We have been keeping it on the downlow as to “why”, but yes we are back in the DR. We have been here for 6 days now and have another 10 before we reunite with our boat which we left in Salinas, Puerto Rico. We were invited back here by a friend that works for a Canadian non-profit organization called Live Different. The reason we were invited was to come and experience one of the projects that Live Different is running to see if this could be something that we would be interested in doing for a future job opening come March 2014. 
   This organization runs volunteer projects to Mexico, DR, Haiti, and Thailand. Their volunteers invest both their time and money and spend one week building houses for the less fortunate while getting to know the community. The programs started off being geared towards high school students but has grown to include adults of all ages and companies such as West Jet and Boston Pizza. They also run an internship program out of their Mexico office, do a yearly trip to Thailand to work with kids that were pulled out of the sextrade, and have road crews that drives across Canada doing presentations and awareness seminars in high schools all along the way. Their DR and Haiti projects are starting to gain a lot of interest and they have found themselves needing some more staff. That’s where we come in. We are here getting our feet wet and seeing if the position of “project coordinators” would be something we would want to pursue within this organization. The job position is for 8 months and is a “couples” geared position, meaning both Eben and I would have onsite and administration tasks split between us.

   So far we have been having a lot of fun. The staff are great, everyone has been extremely welcoming to our presence here. The work that this organization does is amazing, not only are they building homes in the slums of Puerto Plata’s “Nuevo Renacer” and “Arroyo Seco” but they are exposing groups of volunteers to some of the poverty situations that are going on in this community, and the world. Eben has been running his very own house build, as the supervisor, with part of a high school group. They have become very cohesive and branded themselves as the pink group, each wearing pink bandanas to show their team spirit. I have been a “floater” taking the girls between work sites and participating in something they call a “Day in the life”. The day in the life they take a few of their volunteers at a time and bring them into the some of the homes in the slums (that HAVE NOT been rebuilt) to do some cleaning, washing of clothes, and cooking, with the family. They get the opportunity to experience what “a day in their lives” are truly like.
   Eben and I participated in a program similar to this when we were 18, but on a longer term volunteer exchange called Canada World Youth. It is interesting to see that we have now come full circle and are considering running one such program and sharing these experiences with others. Also getting to share this experience with the girls has given them such a learning opportunity about the realities that are out there and we are excited as to how this will open their minds to future experiences.

   We will keep you posted as our time here goes on, but here are a few pictures of what we have been up to so far.

The girls with their new friend Melissa

Some of Eben’s team Pink

The three month old baby that had the girls asking me for another baby sister

three boys gathered around playing games on one cell phone

The neighbourhood we’re working in

Ellia’s boyfriend

a little work break for Papa to hang with his girls

snack time for the girls, in the slums, nothing to it

team pink learning some Dominican dance moves

the sewage that runs through this community(hence the area’s former name of Aguas Negra)

the houses that back on to the sewage, where their kids play

mixing concrete

everyone wants to help out

one of the “Day in the Life” houses. this is what some of the houses look like before they are rebuilt. This is their kitchen

the lunch the group is preparing during their “day in the life”

this gives a different meaning to “open air”

Their bedroom

Some heavy lifting required for this job

making sure all the work sites have water

Eben And Gustavo (the local contractors are hired to lead the builds)

This is Emily, she will be living in the house that Eben’s team is building

their bathtub

his house