Monday, December 31, 2012

iam1ru - El Salvador - Day Four

Today the team started at the future Ministry Center that will impact the homeless and prostitutes.  They scraped...tore out bathrooms....poured a concrete floor...and the list goes on.  When they were done there....about 2:30pm....they headed back to the base to get ready for a little New Years Eve fun at the boys orphanage.  We played soccer with them (scored 5 goals...not sure how many they was "well" into double digits) and then cooked a supper for them and then had the "mother" of all fireworks show.  It was a riot!  All in all it was 12 hour day. Tomorrow we head back to the beach with the guys from the homeless ministry here.  They never get to the beach.  Gonna be another impactful day!

iam1ru El Salvador - Day 3

Today we hit the beach for a day of interaction with nature.  I put a short video together that I hope highlights a few things.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

iam1ru - El Salvador Day 2

It was quite a day.  The team finished the house build....with a nice fence as well as some landscaping.  Ken & Michelle (our Dream Agents here) took the family along with myself and Erika and Lorena to Walmart to buy them some new clothes as well as some food to really get them jump started in their new place.  At the end of the day I chatted with the mom and thanked her for the opportunity to help them and to serve them.  I let her know it was the generosity of Canadians and Americans that allowed us to help them.  She looked at me and said this "Thank you so much for this lovely house, now when it rains we will not get wet."  Yeah...I think I will leave it right there.

Friday, December 28, 2012

iam1ru El Salvador Team - Day 1

Today was house building day.  We are building a house for single mom and her three kids.  Up to this point they have been living under someones overhanging roof.  Hello?  It is crazy.  They were around all day watching the progress.  The cool thing is tomorrow we are taking them shopping for clothes and food....really getting them set up in their new house.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just in time

From Michelle Desaulniers - Dream Agent in El Salvador:
Every Thursday evening I go out with friends to feed the homeless on the streets of San Salvador. I love this program! I love to see the smiles on all the faces when we offer them food. But this last time I went out I saw something I had never seen before. I have seen naked men, crazed men, drugged out men, women that are really men (sometimes topless) but never before had I seen a person searching through the trash outside of Pizza Hut. Just as our truck pulled up on this street - there he was - picking through the trash and he had just found a medium sized pizza covered in garbage and he had his hand on it to pick it up and eat it when we asked him if he wanted food. We arrived just in time bringing hope and a smile. This is what life is all about!

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

A little update from Michelle Desaulniers, our Dream Agent in El Salvador:
October was a busy month for me. Like the title says I was involved in a little bit of this and a little bit of that!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"On the Rock"

Vee and I have spent the last few days in Newfoundland with Sherry Peters (our Dream Agent in Ghana) and her husband Mike.  We have had a great time connecting with Sherry's supporters and friends and helping her connect with new folks as well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Days of "Firsts"

Saturday and Sunday were two days of "firsts" for our workers.  It was important to me that we treated them to some things that they had never done and would likely never get an opportunity to do in the future.  So here is a "pic heavy report" of the last couple days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The ladies have arrived...

One of the reasons I am in Kyrgyzstan is to host a retreat/holiday for our workers in Central Asia. This year we have been able to gather 12 of them. We picked them up at the airport tonight and had dinner at a nice Chinese place and then took them bowling.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ho Ho Hold's Christmas in August in Bishkek

Another exciting day in Kyrgyzstan!  I headed off to record an inspirational message at a local radio station.  I did 15 minutes in English which will be translated into about five different languages and shot out over the radio waves and internet to many around this part of the world.  I was gentle on the translators and used very few "Sammyisms".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

From "Down in the Dumps" to a "Darling's Destiny"

Well this morning we headed to the dump to do our "dump run".  John had ordered the contents of the care bags yesterday.

I do not know why I am surprised but the smell was nasty...and the smoke from some of it burning was nauseating to say the least. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day in Kyrgyzstan - A Day in the Fog

Okay...after 18 hours of flying...and 38 hours of no sleep....we arrived at 3:20am today.  Now, I must say that only once have I ever cleared immigration and customs as quick as we did here.  You no longer need a visa here if you are from Canada and staying 60 or less days.  So I was first in line...and bam!  Through!  Then our luggage was first to come out on belt...bam!  Hey, wait a minute are we not supposed to fill out a customs form....this is wayyyy too easy.  I have the form and am about to fill it out and I see others just walking through.  So I take my form, not a thing filled in, and follow the crowd...bam!  Through. LOL.
We got into our apartment, relaxed for like one hour and then to John & Julie Wrights for breakfast.  Here is a brief tour of our day with some pics...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Team iam1ru Ghana - some "memory points" from our trip

Our 10 days in Ghana FLEW by...and yet each day was packed full of unique experiences that have created memories for us to look back on and stories to tell.

This is a summary of our trip (and several of our "inside jokes/memory points") to help us remember...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Almost "Ghana"...tomorrow is our last day

It's hard to believe that we leave tomorrow night.  The time here has flown by. We've been busy this week doing and seeing all kinds of things - giving us a rounded experience of Ghana.  We have made some new friends, and will miss them and all the wonderful children we've had the chance to hug and hold. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Some thoughts from the team...

