Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our PI Dream Agents are getting new skills.

In Central Asia our PI ladies take some type of lessons during
the year. We have had really great results. For example one
of our ladies who works with the blind people graduated from
hairdressing school and now helps blind people.
Two ladies from the Baby Orphanage graduated from massage
therapy classes and now they help the babies in their orphanage.
The PI ladies do this on their own time and do not get paid to do
so. They have a huge desire to improve their quality of work.
We just received our 2010 report-one of the ladies graduated from
sewing classes. Take a look at her first work! There was an old bench
in the medical room and she made a cover for it. She says that this
was a very simple work. She is excited about the future and how she
will make clothing for the children in the orphanage.

Another lady had to learn how to cook -- something very simple, not
expensive but very-very delicious. Then she did some cooking with the
children at her project. Look how much fun they are having. They made
traditional food, something like a fried perogy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

First El Salvador Dream!

We have just posted the first dream in El Salvador.  You can watch an intro video here.

You can read more about this dream from Dream Agent Ken Desaulniers on the website.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

sick one day to baseball tryout the next!

On Tuesday I was out....worst cold/flu symptoms I have had in years.  Was not sick to my stomach but fever...aches...chills....absolutely no energy.  I stayed in bed all day....woke up yesterday to an opportunity for a "tryout" for a mens baseball team here in San Salvador.  They must be desperate.  It was fun.  You can watch the tryout video....juts click here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some fav pics from Mexico

On our first night in Mexico, while in the city of Monterrey we visited some friends of the Burseys.  It was at this meeting that I was passed a drink that was red, and as I drank some, was told it had tequila in it.  The name of the drink...."Vampiro"....hello?

This next pic was taken at the airport when Special Agent Josiah arrived.  What a crew.  Look at that crazy Ken!  Smile for Uncle Kenny!

This next pic was taken just before the Special Agents Marlow & Johnstone left and went through security.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I choose Jackson & Gracia!

It has always amazed me how we can make our lives so difficult and complicated.  Every once and a while it is good to find out where you stand when it is all stripped away.  What do I stand for?  What is my life about?  If given a choice....what would I choose.  During my time in Mexico I have once again come "face to face" with my clarity.
Jackson Bursey is 9 years old(he is the youngest son of our Dream Agents Rick & Lisa Bursey in Mexico).  When he eats chicken wings, he gets more sauce on his face than most adults would like.  Jackson does not care...he enjoys his wings and can always clean up later.  For most of you Jackson is just a kid....but to me...he is a wise philosopher beyond his years.  Earlier this year Jackson wrote the following on the family whiteboard...
You can have all your high priced jobs....hectic schedules and the running of yourselves ragged.  I like the simplicity of Jackson's life view.  I choose Jackson.....wing sauce and all.

Many of you might remember Gracia.  She was our first dream realized in Mexico.  She had a badly crossed eye.
I got to meet Gracia in person tonight.  It has been months since she had her operation that some of you "everyday philanthropists" sponsored.  Oh my goodness!

This is a pic of Gracia with her mother and brother.

As I held this young girl I was overwhelmed with joy as I recognized again the "power of hope".
If my life was about having a huge bank account, I would be doing something else....if it was about prestige, I would not be doing what I am doing.  If I was making the choice afresh tonight....money & fame vs Gracia?  I choose Gracia.  No doubting.  No looking back.
I thank God that I have a wife that supports me in this whole crazy pursuit of "building a nation of everyday philanthropists".  We will never have a huge house and a sports car....she does not care....I love you baby!  You see....as one person, we choose "wing sauced" Jackson, and Gracia.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday, January 8th in Linares, Mexico

What a day!  We were able to go to Jesus's house and see him.  Not sure if you remember him but he is the guy that was hit by a car while riding his bike....two broken legs...needed an operation to ever have hope of walking again.  Well....we posted the dream on our iam1ru "dream machine" and it got sponsored.  We had a great visit today and he is well on his way to recovery.
One of the coolest things was that we had extra money come in (about $200) and we were able to give it to him today.  It was an incredible blessing as it was going to help him pay some extra hospital bills.  Come on now!

Marta, if you remember, was the lady we got a bike for as she was walking about 15km's a day for work.  It was about 3-4 hours of walking.  We dropped by her "house" today for a visit.  Jorden....I can see what you mean.  This house will not do.  We will be exploring options over the next couple months.

Just to give you an idea....this is part of Marta's roof on the inside of her house.  As you can see....when it rains....it leaks....dirt floor...sides are like the roof....enough said!  We will keep you updated.

