4,451 Km

4451 Km,
65 hours,
And far to much fast food

Oh the joys of been on the road.

So here we are in Vancouver, after a short stop over in Winnipeg to catch up with the Hundredfold boys, (who treated us like royalty may I add).

Having looked round Vancouver and spent a couple of days with our amazing billets, we can officially say, we love the west coast. It reminds me a lot of the South Island of NZ.

We had a good fun show in Britannia today as well. Thanks for having us guys.

Hoping to meet a whole heap more of you soon.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 26th, 2008

On the Elephant Trail

We are in northern Thailand on a Hero Holiday, and having the adventure of our lives! In the world in which we are working in, nothing ever goes according to plan, and we now have a favorite saying: everything is TBA! The children’s home that we are working in now has over 100 kids, and things move slowly, because it is a real challenge to transport them and get from Point A to Point B. Yesterday, we faced the biggest challenge of them all: getting 135 people to the elephant conservation centre and back…did I mention that it was a 5 hour trip, that we woke up at 4:00am, and that when we got to the meeting place only one small bus showed up? Minor technicalities like that?

Molly and the Elephant

At first, we thought it was only a simple 3 hour tour, but the trip took on a Gilligan’s Island feel when you throw in the fact that there are now people riding in the back of the small pickups, that we couldn’t go very fast, that it rained at one point, and that there were lots of little people getting car sick on the side of the road. Now, it took on a whole new excitement! By the time we reached the elephant conservation area, we were ready to drop, but that was where the real fun began! The kids oohed and awwed at the elephants as they watched them play a giant xylophone, paint flowers with their trunks and curtsy for the crowds. They got to pet them (which, by the way,they are very bristly!) and be tickled by their trunks. It was worth it all to see them laugh and giggle, knowing where these children had come from and what their pain had been before they arrived at this home that we are helping at.


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 16th, 2008

Thailand Tales….

After what seemed like endless hours, days of travel we finally landed in Bangkok. I felt like l had returned to visit an old friend.The site of her brings a smile to my face and the smell of her brings a flood of memories. I really do love it here!My name is Erica, and I am from Newmarket, Ontario. I am volunteer with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), and I am really excited to be back in Thailand with such amazing people once again. I have been able to see some of the children that I met last year and see that they are thriving under the care of an incredible woman who gives of herself in a manner that I, in my North American attitude, can not grasp. As I catch up with old and new friends, I inquire about children that I can remember and have been concerned about, and I am especially relieved to learn of the safety of a little boy I met and shared lunch with at KFC. (yes they like their KFC here!)Although this has only been my second time here, I feel I have a slight advantage to a few of the team members yet miles and miles to go before I have any understanding of the culture here. The people here are kind, gentle and soft spoken (certainly a contrast to me!), yet what happens here to people in Northern Thailand is almost unbelievable.For me the hardest thing to grasp is statelessness. It incredible to believe that as you play with a group of children, as you hug them and hold them, as they sing to you and give you a necklace made of flowers, that according to the government and the international community, these children don’t exist. Legally they cannot attend school, they cannot get medical care, they cannot work. It’s unimaginable to my Canadian sensibilities that someone doesn’t exist.I hope that I will never understand how statelessness happens and maybe that will remind me to keep telling you about these children. As I tell you and you tell others maybe then they will exist, maybe not as a citizen, but maybe as a encouragement, maybe as a reminder of the courageous, as a reminder of a survivor.Now YOU know of a group of children in Northern Thailand that don’t “exist” yet they do!, You know that they sing songs, that they are courageous, they are survivors. Will you let someone else know that they exist?–

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 13th, 2008

The “A Team” is on the move

The A TeamSo the “A team” are ready to go, we have played local shows for the last month and have met some great people, stayed in some great houses, slept on some great couches.But next week we leave, we drive all the way to Vancouver and then work our way back for 6 weeks, over the mountains, across the prairies, and back to the beautiful and scenic metropolis of Hamilton, ON. (which I am always sad to leave behind)In that 6 weeks we should be speaking to around 20,000 students, all who have an amazing opportunity in life, an opportunity to make a difference. Thats all I need to remember every time we get up at 4 am, every time we unload and load the bus, every time we set up, only to take down an hour later, we don’t do this for us, we do this for you, one of the amazing people we meet each and every day, and for the people who’s lives you will effect and change in the future.15000 km, church floors, and not much sleep, and I’m really looking forward to it.All Left OutThis semester we are touring with All Left Out, a great band all the way from New Zealand, these guys have played on Warped tour for the last 3 years and have sold over 30,000 albums, so look forward to having them in your school, because they are awesome. You can check out their stuff on Myspace or on their website And you can also check out their video blogs on You Tube

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 11th, 2008

A Lesson In Paint Colour

The sun rose to a beautiful, dark gray day. Work day two. Everyone is feeling the muscles they used the day before and there is a little underlying excitement, the house goes up today.

