Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mark Trost May 26, 1987 - February 28, 2009

My sisters boyfriend and my good friend Mark Trost passed away yesterday in the morning. I love him, he is my first real brother in law and certainly a man who always acted as a real brother to me. He lived a short but eventful life. Was good at everything, a hockey player, a carpenter, a buisiness man, a friend, a brother, a son, plus he had the especially bad habit of bringing a smile to everyone he met. He was and always will be so much more than I or anyone can ever sum up in words, and I will always have a place for him in my heart.

Although it hurts many of us to see him pass so young, we can all find comfort in the fact he no longer has to endure anymore pain. If you ever met Mark, you will know he was an amazing human being to be around, and one that has definitly made an impact on many lives. He accomplished more in his short time than most ever do and it is a life worth celebrating.

I would ask that anyone who can be there for my sister who needs a hug and a hand to hold. And be there for each other, death is always hard but it is important that we use it to remind ourselves how short and important life is. Live like Mark did, he is a role model for all of us.

So next time you sit down for a drink. Raise your glass to a man who would have raised his twice for you.

I love you Mark


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Demejagua Again

Okay, so this will be my first real post since i got here. I deleted all my videos from the first week out of frustration for the computers here. However, i will be going back to the town i started in (los almendros), on monday and I will just retake all the videos and pretend the mac trip is there, with some careful camera work no one will know the difference.

So without further waiting... here is my first post of the trip, please keep in mind it is on an english keyboard with a spanish driver so to give you an idea of what i am dealing with.... shift 1234567890 comes out as ยช"/()¡!¿?₧ and thats only on this paticular keyboard... everyone i have used seams to be different.

So i spent the past week in a community called Demajagua. And for those of you who dont know that is where DREAMS@MAC was last year. It was amazing going back to a town I had been to before I had never had that expereince. I handed out pictures to people, and saw the finished house that we started last year. Which was a very rewarding feeeling. When you come on a trip for a week you never get to see the finished product with someone actually living in it so that was a real treat.

The man on the far left is the one who lives in this paticularily small house alone. The man in the middle bartino helped build with us last year and now has a house of his own which he shares with his sister and her family.

For the DREAMERS from May you will be happy to know there are many new houses complete in the town, about 5 of them. I took a picture of the city from up high.

The house on the closer side of the road is Yeiri's (the 16 year old who pines for me). And you can see about 4 new houses from this view. The house we stayed in last year is just behind a tree on the far right, and our work site this year is middle left up the hill on the opposite side as most the houses. It was same as always work laying bricks mostly.

Habier looking quite grown up.
Jose Luis is the first person I met last year in Demajagua. I asked him how he was and he said terrible... his entire family was dead and he had walked all the way here from haiti and was all alone. He is still very much alive, quite homeless, slightly crazy and strangly good spirited.

Anice and the little girl from the town store.

Anice Domingo is a deaf mute who lives in Demajagua. He is now going to school in Ocoa. He asked about everyone from the trip last year and almost killed me with laughter when he asked about Nicco by making his eyes small and doing karate moves. He thinks nicco looks like jackie chan.

I only spent two days actually working. We did not get up the mountain until Tuesday and I had food poisoning from eating oysters at the beach on the weekend. So i spent Tuesday in bed. Wednesday was a holiday and my group went up the mountain and got insanly drenched by rain and insanley dirty and quite literally nearly fell off the side of the mountain in a small truck. I slept in until i felt better. After which, I proceeded to sit on porches and drink with Dominicans. But on thursday and friday i worked really hard, well half of friday we did go home in the afternoon. Oh well... on a side note here is an exceprt from my journal regarding oysters:

Food poisoning = almost over.... next time you are at a beach and a stranger offers you oysters, decline. He is most likely an assassin or robot sent from the future to destroy you.

On the final day I was hanging out with a new friend named Yobert... he is actually Yeiri's brother. I went to see his house his baby and his pregnant wife. It was very very modest, and i felt a real connection to him.. like sometime in the future i might be struggling to do the canadian equivilant. He was always so nice to me during the week and his family was really ncie to me last year. Anyways, I asked him why he had a motercycle in the middle of his kitchen/livingroom/den/diningroom, and he told me it had broken and he needed a new part for it which costed about 1000 pesoes. A quick calculation in my head told me that equals a weeks wages for him.. or a case of beer in canada for me. I gave him the money and he almost died of shock, he thanked me and his wife thanked me and i left with the smug feeling of being a slightly better human being some other lesser human being. A feeling well worth 40 dollars.

