Participant Blog: A Day in the Village
Today was LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly the most amazing day ever. First half of the day we went to the dump and we were doing everything from handing out medicine at the pharmacy to helping them pick bottles out of the trash to just plain hanging around with them. Flies were all over the place, but thankfully enough they didn’t bite at all.
The best part definitely had to be when we went to the village where most of these people who work at the dump and their families live. As soon as we got there, I had a girl jump on my back and take me on a tour around the whole village. Coming back, we had a great time dancing and running around. Of course, as soon as the other kids saw this, they all decided they needed to jump on, so I ended up having as much as 6 kids at once on top of me while I was trying very hard to walk! I put them all down and went up to this one boy to introduce myself, and after him trying to explain to me in Creole what he wanted to do, we got into the most intense half-hour game of slaps you have ever seen. We started walking around, and met up with a couple others kids. We all tried to get our names out, but I only could remember three. They were having a little trouble pronouncing Brendon right, so I just got them to call me Mike. Anyway, they all were chasing me, trying to get on top of me and that soon turned into the longest, fastest, sweatiest 3 hour game of tag, EVER. We ran through the village, all around the road and the bus, literally everywhere. The funniest thing was when they all got on the bus and were yelling ‘ MIKE! MIKE!’ and sticking their tongues out. As soon as I got on top of the bus, they ran off. We were jumping off of it, running around it, it was amazing. The weird thing was, as tired and sweaty as I was getting, they didn’t seem to tire one bit. They just kept going and going and going and going and going and going… and of course who am I to stop their fun? So we ran and ran and ran the whole day long.
Soon before we were about to leave, we ‘slowed down’, which of course just meant that instead of tag, I was giving them all piggy back rides and carrying them until my arms and shoulders were killing me again. Could I stop? Of course not! So we just carried on, having fun without a care in the world. Then came the hardest part: saying goodbye.
“Walter” took me by the hand and sat me down, looked at my watch and tapped my wrist, asking me to give it to him. We aren’t allowed to, so I said no, but as soon as I did and looked him in the eyes it completely broke my heart. I picked him up and brought him over to Rana, and asked her if I was allowed to leave him my hat. I was allowed to, so I gave it to him, but he didn’t want to keep it; he kept trying to give it back to me. We got a translator to come over to tell him he could keep it. He tried saying something to me, and the translator said he was asking if we were coming back tomorrow, which we weren’t sure if we could. We walked around a bit more, then we had to get on the bus. I gave him the biggest hug, then said bye and got on the bus. I sat down, and we waved to each other. He started to walk away, and every two steps he would turn around and wave back. He walked about 50 feet away, and stopped by the Hero Holiday CR-V and waved and waved. He came back and sat against a pole and continued waving. We started to ‘pound it’ from 5 feet away, and it was awesome that he knew exactly what we were doing as soon as I raised my hand. Rana was taking awhile, so I asked Lea if I could go over and say bye again, and I beat it over and gave him the biggest, longest hug ever. I got back on the bus, and we started on up the hill and him waving the whole time. When we got to the bottom of the hill on the other side, I looked back to the top, and all I saw was a blue shirt, white hat and a hand in the air waving wildly all over the place. It completely broke my heart and I hope Christal lets us go back to visit tomorrow.
Anyway, that’s pretty much a run-down of the most amazing day of my life, and I know that it was too for everyone else in our group. Being down there with them, looking them in the eyes, just made this whole thing completely worthwhile, and I would do it again in an instant.
Brendon Hayward ( a.k.a. to the kids, Mike)
*All participants are given the opportunity to blog so many views are represented. These views do not neccesarily reflect the views of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Leadership Development. If you are a Hero Holiday participant that would like to share your experience please email your story (and picture, if possible) to firstname.lastname@example.org