The little things

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“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
With such poverty and chaos enveloping us this week, it is difficult sometimes to see any positive moments amongst it.  Even with the enthusiasm surrounding the building of Paulina’s house, the items on the metaphorical tick-list that need to be ‘done’ here in the Dominican is endless.  There is such frustration around the helplessness I’ve been feeling and injustices witnessed, that it is hard to imagine there ever being anything “good” found anywhere down here.  
However, upon arrival at both Arroyo Seco and Nuevo Renacer, we were welcomed like we were family returning home after a long journey.  And, moment by moment, I began to realize, that while there were a lot of “big things” that were not immediately in our control,  there were many “little things”, a few of which I’d like to mention that captured my heart and attention over these last seven days.
• On tour of Nuevo Renacer, we were welcomed and embraced by Yolanda as though it were HER house we were building, as she knew the purpose of our passing-through.
• On the second day of the build, I was one of the first people off the back of the truck, and received the love and embracing arms of a delighted, smiling four-year-old… I held her for as long as possible, before getting down to work. 
• Seeing the radiating pride and sense of empowerment experienced by the workers as they revealed their expertise and tricks-of-the-trade in the construction process.
• The group of little kids that know the sound of our truck approaching the worksite better than an old dog that recognizes the familiar sound of the family vehicle pulling into the driveway, and how they come out every day onto their front step to wave and chant excitedly “Gringas! Gringas! (loosely translated as foreigners/white people/English-speaking ladies).
• In the middle of the dump, about an hour into sifting through unimaginable conditions, like GeGe, I became excited about the new dump truck entering, to the point he gestured and scolded me in Spanish.  To ensure my understanding, I hushed my voice and said “Oh! Be cool?”   And he responded “Si,” as he did not want to capture the attention of the other workers. 
• Playing basketball with the boys, and trying to keep the game moving as they fight over fouls, travelling, and double-dribbles. 
• How delighted the children are when we remember and use their names [especially if they are tricky names  like Jamaleigha (Ja-me-lay-a) , which took me two days to learn, until I finally linked her to ‘Jamie-Lee’ Curtis so that I could get remotely close to saying her name properly].
• The ‘round the bay’ Garden Parties we have at the end of the work day when the mixing of our group and the community members reminds me of an isotonic solution (for you non-science people, it’s like a perfect mixing of Kool-Aid and water – completely intermingled). 
• Singing happy birthday five times in five different languages!
• Having a two-hour conversation with two ladies through an interpreter that turned her home into a real hen-house, that we likened to an episode of Coronation Street (minus the British accent of course, considering it was two Dominicans and two Newfies)
• Hearing my name chanted by the children today as we boarded the bus “Lisa! Lisa! Lisa! Lisa!”
While too often, we can become bogged down by the powerlessness and anger we feel, the payoff of those “little moments” remind us of why we are here and what type of lasting impact we can have anywhere if we choose to live in the moment, notice the little things, and focus on connection with others as we keep throwing those starfish we find on the beach back into the ocean.  
Lisa ~ Raising the Roof volunteer 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 1st, 2013