My week in the Dominican Republic was unforgettable. Brightened even more by our groups bus driver Jose, it was an experience that as my aunt had said "softened my heart." Jose drove us to the village everyday, helping in the building process happily, enthusiastically, and genuinely. He drove us even when his bus broke down and the rental was costing him all the money we were paying him. If only I spoke more Spanish or he more English. We had so much fun trying to talk to each other. He is so loving to everyone, including his family who he is so proud of. Jose brought his family with him on the last day so we could meet the people from the small faded pictures in his wallet.
Warm is the only way I know how to describe Michellina and, really, her whole family. She was smiling though she was being taken along on a hot crowded bus, often feeling sick from her medication or chemo. She wanted to share in the special moment of my group and I presenting newly built houses to two Haitian families who were desperately in need of them.
I share my story because I hope that by sharing it, she can receive the help she needs, some how, if only in well wishes. Medications alone cost her about $100 US dollars a month, she also has to visit the doctor frequently. They sell items such as t-shirts. That, and Jose's driving is the total income which I can't imagine is nearly enough. Her daughter was translating Michellina's goodbye, she would see us next year if she was still alive. She said it so honestly and without pity. It has permanently left a heavy feeling on my heart.
Only 350 more days to go.
North York, Canada