Today my good friend Hilary and I got to experience a day in the life of a local Nuevo Renacer family. Jamie (23) the mother of the house welcomed us into her home with open arms and a huge smile on her face. Although Jamie was extremely shy shewas absolutely honored to have us and was very open to sharing her story with us.
She is a mother of two extremely adorable kids who she had pulled from school for the morning so that we were able to meet them and really get a grasp on what her daily life is like. In the first five minutes of seeing this family’s home I began to see the strength and determination this family has had within themselves to just simply make it through a day. Imagining the worst possible living conditions I know and multiplying that by a few is what this family was so honored to welcome me into. I’m still trying to process what I have seen today and the fact that even though I have seen the conditions and done the daily chores I will never begin to understand what this family is actually going through.
Looking back on the experience one of the things that really impacted me was when we asked Jamie where her Mother and Father stood in her life. She explained how at a very young age they abandoned her and really wanted nothing to do with her. Even trying to process the loneliness that Jamie has experienced in her life breaks my heart. Most people would dwell in loneliness, but being the amazing woman Jamie is, she took it as motivation to provide everything she didn’t have, to her young family. Explaining how she dropped out of school at the age of 10 to become a maid so that she could start putting money together for the family she dreamed of providing for. I find myself reflecting back to when I was 10 years old and it almost feels like a slap in the face as all the things I took for granted. Jamie would only be able to have these things in her wildest dreams and my worst nightmares were her reality.
Jamie is a woman with a strength that I will never understand and the craziest concept for me to grasp is she is only 4 years older than me. A lot of heavy emotions were shared over the duration of the morning but through it all we definitely shared moments of pure happiness. The authentic Dominican meal that Jamie was teaching us how to cook was nearly done and Jamie asked me to prepare the juice. When I had completed my task I glanced over to see her little boy Johanson (3) drinking from the pitcher I had stirred it in possessing the biggest smile I have ever seen on a child’s face. It is such a small thing but I was so overwhelmed to share such a joyful moment with Hilary and the family. I found myself instantly thinking about the special moments like that I share with my family. It’s profound that how we can be on two opposite sides of the world yet share so many of the same values in family, faith, and love.
Emily ~ Building Dreams Volunteer 2013