Helping others ‘Live Different’
Building homes in Dominican Republic got Janet Hynes through tough times
Having recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic where she led a team of 11 women building a new home for people who needed it, Janet Hynes feels a mixture of emotions.
A manager at the Stone Jug in Carbonear, Janet was pleased with the work they did giving a family a home that will withstand flooding. However, her heart is heavy with the news that Benjamin Cole Brown, the program manager for Live Different in the Dominican Republic, is missing and presumed dead following an airplane crash off the country’s north coast last month.
“It’s very rough for me right now,” Janet said. “He’s one of the guys who spoke to me when I left in April 2013 and said, ‘You’ll be fine, and you will be back.’”
Getting involved with the Canadian charity happened by accident. A person mistakenly called her home in 2012 on behalf of Live Different at a time when Janet had just lost her father and a brother.
“I felt I had no purpose anymore,” she said.
Janet had travelled many times to the Dominican Republic over the years and would often take items with her to hand out (something she no longer does, as such gestures can have unexpected conse- quences for the local economy). She looked up Live Different online while taking the phone call and by the end of it had agreed to take part in a house build.
Her first trip in 2013 was a rough one. She found it emotionally upsetting to see the lengths people would go just to eat, watching displaced Haitians scrounge through a garbage dump and fight over fruit that had insects crawling all over it.
“It’s still very hard to talk about,” she said. “I don’t think it will ever leave me.”
Her reluctance to return the next year faded following a chat she had with Benjamin Brown.
“He said, ‘You’ll come back. You’ll bring people, because this has affected you.’”
Those words proved to be right.
“If everyone that went there felt the way I did, then nobody would ever go back and nothing would ever be done,” she said. “So as I came home and thought about it, I decided maybe this was the purpose again. Now this is my holiday every year, so to speak.”
Since she first started trav- elling to Augas Negras, Janet has noticed a lot of change in the community, particularly when it comes to living conditions. A few North American companies sponsored builds in the area too, which has contributed to improvements in Augas Negras.
Mould build-up in flooded homes is known to cause illness in the community. Teams like Janet’s — which goes by the name Making More Change — build homes raised from the ground with a concrete foundation.
With 2017 being her fifth year organizing a trip with Live Different, Janet hopes to lead her biggest group yet to the Caribbean nation. She said there’s already been a few people in the Carbonear area who’ve expressed an interest in getting involved.
“The more you have, the more you build,” she said. Making More Change will return to the Dominican Republic next October. Weblink: www. livedifferent.com
Janet Hynes, far rights, works on the walls of a new duplex her team Making More Change built in Augas Negras, Dominican Republic last month.
Carmen, one of the women who will live in a new home Janet Hynes helped build, waves a Newfoundland and Labrador flag.
Eleven women were part of the team Making More Change that travelled to the Dominican Republic last month to build a new home.
The new house in Augas Negras, Dominican Republic.