What to expect
When I signed up for this trip I did not know what to expect. I envisioned being exhausted for 10 days, discovering the conditions of the people living in poverty, and doing hard but meaningful work. With LiveDifferent, every day I discovered wisdom that I would not have been able to discover anywhere else. The first one being the overwhelming kindness that the people in Puerto Plata have for one another and us “gringos”, as well.
Arriving in the town of Nuevo Renacer (New Life) we saw that the Dominicans freely greeted us with open arms and loving hearts. What I found particularly inspiring was that most families do not dwell on what they do not have, but share and give back to their own community by helping one other. By looking at their smiles and witnessing their laughter, I honestly could not tell how little they had due to the joy they shared with each another.
I have also learned the importance of building relationships beforehand with the local leaders and people who are in need help. It is probably the most important thing when it comes to charity work. Without trustworthy relationships with the leaders of the community, the so-called “help” we would be giving them could potentially do more harm then good. For example, giving 100 pairs of shoes to one community may cause the shoe store down the road to go out of business. In our case, Sandra was basically the Mother Theresa of the community whose strength and love shone through the project and allowed us to build the home for the deserving family brick by brick.
Alexia, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, Sentinel Secondary, 2014