The sky is gray and our crew chief, Gerard, is looking a little green. Not feeling so hot today, but hoping it will pass, so off the site they go. As it ends up, the beautifully hot day we had the day before left Gerard with some sunstroke, and the only productive thing he could do was to bless the tires of his truck with the contents of his stomach. A little irony, the man who was the water police the day before hadn’t kept himself hydrated; lesson in itself for those of us who are always looking to help others and forget about helping ourselves.
Picture it now. It is the Trading Spaces moment that some TLC lovers sit on the edge of their arm chairs for. The paint reveal. The family had requested creamy, off white. And the store had given us the closest they had to that colour. Drum roll please, students waiting for work to do, family looking on in anticipation, and ta-da, BRIGHT ORANGE!

Not creamy off-white. Not even close. If it was Trading Spaces, there would be a sassy neighbour sticking up for their friends best interests, their best interests really, if they valued the friendship. But it’s Mexico, home of passionate people who love bright colours. Someone in the village might actually have that paint on their house. So the question is asked of the mother who had a look of… something that wasn’t delight… on her face. What do you think? This is what we have. Is it ok? And she says yes.

Hearts sink and red flags go up. It is not a yes that she means. It is a polite yes, one that she has said because she didn’t want to offend the group, and had no cultural idea how to directly ask for something different, especially since she can see that this is what we had. So she was a trooper and sucked it up. There were some task-orientated people who blew the work whistle and tried to rally the workers to start spreading that Tropicana sunshine on the walls of the new house. And there were some students who read the situation correctly and were working up the nerve to blow another whistle, the time out one.

It is only a paint colour. But it is not what the family requested, and even though the mother has given a verbal yes, it is not what she wants. There are two possibilities. Go ahead with the colour that hunters wear to avoid being shot, or find another option.

But someone has to be the voice, someone has to stand up for the family’s wishes. Someone has to take the risk and stand up against the something that is already moving in a different direction, a direction more towards orange. And someone does. And many others sigh in relief that someone said something, and tension exists, and uncertainty exists, and a solution is needed.

After some creative thinking and a phone call, an easy solution is to go back to the hardware store, find the colour that was passed over because it may have been too gray, purchase it, bring it back and present the mother with the choice of what she would prefer. There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain. The worse thing that is possibly going to happen is that we will have some orange paint left over, or some off-white left over.

After some re-shifting of plans, our dehydrated and heaving crew chief was sent home to be tended to by his wife while the new paint was brought to the worksite for yet, another reveal. The mother choose the lighter colour paint, the one that extra effort was put in to make sure she was getting what she wishes.

It’s a paint colour. And even more. It is advocacy and it is dignity. Practiced by a group of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 20. It was them speaking up for a woman who couldn’t find her voice in a situation. It is them realizing that there are more important things than just doing the work. There is the chance to speak up, to think, to preserve a persons dignity. To go beyond what they are here in Mexico to accomplish; to how they will accomplish it.

And for that I am very proud of them. Well done

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 10th, 2008

Day One…by Andrea Lamont

Our group arrived here yesterday excited and ready for their Hero Holiday. After picking them up at the airport in San Diego and getting to know them on the way over the Tijuana border, I knew for sure that this is going to be a great trip. Our first adventure was to rent some stallions (horses that is) and take a ride along the beach. Surreal for most of us, sitting on top of the horse looking out at the city to our left, ocean to our right, and our destination in front of us. Then back to the van we went driving along the winding roads… after about 4 hours we arrived to our home sweet home. Of course the first meal that we ate had to be somewhat “Mexican” so the leadership students made up some quesadillas, nachos, salsa and guacamole.horseback rising on the beach Today we started Hero Holiday orientation. Becky took us to meet the family we are building for and around to a few of the projects that the organization has already done and we talked about cultural differences. We discussed how well off we are as “North American’s”. She gave us a chance to look around at different places in the area, she took us to an old shipwreck, the beach, a graveyard and we checked out some workers camps from a distance. awareness tour The most impacting part of today was when we were visiting the grave sight. See this graveyard isn’t like most in Canada, or even anywhere I’ve been before. This one is dedicated solely to children. The grave sight went on forever; I couldn’t even start to count. Some of the graves were not labeled and then some had crosses or monuments above them. We walked along side reading the dates and names on the memorials. Most of the children had only been about 4 or 5. If that wasn’t enough to break my heart, I looked ahead a couple of feet and saw fresh flowers. As I was walking over to it, it hit me… This young boy died two days ago, he was only three weeks old. He never even got a chance to live. I had to close my eyes to blink away the tears. At the back of my mind I got lost in my thoughts, the cruelty of living in poverty. Not having the right resources or knowledge to prevent diseases, not having the money or shelter to keep your kids watching us:)

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 4th, 2008

A c-r-a-z-y March has begun!

Today has been our first full day of the first trip in Mexico, we are looking into a great month with three different teams coming to make a difference in the lives of the people here. And put on top of that a Thailand trip, well, it looks like a busy and exciting month for Hero Holiday.As well as having teams here for the next five weeks, the LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) School of Leadership has been here since January, holding strong and loving it until May. The School of Leadership students are hosting the Hero Holidays with us, as well as being up to their own adventures. Andrea Lamont, one of the students, is going to be blogging this trip for you, so sit back and enjoy.

Author: LiveDifferent