Yobert and Yeiri.... awesome people

Cocao our foreman... his name means chocolate
Wakki0 (pronounced warkio) pretends to be a deaf mute when infront of haitians or other people he does not like. Has the funniest laugh ever....
Los Alemdoros... this is a bad picture of the view i am going back to next week.... be jealous.... or come to the DREAMS trip in may.

Overall i feel amazing. I know have a proper place to stay on the weekends with all my stuff... so i am no longer moving all my stuff all the time. I am getting used to cold showers... (no me and steph are fine, i mean there is no hot water here and i always have to have cold showers) the people here are so nice to me and because i stick out so much the all remember me and I often have people showing up wherever I am saying they heard i was around and they came to visit me. I am having a great time here but I obviosly miss all of you so much. I will try to post pictures on facebook next week, I figure you have all the DREAMS@MAC pictures to look at for now to hold you over. We will see what happens, computers here are made out of wood and only take punch cards as input... try blogging in binary its hard!

Johnny: If i can find a way to get this 20 ft sign on the plane... this is what i want to bring back for you.

Miss you all

- Mikey, Mehow, Miguel

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mountains Amazing computers Frustrating

The mac group just left last night, we had an amazing week. The town and the work we did was absolutly increadable. However, I am currently in an internet cafe ready to tear my hair out because it is so frustrating. I dont want to go into details about it because it will just make me more angry so i am just going to post all the pics to facebook and let them tell the stories for now....

i will post again next week when i am not so frustrated

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spread The Word Digg My Story

Spread the word Digg this story done on me in the local newspaper so I can get more people involved.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Toronto Blue Jays

So almost forever ago I wrote to the Toronto Blue Jays asking them for baseball equipment to take down to the Dominican. And, they did not get back right away so I was disappointed, and as time passed by I grew to loath them. But, today they called Mike Murphy head of DREAMS fundraising and said they wanted to send us a package! So they are cool in my books again and I no longer have to kidnap BJ Birdie and send him back one feather at a time until donations come. So if your ever wondering if The Blue Jays get back to people on donations, the answer is yeah they do! Just be patient.

Thanks Blue Jays

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank You

With only 28 days until I leave there is still much preparation I must do for my trip. I am at a point right now where I have never been more excited in my life to do something. I feel confident that going on this trip will be the most constructive and important thing I have done with my life so far and I am both happy and proud to be doing it.

I certainly have not made it this far alone and I must take some time to thank the people who have helped me get here. First should be my parents for funding my first trip and encouraging and supporting my decisions that are leading me to go to the third world and live the mountains instead of getting a job after graduation. I would like to thank St Philips On the Hill Anglican Church for 4 trips worth of clothing and toys. Anyone who has sent money to go either towards my personal trip for my many expenses or towards building supplies for the people in the Dominican. Mike Holmes from Holmes on Homes for donating tools, they have all been taken down and have good 'homes' now. Everyone who helped with our many fundraisers donating time and energy you have really made a difference whether you worked tirelessly getting medical supplies, standing out in the cold selling roses, filling out long boring and confusing forms or just showed up for a party, so thank you all. Everyone who has been a part of the DREAMS club at McMaster it takes a special individual to want to spend free time hounding people for money for strangers and going to new places to build homes for people they may never see again, you guys are all superheros.

And finally a very big thank you to all the people who organize thigns at ADESJO and DREAMS who have paved the way for us and allowed us to be able to do things like this. You have made such a positive impact in the world for many people and not just those in the Dominican.

So with 4 weeks left have about 2500 dollars raised for our first trip. If things go well I estimate that number could hit over 3000 with one more big fundraiser. I recently did an interview with the local paper in my area hoping people will contact me about sending groups down to do work or sending money to ADESJO. We will have to see it will not come out until another week or two.

And that is it for now.... blog updated but I don't expect many mroe updates until right before I leave and then again when I find an internet connection in ocoa.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back On The Blog

I am going to start maintaining my blog again. Since my last post I have had two more one week trips in the DR, I kept a journal but not as well as I did on my first time and so instead of a long story about my trip I am going to later sum up my feelings about it.

But for know I will blog about my upcoming adventure. I am leaving for the DR on February 14th for a period of 6 months, at which time I will post weekly or by weekly to let anyone who wants to know what is going on with my trip.

So far I am working so save money about 2000 dollars is already in the bank. The DREAMS@MAC team is in full swing fundraising again. This year we got an HBC account so people can donate their HBC points to us. Anyone wishing to donate may do so at:

In the "search for a community" area people can find us by our community name: "DREAMS @ MAC" or by our community number 8733362.

All money raised will go towards building materials for homes and not to any personal expenses to the team.

That is really all there is to blog for the next while. There are 90 days until I leave and now I must begin the search for clothes, medical supplies, school supplies, tools, toys, and money to bring down with me.