Congratulations to the winners of our Rogers Hero Holiday Contest to the Dominican Republic (and a life-changing experience)
The lucky winner was 16-year-old Karina Ann Redick from Oil Springs, Ontario!
Karina decided to take her sister, and good friend, Sabrina. Together they shared unforgettable memories! Once there, they helped build homes, visited an orphanage, helped people who live in the garbage dump—they changed lives, including their own!
We flew Karina and her sister down to the Dominican Republic for a week! She also became a guest Faze journalist and photographer (with her new Nokia N95 camera phone), blogging about her experiences in the DR with Canadian charity student-oriented charity Hero Holiday (now known as Live Different).
Here are some excerpts from Karina’s journal…
“I was thinking before I came here that I was so lucky to win this trip. And it’s true, I was so incredibly fortunate, but for different reasons than I first thought. I thought I was lucky because I could see my first palm tree and taste the ocean for the first time. I thought I was prepared for what I’d experience here, but I was wrong. I received so much more out of this trip than a tan and tasting the ocean.
This opportunity to work with Hero Holiday was life changing. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world that I came down here and did what I did and saw the things I saw. This experience has given me new perspectives, new passions and has completely changed my heart. I don’t mean I’m a different person. But my perspective of life is different. My priorities in life before I came seem so small compared to the bigger picture.”
“It was such a hard thing to do, seeing these people at the dump collect bags of garbage for a living. Each bag is worth 10 pesos, which is only a few Canadian cents…Today was life changing, I’m not gonna lie. I loved being there. It’s so hard to explain why I enjoyed digging through garbage. It was for the people. To prove to them that I care.”
“Every part of me wanted to give her my rubber boots, hat and my gloves and all. Pretty much anything she needed I would’ve given to her if I could.”
“When the kids smiled at me it meant so much. Just seeing their faces light up was worth everything.”
“This trip has been such a life-changing experience. I encourage any person out there to go on a trip like this. It is so worth your time. I’ve loved every minute of it!”
“I actually enjoy the hard work we do building. We’re probably going to be making concrete with shovels again. Yahoo!”
“After lunch I got to work. We mixed concrete, hauled cement, carried construction bricks and drank at least 6L of water!”
“I learn so much from the people in the Dominican everyday. They are such hard-working, friendly, honest people. I love it here.”
“I know our work will pay off in the end. Seeing that we’ve helped change lives for the better is all worth it.”
Read a bit more about a previous experience we had in the DR with Hero Holiday in our article: A Holiday Of Hope: Changing Lives In The Dominican Republic