I asked the team members to each share something about their experience here in Ghana so far....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 4 & 5 - A bit of the culture...and then the STREET PARTY!

On Tuesday, we visited the Osu area as they were preparing for a big festival.  We watched as they prepared several traditional dishes and got to try using a mortar and pestle to crush cornmeal.  In the afternoon, we went to a local market and bought a few souvenirs.

Wednesday was a BUSY day as we prepared for the big street party!!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 3 - Painting at the children's home

We feel like we've been here for a week already cause we have traveled so much and been so busy.  Today we met the children and workers at the Assurance of Hope Children's Home in Teshie.  In the past several months, we have posted and fulfilled a few dreams for these kids - a pizza party at Christmas, new bunk beds (to replace sleeping on the floor) and we fixed the screens and louvres on the windows.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 2 - A visit to the Leprosarium

After our big shopping day yesterday (we picked up all the children when it was still dark...and didn't get them home until dark - long day!!), we went to visit them and their families at the leprosarium today. Because of a great currency exchange rate AND some great bartering at the market....we had some money leftover from the "dream day" sponsorships and were able to purchase some food staples for the leprosarium.

Our first Dream Project with 66 children

We had posted a dream project on the website to take 110 children out for a "Dream Day" that consisted of shopping in the market (for the first time ever) and choosing their own clothing and shoes (instead of just 'hand-me-downs')...and then a pizza lunch at a nearby restaurant. Amazingly, our team of 7 along with a group of 14 fantastic volunteers from here in Ghana, managed to maneuver a busy market and buy 2 outfits, shoes and underclothing for the first 66 children!!! (the others will get their turn this Friday)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Waiting in Boston...

We are taking advantage of the free wifi to give updates. We are demonstrating our team spirit by sporting our iam1ru temporary tattoos. We brought several hundred to give out to the children (along with toys, stickers, pencils etc)

We are at the airport...

We've cleared customs and security (whew). Now just waiting I board the flight for the first leg of our big journey. Toronto to Boston. (then Boston to NYC and NYC to Accra, Ghana) We are excited! We will try to update as much as possible!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birthday parties for orphans...does it get any better than that?

Recently, we sent money to our PI ladies in Central Asia earmarked for Birthday parties in our various orphanage projects - baby orphanages, orphanages for teens, orphanages for special needs children etc.  All the orphans with May birthdays were able to celebrate with their friends.  They were SO excited!  (to view more pics, click "more" below)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dia 8 - preparations for "Adios"

As they say, "all good things must come to an end". And this week...this trip...certainly has been a "good thing".  What a great time we shared together - working and serving. Today, we took a rest/tourist day (we try to do a bit of this on every trip we take). It's an opportunity to build relationships, enjoy the culture and catch our breath from all the hard work (and the heat!!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dia 7 - A Fiesta Kind Of Day

Today was...well, it was one of those days that is difficult to describe in words.  Yes, we participated in a couple of celebrations and had a lot of fun...but in the midst of them, we were also brought face to face with the challenges and suffering that so many people have to live with on a daily basis.

Dia 6 - Martes, Mayo 8

It was another full day of work (and fun) here at Casa Posibilidades. Once again, we worked at various jobs throughout the day...more painting, concrete work, deep cleaning the kitchen, digging post holes, weeding the gardens etc.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dia 4 & 5 in Linares, Mexico

We had some trouble with the internet had a slight delay in our blog updates.  But, we go!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dia 3 - and it's hotter than hot!

Today was a great day.  We hosted Bethany orphanage - approx. 30 kids and 6-8 leaders - and other "friends of Casa Posibilidades" to an all-day fiesta that ended with a pig roast!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dia 2 - Team iam1ru Mexico

Another productive day at "the Quinta" (the nickname for Casa Posibilidades).  The daily tasks were divided up and the team got to work right after breakfast...laying block in the wall around the property, cleaning the palapa (gazebo), mudding the walls in the laundry room, sorting donations, hanging rods and bars for towels etc...etc...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hola! Day 1 in Mexico

It's quiet here in the kitchen as I write this blog.  People are either sleeping or relaxing in their rooms.  The team worked hard today...and it was HOT! (likely mid-30's or more).  We did a lot of work on the wall that surrounds the property here at the orphanage - parging, whitewashing, cutting metal posts, cleaning the yard etc.  We got DIRTY...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bienvenidos! Team iam1ru Mexico

We arrived safely in Mexico! We will do our best to give brief daily updates to give you an idea of what we're up to. Today, on the way home from the airport, we stopped to visit an orphanage not far outside of Monterrey - Casa Hogar Douglas.  We had a brief tour and checked in with the 3 kids that will move into Casa Posibilidades once it opens it's doors. 

Change is inevitable...

The iam1ru Mexico Team is presently in the air about 30 minutes from Monterrey.  As you can see from the pic Wendy Pauls and Steve Blockeel are catching up on some sleep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A request for help...

