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.

Giving is Getting

Most of us forget that poverty exists. We forget as we pull out our phones to get updated on Facebook, as we drive in our air conditioned vehicles, as we contemplate whether or not to purchase a new piece of clothing.

Witnessing the light bulb

We've been on tour for almost two months, and our team has been all the way to Brandon, MB and back…which is ironic, because we are the east coast team. (And yes we know what direction is east!) We have taken a break in Hamilton and now we're ACTUALLY heading to the east coast.

Bienvenidos a Casa - Welcome home!

"I have no words." This is the phrase that was delivered several times in front of a large assembly of WestJetters and community members packed into a small street in Nuevo Renacer. The words were spoken, through tears, by people whose lives changed profoundly as they received the keys to homes that would keep them safe, dry and fill them with pride. The speakers were not alone in shedding tears.

Get to know our LDA's!

16 young people from all over Canada have travelled to Mexico to complete a 14 week program where they study a social justice curriculum, learn Spanish, volunteer in the community, build a home for a family, and make some awesome friendships along the way!

Watching something great

We have now been here for a week; what a week it has been. When we arrived we had 50 WestJetters, many of who have never met before, and now after just seven short days, new friends and life long memories have been made.

Through the difficulties, love, hope, and faith conquer

Today we met Gabriela (aka Gladys), gramma of four grandchildren: Rameidy, Isidro, Keiri, and Polanco. Gladys is 55 years old and has been living in Puerto Plata for 51 years. She has two children, a boy and a girl who are both in their 30s. Gladys has lived in her present home for 19 years and has seen a fair share of flooding and rain coming through the roof into her house. Her children both work and live nearby, but they are unable to have their children live with them and so Gladys is the children’s guardian.

What did you say we are building?

Have you ever had that feeling that you've known someone for years after you only a few short hours of chatting? What if you could multiply that feeling by 50? What if you also shared with those same 50 people a strong feeling of pride and belonging, thousands of kilometres from home, because you work in the same company? How crazy is that?! Yet that is what we are experiencing on the Live Different build, but it doesn't end there.

What a change

I have the privilege to be here with WestJetters from all over the WestJet world and what an amazing experience it has been after just three short days! Today was the first of our build days, which meant we finally got to get into the community and get to work. This is my second WestJet Hero Holiday and as a team lead, I have been super stoked for this day for many months.