Then it was off to what will be the "mother" of all orphanages in Mexico.  It is an incredible piece of property.  Rick & Lisa have found  the "diamond in the rough".  It will be an incredible blessing to children and also to the people of this region.  I am not going to show too many pic as we will be showing more later.
Above is the courtyard.  Truly, this is an incredible building and property.  Imagine a place where abandoned children are treated like precious gifts and taught that they can make a difference.  Imagine the iam1ru Mexico headquarters where teams stay on same property as children and together to they make difference in Mexico.  Hello?  Are you tracking with me?
The property had its own well.  Ken was totally "pumped" about this lovely well.  He is excited.

Sam does not look impressed.  Nothing could be further from the truth...this is his pose when his mind is "whirling" with possibilities.  This property caused a lot of whirling.
The owner of this property built it with complete excellence.  This excellence will be used to impact a generation of young people.  Stay tuned.  This is going to be incredible.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lasting Impact in Linares!

Here are some pics of the house we finished the reno on today!  I will show the "before" and "after" shot and then some other pics.  Enjoy!
Nothing like a great transformation!  Thanks to all who donate to help us do what we do at Possibilities International.  It truly is the best gig on the planet!  Great work Special Agents Marlow & Johnstone.

Rick Bursey is looking very impressed after the sawdust was flying!

Merari was close to the action all day!  Always smiling.

Even in Mexico that Leafs are taking a pounding from Ottawa!  It is not right.

Dream Agent Rick Bursey with the happy family.  Now that is what I am talking about!

Who knows what is going to take place tomorrow?

Special Agents Marlow & Johnstone's last report.

Hello Nation of 'Everyday Philanthropists' - The last few days of our work in Linares, Mexico where busy and full days, however we did not have hydro for a few days and could not send any reports so I will give you a little wrap up Special Agents Marlow and Johnstone's time fulfilling dreams.

Day 7
Monday morning the clan woke up early, Rick and the guys went out to pick up the wood for Francisco's house and we got started. The team tore down the front of the house and rebuilt the front wall. It was a bit of a puzzle as in Mexico there is no such thing as standard cuts of wood. Nonetheless, we got the wall up, looking great. Taylor and Desiree had a blast with the power saw, and Juan showed off his 'special skills.' There were some war wounds including Emanuel's shin from a piece of wood flying at him after Rick smacked it with a Hammer. At lunch the girls went home to make sandwiches to find there was no hydro in the house. We survived though and ended the day watching a movie at Juan and Desiree's. Before we left the River where we were building, Fransisco's wife walked around the corner on her way home from work glowing - she was so happy with the look of her new house.

Day 8
We awoke bright and early again, this time with aching bones from the day before and went back to Francisco's house to continue building. This day we competed the right side wall and half of the back. When we arrived at the house Tuesday morning, Francisco's little son Brain ran up to Jackson and said 'Come see my new house, its soo cool!' It brought tears to my eyes. This simple house renovation was changing this entire families house. Because of the arrival of Sam on Wednesdat and our departure on Thursday this building project is being completed Friday. After a day of building we went out shopping to buy some blankets, pillows, sheets, and a stove top for our amazing friend Martha because Taylor and I could not accept the way this woman has to live. Still now power, so we went to Desiree's house to shower and then home to bed.

Day 9
Wednesday we woke up in excitement for the arrival of our fearless leader Sammy boy in Monterrey early afternoon, with Ken from El Salvador accompanying him as well. But before we left we had to go pay Martha a little visit to give her the goods we had bought the night before. Martha was blessed and so grateful for these simple household supplies that would make a huge difference in her life. Martha is a true inspiration to us, and I am sure that if you met her you would fall in love with her as well. After our quick visit to Martha, we were on the road to Monterrey. We picked up Sam and Ken and spent the night at Juan's parents house where we ate traditional Mexican dishes which were to die for. Lots of good conversation and some world changing discussions where had. I felt as though I was in the presence of some of the greatest minds in the country - I cannot wait until I can do things like this full time.

Day 10
On our last day in Mexico we woke up bright and early as we had one last thing to do before we flew out at 1:15pm. We packed up all our things and went back to Roman's house, our friend we visited our first day in Mexico who needed new windows with bars for his house - especially for his daughter who is sick with Typhoid fever. The job was almost complete when we arrived and let me tell you it looks great! Roman was so grateful for our help and We even payed for Roman's gas tank to be filled all the way, which will last him about 4 weeks apposed to what he usually can afford which would last him only one week. This man was almost blown off his feet. It was a great morning. From there Special agents Marlow and Johnstone were dropped off at the airport and Special agent Oliver was picked up a couple hours later.

