So Sad To Leave, But Never Good-Bye
Having been given the blog for Dedication Day, a swarm of emotions came to mind. Being the final blog, I know that it should finish with a “Bang”, but that would only cause 60% of our outreach team to scream.
The day started off with a division of the team into three groups: sorters, shoppers and adventurers. One group had been chosen to stay at the resort to sort through all of the donations. However, the job description is actually quite deceiving. Having had to carry one of the bags full of donations, it was easy to tell that the group had sorted through several waves of heavy donations!
The second group was in charge of gathering another set of donations. They had gone to the local supermarket and were in charge of purchasing essential goods for the family: eggs, milk, soap, matches, all fitting into the list. With only a few moments of distraction, as the students themselves had needs (mainly chips and chocolate), the group finished shopping in record time
The final group had left on an excursion to Monkey Jungle. Monkey Jungle is everything that the name suggests and so much more! The primary function of the complex is that it serves as a clinic, which doctors from all over the world come to, to provide free healthcare to local Dominicans and Haitians. But the real excitement for the group was the squirrel monkeys that were equally excited to see them – and only partially because of the food they brought. The monkeys help to bring in profit so that the clinic can continue to be free for the locals.
All the groups met back at the hotel later in anticipation for the house dedication. Near 3pm, the keys to the new house were passed over to Alejandrina after several heart warming speeches. As Alejandrina’s tears of joy began, it had finally dawned on me, we were truly changing the life of this family, hopefully forever.
After a tour of the house, in which the two children found and had started playing with all their new toys, we left for the school. All the kids were let out soon after and the school yard soon became a display of pandemonium. All the students, Dominican and Canadian alike, had a glowing smile on their faces as they played even without truly understanding. But it had ended too quickly. Almost as quickly as it began, there was a need to pack up and leave the smiling faces of all the children. But no matter how saddening it was, the children continued smiling, walking out to our buses, and waving goodbye as we drove off.
Although we hate to be going it is important to remember that we are not saying goodbye. Whether you come back to the community or not, we will never forget the lessons taught to us by the Dominicans. Their unrelenting smiles, love and joy are things that I hope that we can all bring back home. We will never forget what we have done here in the Dominican and no matter how sad it is to leave, remember it isn’t goodbye because they will live on in us forever.
Trevor, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, Gonzaga Trip 2014