Reaching New Destinations

Poverty is the lack of opportunity and choices. Since my first Live Different Build in 2012 I have learned we must choose to turn towards those in need and take action on their behalf.

Live Different Stories: Casley and Kitson

These two boys are an incredible pair.
Casley is 6 years old, and was born with a medical condition

Guts and Grace

I remember sitting on my bathroom floor crying my eyes out after I had just gotten back from my first Live Different build trip to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2011. They weren’t just tears of an angry humanitarian or of a confused and angry 17 year old. They were tears because I knew from that moment on, my life was going to be forever changed by Live Different and I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like.

Bitter Sweet

Today we woke up as if it were a regular morning… we got to finally sleep in, enjoy a great breakfast and relax with our friends but today was one of the most memorable days of our lives.

Making a Change

So far our journey has been much more than we expected it to be, as we have made connections and relationships with many people in the community. We have always wanted to help the less fortunate and make a change in our world. It is an incredible opportunity we have been given to not only accomplish this goal, but also to be accomplishing it together.

Building Houses and Building Friendships

Today was filled with a lot of hard work and cement mixing, but we also had the opportunity to sit down with the family we are building for and really get to know them, with the help of our translator, Charlie. We asked them questions about their daily routines, how long they have lived in the community, and were able to make jokes and laugh with them.

Out the Gate

It's our first day of building! Our group split into two teams, one at each job site, and started working hard. At the sites, we worked extremely hard mixing cement, carrying blocks, moving buckets full of mortar and laying brick. By lunch we had all worked up a sweat and enjoyed a well-deserved break playing with the kids at the school. Between playing basketball, sitting and talking with the kids, and joking around, it was wonderful.

Seeing Familiar Faces

“Welcome to the Dominican” was said to the 28 students and 5 teachers as we got our bags and finally set foot into the world of unknown for many, and a familiar area for others. Being back in the Dominican felt great to myself and I could feel the excitement from many others who have never been before. The hot air and sun on our skin is way better than Canada right now!

Extend your love

We've learned so many things on this trip, and yet there is still so much to become more aware of. Throughout the past week we have been going into communities with the offer of our compassion. We have met beautiful children and unbelievably strong elders, while constantly asking them what their names are and their interests and any question that will allow us to really understand who they are, as we know that the their value and passions are not defined by the conditions they are forced to live with. Poverty does not have a fence built around it. There is no “designated area of caring”.

A Complex Reality

Poverty is always a multifaceted story. Whether you are in Nuevo Renacer of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, or Regent Park in Toronto, Ontario, the families, cultures, and histories of the people will always have unique challenges, yet share relatable experiences and perspectives that bring to light the complex reality of living in poverty.

Quick Connections

Today was absolutely amazing. Our first build day was so much fun, working with the team and bonding with the family and the translators. Other members of my team agree that even though we have only known these people for a very short time, the bond we have already created with them is incredible.

A New Extended Family

Amazing is one way to describe today. In the morning I did the Day in the Life program. Three of us students, along with a teacher and a translator, went to a house in the community to see how they spend their days. We cooked and cleaned and played with the kids. It was a blast!

From the ground up

Building a home from the ground up was enlightening. You could never understand the joy that comes with creating something so profoundly palpable, until you do it with your own hands. When you rise up with the morning sun, put on your soggy work gloves, and hop onto the open back truck, and drive to the work site. The sense of pride you have, despite your aching back. Because with every shovel full of gravel and concrete that you extract from earth, you are painfully aware of how you are breaking ground both literally and figuratively. It’s a good ache.

The journey that awakened my soul

“Change yourself, and the world changes”-Big Brother Ray

The best things about Mexico

Mexico is a beautiful country with great diversity. Here in the state of Baja California you can find volcanoes, mountains, desert, ocean and possibly the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Though all of this is fantastic and certainly desirable, they are far from my favourite part of Mexico. For me, the true beauty lies within the hearts of the people; their stories, their smiles, their laughter and their happiness.