Special Agent Marlow and I would like to thank all of you for the opportunity to make a difference in Mexico - It was life changing and something we both plan to do again and again. Until we meet again.

Special Agent Jorden Johnstone - Out!

Update from Sam

First of all let me apologize for no pictures yet!  My lost bag which is now supposed to be in San Salvador has my wire to hook up my camera to laptop.  I have my camera...but no wire.  It is not a common wire either so I may have to wait.
Anyways...I am in Linares, Mexico with Ken Desaulniers(Dream Agent in El Salvador).  Yesterday we saw Special Agents Marlow & Johnstone off to the airport and picked up S.A. Olver and headed to Linares (where Dream Agents Rick & Lisa Bursey live).  Had a nice visit and we are up and at it today and getting ready to do a bit of a makeover on a house...actually this house in the pic above.  S.A.'s Marlow & Johnstone started the reno project and we will finish it today and I will try to post a pic of the finished product.  The "owners" of this one room home are a young couple and they have a cute two year old son.  I want to thank "everyday philanthropists" that support Possibilities International (iam1ru) on a regular basis....those who jump on the "dream machine" and sponsor dreams.  It is because of your generosity that we are able to help families like this.  It is amazing what a little bit of hope does when injected into a family!  Hope to post the finished product tonight.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sam is in El Salvador

I made it to El Salvador!  My luggage did not!  What an adventure.  The great thing is that I leave for Mexico right away with Ken Desaulnier and had to give them two addresses to forward my luggage to.  Knowing that it was a slim chance that I would see my luggage before I get back to El Salvador Ken took me to San Salvador's version of a second hand store.  It was awesome.  5 pair of shorts.....shirts and we stopped by a store and got new briefs and socks....I am set.  We are off.  Will update once in Mexico!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Taylor & Jorden - Day #5 & 6

First, we must share the events of last night, then we will fill you in on Day 6 here in Linares.

Day 5 cont'd

Yesterday, being New Years Day, the day began with a slow start. However we spent the day making lists of goods that would fill baskets to give to some friends who the Bursey's have been helping, fulfilling their dreams. We went to the grocery store and bought things like flour, sugar, tortillas, cookies, coffee, eggs, oil, rice, beans, and other staple items for Mexican families. Then we went and bought some nice little garbage pales to put the goods into to give to our friends. You might be thinking thats a little strange, but this way we provide them with a nice new garbage pale as well as food, a basket could be used as well, but a garbage pale is just that much more practical and trust me, these people need it!

The first friend we went to see is Martha. This woman is AWESOME! Taylor and I had the pleasure of meeting her in the market a few days ago and from the smile and joy that this woman brings, you would never guess how little she has. Nothing really could prepare me for what Martha calls home - there are people worse off in this world - but the fact that this woman is so joyful but yet has nothing really challenges me. Martha was so glad that we brought her food and could not wait to show us her new door! Imagine, not having a door on your house? This woman has a special place in my heart. She has been a friend to the Bursey's since they moved to Linares, meeting them when she worked sweeping the parking lot at one of the grocery stores in the city, and after the hurricane, they helped her but building her some beds and giving her a dresser, and that is about all she has. I could go on forever about this woman and her story, but for the sake of space, I will end by saying I hope that you will be hearing more about this woman soon because she still needs a lot of our help. 

The second friend that we brought a food basket to was a little girl who the Bursey's have been helping with your help who's name is Liliana. This sweet young girl fell when she was 2 years old severely breaking her nose causing her a variety of problems for her, she has trouble breathing, she has inner ear issues causing balance issues and causes her to vomit when she travels in cars making it very difficult to travel to Monterrey which is two hours away so getting medical opinions on her condition very difficult. We are currently awaiting recent test results to see if this young girls life can be improved. Her father was very grateful for the goods, Liliana, being very shy and anxious around strangers hid behind Dezeray.

We came home to a gate-full of friends and Rick made Tacos for everyone. The night ended with a game of Spanish Pictionary played in both English and Spanish - it was exciting to say the least.

Day 6

Sundays are a little different here in Mexico - church isn't until 5:30 pm so we started the day off with a trip to the mountains. We embarked on the hour and a half trip to Galiana which is a little community way up in the mountains, just outside of this town is a sink-hole that is believed to be a result of the ground collapsing on an underground river. Its really deep, and quite scary to stand at the edge of. Phil came along for the ride because he has been laying low on this trip. We even found him testing fate, dangling from a tree near the sink-hole. After some 'thrilling' fun - throwing rocks in a really big hole! We went back into Galiana to find some food. This proved to be a difficult task on a Sunday in the mountains, but we eventually found a nice little restaurant and ate like Kings!

