Life altering moments
Words are inadequate when it comes to describing life altering moments. The idea of your world, and the worlds of those around you being changed at one simultaneous moment, is too powerful for paper. But we’ll try….
This year, our Building Dreams Team of 35 people returned to Aguas Negras, but we ended up being welcomed by the community of Nuevo Renacer. Nuevo Renacer (meaning ‘New Re-birth’), has experienced so much change over the last few years that they thought it was also appropriate to give birth to a new name. From the Black Water community that it was once called, rose the rapidly changing and colourful Nuevo Renacer, where our group was honoured to be involved in the continuous growth and change that it is experiencing.
For five days, we worked extremely hard to build three safe and dry houses for three beautiful families who were living in unbearable conditions. Throughout the week we built extremely strong relationships, met a lot of incredible people and ultimately, we became one with the people of Nuevo Renacer.
Getting off of the bus on this last day was a little bit different this time. We were still greeted by the usual swarm of kids, still being pulled in two directions, still being used as jungle gyms, but the kids were clean, had their hair done and of course, without fail had massive grins from ear to ear. The community was buzzing. New faces, familiar faces, old faces, and young faces, but all joyous faces. This day was going to be amazing and something to be cherished forever.
Today we had the honour of presenting the keys of the three houses to the incredible families that they now belong to. The presentation included thank you’s to the community representatives, the translators, and the contractors that we worked with. In addition to the speeches and presentation, there was a lot more that made this day as special as it was. We all joined together in singing one of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beautiful ballads, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, and performed an extremely high energy group dance to an upbeat Macklemore tune, to help express our gratitude towards all of the new friends and families for accepting us into their lives.
To think of your entire universe changing in one week is a crazy thought. People come from a foreign land just to build you a home. Gratitude was given, but in a variety of ways. Clarivel, sang songs for us through which her passion and gratefulness seeped through, Iris demonstrated her love through her eloquently worded speech to which the translator interpreted, and Calme, perhaps the most impactful, remained in almost perfect silence. She was saying thank you a lot, they all were, but that same idea of your world changing, the idea of being given hope and life, is so heavy that your words are crushed by the immense meaning of those keys. It was truly beautiful.
Today, we didn’t just give the families their keys to safe and dry homes, but rather we gave them keys that are very much symbolic of the new life, new hope and new opportunities that have been bestowed upon them.
Our group came to the Dominican Republic once again with the goal of changing the lives of three incredible families and furthermore creating a ripple effect throughout the community with our positive and euphoric energy, but what these families and what this community gave to us was far greater than we could ever have imagined. To be embraced by a group of citizens that are just a small portion of the warm-hearted, loving, kind, passionate, and giving collective of Nuevo Renacer, was something that we’ll never forget and will remain in our hearts forever.
Keiran and Sean ~ Building Dreams volunteers 2013