What it means to LiveDifferent
Today I had the opportunity to talk to Olga, the mother for one of the families we are building for. She has been living in a wooden house that is in very bad condition, very close to a polluted river, with her daughter Yocasta, 15 years old, and her grandson, David, 7 years old (who she has raised like a son since he was born.) She described that every time it rains, the river overflows and seeps into their home, and it is one of the many hard obstacles she has to go through everyday. When this happens, she and her family have to run to another neighbor’s house to be safe for the night. The next day, when the rain stops, there is so much uncertainty about coming back home, wondering whether the house has been completely destroyed, or if their belongings have all been ruined or swept away.
Olga expressed how great of an impact it will be to finally have a new and safe home for her and her family. She would feel, of course, more secure, and not have to worry about the rain anymore. Also, even though he is seven years old, David has never been in school a day in his life, so now that they will be living right next to the community school, he will finally be able to go for the first time. Olga feels very happy and confident too because she will be living closer to Pastor Garcia and his family, as he is a leader in the community who has played an important role in her life for a long time.
She told me: “I am so thankful to God and to all of you. All these people have traveled from such far places, just to help us, working so hard, giving their money and their time, without anything we can give in exchange”. I interrupted her and said: ” You know Olga, there is a lot you and your family are giving us: it is the joy to see you so excited, the feeling of being proud when we know we have made a difference in your family, and the happiness to know that from now on, you will LiveDifferent.” She smiled and we hugged each other.
On my way back to the hotel, I thought, ‘they’re not the only ones that are “living different” because we (my family) are too.’ After this experience, the way we can see life and the appreciation for what we have and how we are able to live our lives is incredible. It is a privilege for me to have realized that I also “LiveDifferent.”
Eliana, volunteer, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday, Christmas Public Trip, 2013/2014