Now He Knows His Name!

DSC_7141.JPG Some of you reading this blog may remember my story about the little boy at the garbage dump that I found that told me he couldn’t remember what his name was that his mother called him. He was an orphan and had been without parents for more than 7 years. He was at the dump that day because he often came there looking for food and to collect bottles to get some form of income (less than 25 cents a day).

As our truck pulled once more into the village


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 31st, 2007

Participant Blog:I Will Do Something

DSC_6737.JPG Realizing that the food that I eat is something that he may never even dream about. The other day when I was working at one of the school sites I saw a little boy that was just sitting on the step not sitting with anyone, or playing with anyone, or even talking to any of the other Dominican children. When I tried to connect with him I realized that there was something different about this child. Not only that he was shy. I went back to work for a little while, but as I was taking a water break I realized that this little boy was now sitting in a little tree all by himself. I went back and I tried to talk to him and play with him for a little while and after about five minutes of trying his older brother came to help me. While I was connecting with his brother I asked (in very rough spanish) what was wrong with the little boy. He looked at me and said “ello es hambre” which means “he is hungry.” Looking my little friend in the eyes after hearing this filled me with an overwhelming sense that there was no hope in the world for little boys and girls like this one. I then realized that no matter what they think, I will do something…

~Sydnee Harrison

*All participants are given the opportunity to blog so many views are represented. These views do not neccesarily reflect the views of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Leadership Development. If you are a Hero Holiday participant that would like to share your experience please email your story (and picture, if possible) to

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 30th, 2007

Heartbeats and Mud Baths

How the time flies. It is speeding by at an incredulous rate; I wish we could just press pause and stop. Breathe, and bottle up these moments of the best days of our lives. It seems as though every day a miracle is waiting to happen.

The medical team has been making amazing progress in every village they visit. Originally, the plan was to start a clinic today at the dump worker’s village. Many families reside there, and we apprehended a very busy schedule, so we began a day early. We were right. Yesterday our fabulous nurses and Dr. Yogi saw around 100 patients, from newborn to grannys. Today, they saw well over that number. A pregnant woman got to hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time through a stethoscope, and was LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly glowing. Her daughter was there with her, also. The mother made sure she got to hear her new sibling, and the joy and excitement on her face was incredible. To make miracles even more unbelievable, what do you know; there were 2 heartbeats. Just like something from a fairytale.


At the new school project, the “mud pit”, (as it is now referred to) is muddier by the minute. Team workers had to be hosed off before they could board the bus as they were covered from head to toe. No matter how messy a job it is, they seem to come back loving it every time. At the two story church/community centre/school, the finishing touches have begun. The first of four pillars was poured today, a cylindrical support beam. The stairs have been poured, finally, after a month of wood pieces nailed to a concrete ramp. On the second level, which will serve as the school, all the walls are completed. Two of the five classrooms have finished flooring. A swingset donated by Hero Holiday is in the ground (about 3 feet deep), and may even be cemented in tomorrow. The fence surrounding the grounds is looking good; the first layer of bricks have been laid. Not much more to go. We are nearing completion of this 2-year project! What once started out as a dream is now truely reality. Especially come September, when hundreds more kids are able to attend a free school in real classrooms!


Author: LiveDifferent


Participant Blog: A Day in the Village

Hero Holiday playing at La Union 002 Hero Holiday playing at La Union 001 Today was LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly the most amazing day ever. First half of the day we went to the dump and we were doing everything from handing out medicine at the pharmacy to helping them pick bottles out of the trash to just plain hanging around with them. Flies were all over the place, but thankfully enough they didn’t bite at all.

The best part definitely had to be when we went to the village where most of these people who work at the dump and their families live. As soon as we got there, I had a girl jump on my back and take me on a tour around the whole village. Coming back, we had a great time dancing and running around. Of course, as soon as the other kids saw this, they all decided they needed to jump on, so I ended up having as much as 6 kids at once on top of me while I was trying very hard to walk! I put them all down and went up to this one boy to introduce myself, and after him trying to explain to me in Creole what he wanted to do, we got into the most intense half-hour game of slaps you have ever seen. We started walking around, and met up with a couple others kids. We all tried to get our names out, but I only could remember three. They were having a little trouble pronouncing Brendon right, so I just got them to call me Mike. Anyway, they all were chasing me, trying to get on top of me and that soon turned into the longest, fastest, sweatiest 3 hour game of tag, EVER. We ran through the village, all around the road and the bus, literally everywhere. The funniest thing was when they all got on the bus and were yelling ‘ MIKE! MIKE!’ and sticking their tongues out. As soon as I got on top of the bus, they ran off. We were jumping off of it, running around it, it was amazing. The weird thing was, as tired and sweaty as I was getting, they didn’t seem to tire one bit. They just kept going and going and going and going and going and going… and of course who am I to stop their fun? So we ran and ran and ran the whole day long.

Soon before we were about to leave, we ‘slowed down’, which of course just meant that instead of tag, I was giving them all piggy back rides and carrying them until my arms and shoulders were killing me again. Could I stop? Of course not! So we just carried on, having fun without a care in the world. Then came the hardest part: saying goodbye.

