By: Guest Bloggers Marina & Marv Didyk
When my husband, Marv, asked me where I wanted to go for my 50th birthday there was no hesitation on my part! The MORE Project in Brazil was it, and we never looked back! From the moment I saw the Momentum DVD and listened to Sergio Ponce and Katy Holt-Larsen, there was something in my heart that tugged at me for a long time. It wouldn’t let go and the more I learned what The MORE Project was all about the more I knew I had found what I had been looking for in the “give back” part of my life! We have been so blessed in our lives with a beautiful , healthy and happy family and wonderful careers and now at this stage of our lives we find that we need and also want to help those who haven’t had the opportunity or even thought to dream about the kind of life they could have. How can we not give back? I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding birthday present!
Travelling to Brazil and living in the Mona Vie Village has changed our lives and it is not easy to put my feeling into words. We happened to arrive on the opening day of the daycare and Mindy Relyea, Mirna and Gabriel Ponce, our Expedition leaders, walked us up to the cereche (daycare) to visit the 60 kids all under 4 years old that first morning. The kids were so friendly and affectionate and hugged us so tight. I remember thinking…wow…they are so happy! One little girl sat in the corner with a really sad face while all the other little ones were running around hugging everyone and laughing. I gravitated to her right away and went over and sat on the floor in the corner with her for quite a while and she just kept staring at me with big brown eyes and I wondered…”what is your story, little one”….I talked to her in English for while, knowing she couldn’t understand me but the feelings portrayed from one’s heart is universal and she slowly came around with a little bit of a smile and then finally she came to me with a hug and I know I will never forget that moment ever. Gabriella is two and Marv and I sponsored her that day. How could we not? We worked on the renovations for the daycare deck for 10 days and she was there every day watching us and we would stop for play breaks instead of coffee breaks and we would just hang out with her. We met her Mom and her brother and went to their home next door in the favelas. It was hard to see how they live, but what really touched us was that her family is a really proud family and Gabriella is loved so much….they just don’t have much….but they have dignity and are proud and they are happy. It sure taught us so much and we came away from Brazil feeling like we were the ones that received so much and not the other way around! We never knew our hearts could grow that large!
It was such a great experience working in the Village and getting to know the Ponce family and truly seeing what it is that they are doing. Helping one family at a time break the cycle of poverty and provide them with the tools to learn and bring hope back into their lives so now they can dream and their dreams can now become a reality.
Thank you to the whole MORE Family, thank you for all that you do. The Expedition experience is one we will never forget and the bonds and friendships that we developed.
If you really want to have a life changing experience go down to the Village and immerse yourself; you will come away a better person and it will change the way you look at life!