Through the difficulties, love, hope, and faith conquer

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Today we met Gabriela (aka Gladys), gramma of four grandchildren: Rameidy, Isidro, Keiri, and Polanco. Gladys is 55 years old and has been living in Puerto Plata for 51 years. She has two children, a boy and a girl who are both in their 30s. Gladys has lived in her present home for 19 years and has seen a fair share of flooding and rain coming through the roof into her house. Her children both work and live nearby, but they are unable to have their children live with them and so Gladys is the children’s guardian. 
Gladys’s home consists of a small living space with kitchen in the back, separated by a wall to the left where behind you find the two beds to sleep all four of them. There is no electricity, the toilet is cinder blocks about four high with a layer of cement on top with a hole in the centre; to flush there’s a bucket of water with a small bowl that you pour down the hole. Right next to this you find a rack for drying dishes along with the basin to wash clothes. They only get water three times a week to fill their barrel. 
The roof of the house consists of remnants of other houses in the neighbourhood that were torn down to be rebuilt. Gladys told us that since WestJet / LiveDifferent started to build houses she has been giving enough material to fix her roof, and that her roof barely leaks now. 
Gladys showed to us to be vibrant, happy and full of love despite the condition of her home. Her life is dedicated to her grandchildren and to ensuring that she can give them the best upbringing she can, in every aspect. She takes so much pride in her home, with pictures, painted bottles and decorated bottles. Getting ready for Christmas she had little Christmas balls. She’s happy to have a home where she can have her grandchildren with her and she feels very blessed to know that many people care and want to help and for that she’s thankful. She’s so glad to have people visit. 
Gladys wanted us to be in her home and was so excited to invite us in. No matter what her home was like, she wanted us to be there with her, to visit, to spend time in her home, to show us her pride and joy (kids’ picture and school achievements). It didn’t matter that we were going to her home to help her clean, cook, do laundry etc. She wanted to visit! Wanted to tell us stories about things she considers amazing in her life, like her kids and grandchildren.
Our “day in the life” was very rewarding and an eye opener, not for what is the obvious (living in poverty) but rather as a reminder of how, if you take the time to engage and give all of you, whatever is around you will have no matter because it’s only stuff and people is what matters.
– Chantal, Flight Attendant, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: October 28th, 2014