“Walter” took me by the hand and sat me down, looked at my watch and tapped my wrist, asking me to give it to him. We aren’t allowed to, so I said no, but as soon as I did and looked him in the eyes it completely broke my heart. I picked him up and brought him over to Rana, and asked her if I was allowed to leave him my hat. I was allowed to, so I gave it to him, but he didn’t want to keep it; he kept trying to give it back to me. We got a translator to come over to tell him he could keep it. He tried saying something to me, and the translator said he was asking if we were coming back tomorrow, which we weren’t sure if we could. We walked around a bit more, then we had to get on the bus. I gave him the biggest hug, then said bye and got on the bus. I sat down, and we waved to each other. He started to walk away, and every two steps he would turn around and wave back. He walked about 50 feet away, and stopped by the Hero Holiday CR-V and waved and waved. He came back and sat against a pole and continued waving. We started to ‘pound it’ from 5 feet away, and it was awesome that he knew exactly what we were doing as soon as I raised my hand. Rana was taking awhile, so I asked Lea if I could go over and say bye again, and I beat it over and gave him the biggest, longest hug ever. I got back on the bus, and we started on up the hill and him waving the whole time. When we got to the bottom of the hill on the other side, I looked back to the top, and all I saw was a blue shirt, white hat and a hand in the air waving wildly all over the place. It completely broke my heart and I hope Christal lets us go back to visit tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s pretty much a run-down of the most amazing day of my life, and I know that it was too for everyone else in our group. Being down there with them, looking them in the eyes, just made this whole thing completely worthwhile, and I would do it again in an instant.

Brendon Hayward ( a.k.a. to the kids, Mike)

*All participants are given the opportunity to blog so many views are represented. These views do not neccesarily reflect the views of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Leadership Development. If you are a Hero Holiday participant that would like to share your experience please email your story (and picture, if possible) to

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 29th, 2007

A Clinic, A Cement Challenge and a Mud Fight

hey all 009 Medical clinics commenced today, with the medical team seeing about 40 patients at the worksite. Students helped out by organizing supplies and handing out medication. It was a successful first clinic, with everyone working together. The new school that was started this year is looking good, most of the walls are complete and the roof is well on its way. Participants mixed sweat with water when they hit water level digging the bano. (bathroom pit). Only another 20 inches is needed, and it will be a muddy 20 inches! They stayed cool and exfoliated when mud fights broke loose. At the school worksite that was started last year, students pickaxed through two layers of concrete flooring. With the second story up, additional support is needed, so 4 pillars are being brought into the construction equation. When students broke through the first layer, there were only a few moments of celebration before they realized the second layer underneath. However, progress is rapid as this is a hardworking group. Tonight they are keeping busy with a pool party consisting of handstand competitions, synchronized swimming routines, and tea parties on the pool floor. Music and cheering can be heard throughout the resort. After a long, hot first day, a good nights sleep is needed for another busy schedule coming up tomorrow.

(Thought you might like to see a mud fight)

hey all 027

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 28th, 2007

The start of Week 3

Picture 72For the start of week 3, participants from separate nations (big welcome to our Denmark participants!!) had their eyes opened today as a result of coming face to face with abject poverty. The two teams started out their trip with an awareness tour. They visited worksites and villages that they will be helping throughout the next ten days. For many, this was their first experience in a developing country, and it came as a shock to see that what we take for granted on a daily basis, others strive to have. There are debriefing sessions every day to discuss the impressions left and feelings felt. Tonight, groups are gathered around the resort discussing our lifestyles compared to those that are seen in this country. How is it that we live in countries so full of wealth and abundance, while others must live each day deciding which of their children gets to eat?

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 27th, 2007

By the end of Trip Two…

…this is where we ended up!

School Project #1

The Clinic. Not bad for starting from scratch, I’d say!


The upstairs classrooms. Kind of hard to take pictures that do it justice. There are 4 classrooms under construction here.


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 26th, 2007

The Best Party Ever!!

IMGP0336 This past Monday morning, when my alarm went off, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get out of bed! I knew the day ahead of me would be wild and busy, and that at the end of it I would be physically and emotionally drained; and I was right:)

For the past 3 weeks, I have been leading the Hero Holiday teams here in Dominican Republic as we go to the garbage dump in our community and I have been overwhelmed with what we have experienced and how we have been changed; most of all myself! I have always considered my life to be rich beyond measure because of the people that I work with in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), but this summer, I have a new reason: the Hero Holiday people that I am proud to lead. On Monday we threw a HUGE party at the garbage dump for the people who live and work in that community: complete with dancing, rice and beans, two huge


Author: LiveDifferent


Final Destination

Hola, amigos! Team Three has reached their final destination at Sosua, Dominican Republic. They are all going for a little snooze as it has no doubt been a very long night! When they wake up, all of your messages will be waiting for them on the wall 🙂

Author: LiveDifferent


Hero Update

Hello everyone! The second team has arrived on Canadian soil safe and sound and happy about flushing toilet paper. (You had to be there:) And…we are saying hello to all our new heroes for the third trip who just got off the bus from the airport. What an emotional roller coaster! Oh my!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 24th, 2007