We made it into Linares just in time for church, in which the congregation seemed to be exceedingly hyper, and then arrived home for some snacks, some english church (podcast) for those who can't understand Spanish and Early bed because we have an early morning tomorrow with building day 1 of 2 on Francisco's house. Should be a great day!

Special Agents Johnstone and Marlow - Out! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day in Linares, Mexico

Linares, Mexico 2011, New Years Day - 1/1/11

Here are some pictures that I couldn't send earlier - one is of Taylor and I down by the river w Merari, Francisco's niece who is in love w Taylor. The house is Francisco's house that we will be repairing on Monday. 

Not to much going on today - don't know if we'll have a report or not, but will try to keep you posted.

Highlights from New Years:
- Lisa out did herself by making delicious dips with veggies and fruit to eat while playing some pictionary with the family
- The boys bought lots of fire crackers and Rich thoroughly enjoyed blowing things up! Haha. Never give a Newfie explosives!
- Alex, Jorden, and Rico, played a game of basketball while the rest laughed over youtube videos
- We rang in the New Year all together, enjoying new and lasting friendship.
- The about 12:30, we were off!
- Our friend Manny from Haiti finally arrived at the Bursey's to celebrate New Years Eve with us, he had been traveling for the holidays
- Went to a friend's house in Linares, who also attends the Bursey's church, and his father made us Hamburguesas

It was a great night! One I know, I will never forget!

Taylor & Jorden - Day #4

Friday December 31st 2010 - Linares, Mexico - New Years Eve :)

This morning we went back over to the river to measure Francisco's house so that we can purchase wood to make repairs to his house. We checked in town and then traveled outside of the city where we found wood for half the price. We ordered enough wood to practically build Francisco a new house - but the thing is that the wood has to be re-usable in the sense that Francisco is living on his sister's land and this home is only temporary until he can find his own land. So we have to ensure that this house will be able to be torn down and re-built at a later date. We purchased the appropriate amount of wood, and will be picking the wood up on Monday morning bright and early so that we can begin building Monday as well. This dream is on its way and should be interesting to watch unfold.

Later, we went into the city to enjoy some lunch and pick up some goodies to bring to our host's house for new years tonight. We will be experiencing New Years in a Mexican home and will be eating hamburgers which here have ham on them (typical to Mexican culture) as well as some other traditional foods, it should be interesting and culturally rich. It is always fun experiencing new cultures, especially during the holidays.

It should be an interesting way to ring in the New year, and what could be a better way of ending one year and starting another than by changing peoples lives? I wouldn't have it any other way.

That's all for today - I'm sure we'll have some interesting stories to share tomorrow.

Special Agents Johnstone and Marlow - Out!

Taylor & Jorden - Day #3

(sorry about no pics...internet issues)

This morning was started with a feast of eggs and lots of coffee to prepare for the day ahead.

We left the house 11am and headed to the orphanage that the Bursey’s support – Casa Hogar. We brought to them a hockey bag full of feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes as well as boxes of band-aids. The lady at the orphanage(not sure of the name), told us that she was very grateful for these things that Canadians have sent because these are things that are a genuine need, things like stuffed animals that are sometimes sent are more of a unneeded luxury which they do not have room for. This was an important insight because it helps us to better understand how to effectively help people in these countries.  
We also found out from this orphanage that the government has begun to be very strict on regulations for orphanages in Mexico so many repairs and additions are required to be made in order to stay in operation. The issue is that these orphanages do not have the funds to complete these renovations on their own and can only work on them when funds from outsiders are present. When we visited today, they were working on a separate dormitory for the girls, as they cannot by new regulations be in the same quarters as the boys.

We came home and had a feast of ‘Tostadas’ for lunch, Jorden’s favourite
J and then when out with Rick and Juan to see about getting a battery for the boys with muscular dystrophy but its seems like we are going to have to get a battery from Monterrey which is about an hour and a half away so this dream won’t be fulfilled until the New Year.

Later in the afternoon we travelled to the river, where many people lost their houses because of flooding after the Hurricane last July. People who lived on the river lost almost everything, and moved their houses to higher ground. We went to look into helping a friend Francisco by building better walls in their house, which is ridden with holes that the weather and a variety of animals can get through. We will be travelling tomorrow to look into buying wood to fulfill this dream in the next few days hopefully.

It was a busy, fun-filled day, and tomorrow should be busy as well. The weather is just beautiful but by the time we get home, we are ready for bed!

Special Agents Johnstone and Marlow – Out!