Today I leave the Dominican and Haiti and return home... My home by Canadian standards is not luxurious by any means... however I find myself reflecting on the blessings I have in a different way then when I arrived here.
My roof has leaked but we immediately fixed it... my electricity has wavered during storms but it always comes back on and for my entire life, I've taken this for granted. My toilet flushes, I can have daily hot showers and I have water that I can drink directly from the tap. Each of my three children have their own room, clothes that fit them and have or will complete public education with an readily available option to go on to University should they choose. When we get sick, we go to the doctor or hospital and couldn't imagine what it would be like not to have those options. We have land on which we can grow or raise enough food not only to nourish our family but many others.
Yes, we work hard for these things but I can't help thinking that a large part of our good fortune comes from the sheer luck that we were born where and when we were. Many of the people that I have met this past couple of weeks, work far harder than I do yet will likely never see the rewards that I take for granted.
So what do we do with that.... feeling anger or shame doesn't help, although I admit to feeling both this week. This week others who have walked this path before us, have encouraged me to think about how I can leverage my good fortune into opportunities to bless others less fortunate. Service to others has always been a strong value in my life but this experience has definitely made me think about how I could do more.
I come home with a sense of satisfaction that we changed Liliana and her children's lives for the better. We touched the young lives of hundreds of children in Haiti.... I just know that amongst those faces are the future community leaders that will lead the people of Calvaire to rise above the conditions they were born into.
Live Different is the organization that made this possible for our team. I have to say its quite an amazing and inspiring group of people. This organization has created a pyramid scheme of kindness and giving that can have ripple effects around the world. They focus on working mainly with Canadian youth to live differently and to make the world a better place. They create leaders that will have impact far greater than a couple of weeks a year. Having been involved for many years with 4H, I am impressed with the way in which Live Different engages youth, teaching skills that this world needs more of. Keep doing what you are doing! You are on the right track!
As I pack my suitcase, I think about the group of people who journeyed here with me. Some I knew before arriving, others were strangers on Day 1. We return home having had an intense experience that only we share. We cried, sweat and unfortunately sometimes bled together. We supported one another through moments of fear, sadness and joy. We all brought something different to the work that needed to be done. And we got it done! Thank you.
And now.... home!