Three Years and Counting
The past three days have been an unbelievable start to my third year in the Dominican Republic with Hero Holiday. Day one (our Awareness Tour) was a truly amazing day for me. When we pulled up to Cangrejo, I almost didn’t recognize it. I have been a part of building this community centre from the ground up, but I never thought it would look as amazing as it does now. The rest of the awareness tour brought the same feelings; happiness, surprise, and determination to keep working as hard as I can to make even more of a difference. I am looking forward to working on the new projects and I hope we can make them just as good, if not better than these previous projects. Day two was an interesting day for team three. We went to the garbage dump to help collect bottles for the people down there so their income could be raised for that day at least. When we got to the gate I had a bad case of deja vu. Last year we were not allowed into the dump at all, and this year we were almost not going to be allowed but Christal managed to get us 15 minutes (which ended up being close to half an hour). Our whole team took full advantage of the short time we got, collecting as many bottles and giving out as much water as we possibly could. Although I had already been to the dump two years ago, I was still overwhelmed by how much garbage there was, and how these people have to search through all of it just to make one or two dollars a day, which is truly unbelievable. We were all disappointed that we couldn’t stay long at the dump, but once we arrived at La Union in the afternoon our attitudes completely turned around. The way the kids tarted cheering and running after our truck when we pulled in and will be an image I will never forget. I`ll also never forget seeing Dustin and the ten kids piled on his back all at once! The time spent there was filled with playing soccer, skipping, colouring, and of course Christal’s home run! I am so grateful that I got to visit La Union because playing with those kids is always a highlight of my trip here.Today, which is day 3, was such a fun day! Our team got to go to the Orphanage. At first, I was a little bit nervous because this was a different orphanage than the one I have gone to the past two years. All of my worries went away when I saw the same sort of happy smiles on the children`s faces that I have always seen. These kids are not much different then we were growing up. They laugh, cry, sleep, eat and drool. One little boy even pushed a little girl off her chair and then took a picture of her on the ground, which is something many little boys do back in Canada. These children have contagious smiles and laughs that are unforgettable. We all came here hoping to help make a difference, but what we didn’t realize was how much of an impact these communities, people, and experience have on us. The next week is going to be filled with so many more memories and I can`t wait to see what we have in store for us tomorrow!~ Shannon, a Hero Holiday Participant of many years!