A Bunch of (Almost) Strangers...

I'm currently heading across the country, in a cramped bus, with 7 people I met less than a month ago.

What in the world have I gotten myself into?  The answer is simple. Live Different.
Team 2016

St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School Blogs and Updates

April 23rd
We arrived safely to the Dominican Republic on Saturday evening. We met with the Live Different staff, and checked into our resort room.
April 24th
On Saturday morning we attended mass. We were wearing our Live Different t-shirts and actually got called up to the altar to represent the organization!

I just came home from a Live Different Build...now what?

I have now been on two trips with Live Different (both of which were in the Dominican) and each time, the goodbyes only seem to get harder. With Live Different, you build so much more than a home for a family.

Great Expectations

Expectation is a funny thing. It can move you to action anticipating one outcome, only to find that what you finally experience is something quite different. This was the case in my experience with the Live Different Build trip.

A Different Path

At the beginning of grade 12 I thought I had my whole future planned out. I’d go to university the following year and complete a degree in International Development. While that is still my plan, I have just taken a different path to get there.

What does "Life is About People, not Stuff" mean at Christmas?

Live Different’s motto, ‘Life is About People, not Stuff’, can make us pretty uncomfortable around the holiday season. It’s uncomfortable because we’re bombarded with messages to buy expensive gifts to prove to people that we care about them. It’s uncomfortable because people literally push, shove and even trample over one another to get the best deals on whatever the hot item is that year. It’s uncomfortable, because most of us have more than enough already, and don’t really need any of the stuff that’s going to be waiting for us under the tree on Christmas morning.

From the Ground Up

This week was our build week. Instead of a house build like Live Different normally does, we decided to switch things up a bit and work on a schoolhouse project.

Desert Adventures

For the last two and half months we have adventured to many different places that are reflective of the Mexican culture. A few of my favourites were a volcano hike, Lucha Libre, Globos market, and the Baja 1000 off-road race. All of these excursions were terrific outings where we met many kind people and experienced Mexican culture.

What Life is about People means to me

Today was our fortieth presentation. We woke up, say goodbye to our incredible billets, drove to the school, and set up.

No Hombres? No Problem

This week I attended our different volunteer positions and visited my host family one evening. I really enjoy going to Buen Samaritano, because I like the work I get the opportunity to do there. I enjoy the reactions I get when I ask for the "man’s" job.

Time - An Undervalued Luxury

This week was very challenging, but also very rewarding. I was able to learn so much about poverty and about those experiencing poverty that I’ve never thought about before. One of the hardest things I learned this week is how little free time people have to spend with family and friends. There is always something to do.

The Most Empowering Week of My Life

Being empowered doesn't come from things that come easy to us. It comes from the tougher times where we push ourselves to the limits and survive to tell the story. That's how I feel about this experience.

Four Thousand Zucchinis

We returned to the fields again and this time was more interesting for me because I was actually able to go. I was sick the day before and had to stay behind.  I have some previous farming experience from my work back in Canada. We harvested zucchini, cutting them off the plant and then throwing them in the dirt to be collected later. This surprised us all. In Mexico, only the small little zucchini’s are able to be sold, apparently no one wants to eat the larger ones. The concept still confuses me, the fact that so much food goes to waste simply because of its shape and size, because the market prefers them a certain way.

A Positive Look at Challenges

Planning for Week in the Life, learning what it was about, and trying to think of ways to prepare for it, was all very exciting. However, now that we are actually a part of the experience, we have a totally new mindset.

The Littlest Things can Mean a Lot

When I made plans to come here to the Live Different Academy, I didn’t have any idea what it would be like. So far, it has been one surprise after another. The things I know that have proven useful are not what I expected to use. At Oasis, an after-school program for kids, I have been able to embrace my love of art and share it with the children. One of the teachers there invited me to do art lessons with the kids and I jumped at the chance. Art is something I love so much because it is a great way to express yourself and it can never be wrong. Art is an interpretation of who the artist is. Above all else, my hope is that the children will take that lesson with them.