You know when you just have a lot on your mind, and you are not sure how to express it? Well, that was me last year when I participated in a LiveDifferent Hero Holiday here in Dominican Republic. It was an amazing experience that threw a million situations, facts, and opportunities at me, and I just had no idea how to remember and express it all. That is why I am back here in the Dominican Republic writing my very first blog entry. I am promising myself that I will continue to write these blogs for the entire duration of the trip. It is great to be back in Dominican Republic. This is just the first of 23 days that I will spend as an intern for a LiveDifferent Hero Holiday.
This first day has been very tiring because of the lack of sleep I got last night, but I am still unbelievably excited and enthused to be here. Today we did an awareness tour in Agua Negra, Arroyo Seco, and La Union. Although I participated in a Hero Holiday last year, the experience was still shocking. To see the situation that many of these people live in and to hear about the history of each community was emotional, both positively and negatively. You walk through communities where houses are less than a foot apart, where the backyard of the community is entirely covered in waste, and where a house (with one bedroom) may be home to 7 people.
On the positive side, these communities, despite the situation, are still joyfully considered “home” to various families. These families consist of loving, caring, and happy people who hold tight to hope. These people welcome you into their home the same way they would welcome a family member. The individuals who are highly respected in each community touch me the most. Their stories and their belief that there is hope are amazing. Experiencing all of this can only be felt from a first person point of view. That is why I am beyond grateful to be part of such a wonderful team of individuals who want to grow, create positive change, and leave knowing they have made a difference. Our team was able to meet the family we will be building for today and we cannot wait to begin at the work site tomorrow. Again, I am ecstatic to be here and am looking forward to the next 23 days!