able to get out of bed. I lost everything, my bed, my clothes, my furniture. Everything!  Now with this new house, I will be able to watch the rain through the window, feeling calm and safe, knowing that water won’t ever barge into the house like that ever again. God bless you all for everything you are doing for us.” I told her how glad I was and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. We gave each other a big hug. Her smile and the hope in her eyes made my day! Carmen’s son Juan Carlos, will be in the room next to hers. I also had a short conversation with him. He also talked to me about the whole water situation and the struggle that they’ve had trying to keep the house together. Juan Carlos proudly expressed to me his love for math and how he’s studying in the university to become a math teacher. He also said how focused he is to meet his goal . As he was explaining all his dreams to me, the hope in his eyes were priceless . The look of joy and gratitude on his face were indescribable. My best wishes to Juan Carlos!

It is only the second day participating in this project of  LiveDifferent, but I feel  that my soul and spirit have gratefully enlightened themselves, not only for the new hope we are giving to this family and for the difference we are marking in their lives, but also for all the beautiful children in Aguas Negras that receive us with open arms and gorgeous smiles:)

– Eliana – LiveDifferent Volunteer, Dominican Republic Christmas 2012/2013 

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 2nd, 2013