Back from Dominican
Isabelle Larocque says her mother helped inspire her to go on a brief mission trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this month.
Isabelle, a Grade 11 student at Le Relais in Alexandria, joined eight of her classmates in the Caribbean nation from March 29.
“My mom (Cecilia) has family in the Philippines,” Isabelle told us. “I wanted to see if there was a similarity between it and the Dominican Republic.”
She says one of the most striking differences is that in the Philippines, people work long hours in the rice fields. In the Dominican Republic, they work in sugar cane fields.
Teacher Hubert Gauthier says the Dominican trip takes place every two years.
“This year, the students worked, played, exchanged and stayed with orphans at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos,” he says.
While there, Isabelle and her fellow students worked in construction, gardening, painting, cleaning, even special needs care. They also visited bateys (informal communities), sugar cane fields and the city of San Pedro de Macoris.
Mr. Gauthier says the trip wasn’t entirely dedicated to serving. The students also made a cultural and historical trek to Santo Domingo to visit colonial buildings and the oldest cathedral in the Americas.
Still, it was the mission component of the trip that stayed with the students. They remembered going to the sugar cane fields and seeing the workers who made about $15 a day, which usually consisted of at least 13 hours of work. They recalled how the supervisors would weigh the wagons once they were loaded with sugar cane and then record false information so they could make more of a profit.
For Maxime Leroux, another Grade 11 Le Relais student, the trip was a real eye-opener.
“Sometimes we complain and we take things for granted,” he says. “But the people in the Dominican Republic have nothing and they are happy for what they have. It teaches us to be thankful.”
Building in Toronto
Four Char-Lan District High School students will soon be en route to Toronto to take part in a provincial construction competition.
John Giroux, Brandon Poirier, Nick Oeggerli and Lloyd Rozon won the right to go to the provincial capital after placing first in the Eastern Ontario Skills Competition at St. Lawrence College on Feb. 28.
At the college, the boys had to build a 4’x8’ shed out of wood and raw materials.
They were evaluated on their speed, construction technique, aesthetics, and cleanup.
“We had six hours to build it,” John told us. “It took us to the last minute because we had to clean up.”
The boys were allowed to take the shed back to their school, where it is situated in the woodshop. They intend to outfit it with shingles, install a door, and then sell it so they can buy more tools.
As for the Toronto competition, which takes place April 30May 2, they have no idea what they will be asked to build but they know it will be a lot tougher than just building a shed.
They’ll be going up against the very best in the province and they’ll have a project that incorporates carpentry, plumbing, windows, doors, shingles, and electrical work.
There’s a scene in the early part of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the hero wakes up and finds himself soaring over the Himalayas in an unmanned airplane.
As he lunges into the cockpit to grab the controls, his reluctant travelling companion asks if he knows how to fly a plane.
“Fly, yes,” Indy replies. “Land? No.”
It’s a scene that would likely draw a chuckle from Martintown resident John Marino, who finds himself in a similar situation – albeit far less dangerous.
Mr. Marino is the proud new owner of a model PT- 17 Stearman, which was a trainer aircraft in the Second World War.
He says he bought it for $55 in Kingston at an auction at the Kingston Modelair’s Club. “I bought it for a song,” he says.
Of course, he still has to install a motor in the model plane, something that will cost about $500, but admits that he’s quite nervous to take the Stearman out for its maiden flight.
“I don’t think I’m good enough yet,” he admits. “I’ve crashed a lot of planes. Taking off is no problem but landing is everything.”
The 62-year-old has been flying model planes for three years. He says you need 30 hours behind the controls before you can get truly comfortable with landing.
Dalkeith Plus Library Next week the Dalkeith Plus library will be a busy place. Jerry Boroff will do a talk about plumbing April 2 at 1 p.m
The Thursday art group will host an exhibition Friday April 7 at 6:30. See Margaret MacMillan for details.
And Emily Crooks will have Easter crafts on Saturday April 8 starting at around 10:30.
WORKING VISITORS: Le Relais students with some Dominican Republic residents during a recent mission trip to the Caribbean nation. Isabelle Larocque and Maxime Leroux, who were both interviewed for this article, are on the far right and Jessika Carriere is on the left.
FLIGHT TIME: Martintown’s John Marino with his model PT17 Stearman.