Back in January of this year, we received a heartfelt letter from a young mom detailing the struggles/challenges of raising a son with Cerebral Palsy.  Ryan (now 3) has attended some sessions at Ability Camp with encouraging results...but the costs are often prohibitive without outside support of some kind.  While this particular need doesn't fall under PI's dream criteria or objectives, we were moved by the story of this family in our own "backyard" and wanted to share it with you...our nation of everyday philanthropists. 

Update from Special Agent Pauls - 04.09.12

Wow. I'm sorry folks, I have definitely been lacking in the bloggin' department.

Let me make it up to you :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day Eight in El Salvador...

Hola!  It's 8:30 pm here and we just finished supper about 20 mins ago.  Yet another full day : )  This morning, we went to a village area (poor area) not too far out of the city.  The YWAM staff run a weekly children's program there on, we tagged along to offer our assistance. (We also brought along a few of our donated items -- a bar of soap and toothbrush for each child).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day Seven in El Salvador...

Hola! Today we spent most of the day at the YWAM base.  With all the painting that we'd be doing all week (at the school and at the ballpark), we couldn't help but notice that the outdoor wall at the base was in desperate need of painting. We also noticed several other needs for various supplies we decided to bless these people who bless SO many others with the work they do on a regular basis...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day Six in El Salvador...

We enjoyed yet another beautiful sunny day in San Salvador.  And, we tried to "spread the sunshine" by doing a little makeover on the little league ballpark in town -- a small act of kindness for the community.  (this is the same park where we played a game with the kids when we first arrived).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day Five in El Salvador...

The day started with a one hour stop at a nearby artisan market (what's a trip without a few souvenirs?). It was a bittersweet morning however, because it also marked our good-bye to Kelly Deschamps (Kelly came down early with Sam as a leader/helper with PI).  Kelly was a valued part of our team and we are thankful that he took the time to serve with us. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Four in El Salvador...

Yet another full and rewarding day. We returned to the school and house build site and split into two groups. The boys stayed and finished up the house build and got the BBQ's fired up for a BIG school BBQ (we fed 200 kids plus some mom's and siblings) The girls picked up the mom and kids (of the family we're building for) and took them to a nearby mall to buy them some clothes and shoes -- we let them choose for themselves!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day Three in El Salvador...

What a FULL day!  Breakfast at 6:45 and out the door an hour later.  After a fairly long drive to a village near Sonsonate, we had a very warm reception from a group of school children.  The picture shows the "Welcome friends from Canada" poster and some dancers who performed for us.  They were SO excited to have visitors from far away.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day Two in El Salvador...

 After a good night sleep, everyone seemed a bit more "chipper" today.  We went to a local church in the city (they meet at a Holiday Inn) and although the service was in Spanish, they had high-tech ear devices so we could follow along via a translator....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Team BCS El Salvador arrived safe and sound...

 The good news is that we arrived safely in San Salvador at the YWAM base....the not so good news is that 29 of our 40 checked bags DID NOT make it!!...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Phil having a "chill" on the new Event Grill

Sometimes you need to go "big" or "go home".  It is not about is about impact.  These guys here at YWAM in El Salvador do tons of events at orphanages and such and Kelly and I thought it might be good to buy them an "event" grill!  I want to thank all the everyday philanthropists in Espanola and across North America who believe in what we do here at PI.  This baby is paid for, assembled, and ready to grill!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Phil" ing you in!

Oh my!  Phil is already poolside and it is just the first day!  He tells me that he is going to take it easy until the students get here. However, Kelly and I do not have that luxury as yesterday, we began checking out the projects and opportunities for impact while the students are here....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Off to El Salvador with BCS!

Kelly Deschamps (my travelling partner...and also a person that can sleep on a plane...I hate these kind of and I (Sam Welten) are in the air as I write this headed to El Salvador to take care of last minute details for the group from Brampton Christian School of 17 students and two teachers (also Wendy Pauls) that will be joining us on Saturday.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Guatemala - The End

And so this brings us to the conclusion of our trip.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guatemala - Day Five

Okay, so I know I skipped day four.  Today, however, makes up for it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There are no words.

A Few Good Men

Wayne Lipski, Darryl Price, George Passmore and Jonnie Brubacher sorting 1000lbs of clothes this morning for food/clothing distribution tomorrow in Alotenango. We are making good headway apart from Darryl modeling certain articles of clothing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Guatemala - Day Two

Okay, technically it isn't actually "day two", it is however only our second work day.

I know there are those of you waiting to read about what has been happening with the medical team.  That will be coming tomorrow!  Today is another build team update. 

A Photo Story - Christmas comes to the Leprosy Village in Ghana

This update is long overdue, but well worth the wait...When Dream Agent Sherry Peters came home this past Fall, she had recently visited a cured leprosy village in a placed called Ho.  She was deeply moved by these people -- 60 adults and 90 children -- outcasts of society tucked away in a remote village.