Travel by Dart Partners with Robertson College, One of the Oldest Colleges in Canada

 

 

We just came back from our fantastic trip to Easter Island, where we filmed the first episode of the Travel by Dart TV show, airing on OMNI Television in the spring.

Until the episode is ready, we will be posting a lot of images and videos (soon). We also wanted to take a moment to officially thank one of our most important partners to make this trip happen, Robertson College.

Not only the college supported the Travel by Dart crew to get to Polynesia, but also donated some custom-made backpacks, which we took to Easter Island and gave them away to the young students at Earthship Music School (Toki School)!

Above is just one of the few images we took there, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we will have more news and when the episode will be ready.

 

Interview: “Over 70% of our students are born outside Canada!”

 

Robertson College is one of the oldest educational institutions in Canada, but also has something very special about it. Instead of us doing the talking about it, we invited Ramona Buda, Campus Director at Robertson College in Edmonton, to join us in the studio, for a radio interview on Sorin in the City show, aired on World FM 101.7.

 

Sorin: Ramona, what is so unique about Roberson College?

 

Ramona: We do have a high population of students that is of immigrant descent or brand new Canadiens. I would say over 70% of our students are born outside Canada. I think one of the reasons for that is because admittance into our college does not necessarily require that you have prerequisites such as the English 30 or Math 30 or Bio 30. It depends on the programs, of course, but if the immigrants have a certain level of English knowledge, they can be accepted into the college without having to obtain prerequisites previously.

 

So you are a fully recognized college.

 

Absolutely. Therefore our students are eligible for student aid. As a recognized college we have to maintain very high graduation and employment standards. Just as an example of last year over 80% of our graduating students found jobs in their field of studies.

 

Can you talk a bit about your demographic? What kind of students you have regarding age or ethnicity?

 

Very good question. Most of our students are adults between the age of 18 and 40, but we have older students than that. I think the older student I had was a 70-year-old male!

 

What did he take?

 

He took health care aid! He did that to take care of his wife. He wanted to improve his skills. Most of our students do have spouses and children. As mentioned, over 70% of our students are immigrants, the majority coming from Philippines, India, and some African countries.

 

What kind of programs do you have? What’s their length?

 

We have programs that are as short as five months in length – for our Health Care Aid, or Pharmacy Assistant Program, and are as long as 11 months for the Network Security Technician, Legal Assistant, Business Management. So, between five months and less than a year.

 

The economy was terrible in the last few years. How did that affect the enrolment into Robertson College?

 

We seen an increase in the number of new registrations. As I’m sure, everyone is aware the economy has hit Alberta pretty hard. The unemployment rate is very high for our province. Many of the people that were laid off are now looking to get a career in a more stable, more secure environment. We have seen an increase in the number of students that are wishing to take health care programs: Health Care Aid, Medical Office Assistant, Pharmacy Assistant, Hospital Unit Clerk.

 

How many programs do you have?

 

We have different faculties. As I’ve already mentioned: the Health Care Faculty, we have Business Administration-Management, Community Support Worker, Network Security Technician, Logistics and Supply Chain Management – which is being offered online – so most of the programs that we offer are definitely available on campus on 8-12 kind of schedule or evening classes, but we also have the online option.

 

I know you have campuses in other cities. Which ones?

 

We have campuses in Edmonton, Calgary, Brandon, Winnipeg, as well as the online campus.

 

Tell me a student success story.

 

How much time do we have? I have so many. Every day we do hear success stories from our students, that we were able to change their life through education. Very recently I had one of my students – a mother of seven children. She graduated after giving it a try for a couple of months, struggling. When you have seven children they have to take priority and graduating is a little hard putting in that time. When she picked up her diploma, her eyes were in tears. She was telling us that she is the first in her family to graduate from college. And because of this college degree, she won’t allow other people to talk down to her. She is going to inspire her kids to go to college to get an education, but even more so, she was hoping that her family, her brothers were going to break the chain of substance abuse and violence. She was very proud and we, as a college, were very proud to give her an education.

 

Where can people find your contact?

 

The easiest way is to access our website at www.robertsoncollege.com or www.robertsoncollege.ca, or to call us at: (780) 705-6633.

 

Thank you so much, Ramona!

 

You can listen to the audio file of the interview below:

Thailand? Yes, Please!

 
Thailand Travel by dart
 



We thought we’d update you, our lovely fans, on the latest of our adventures. As some of you probably know, we are planning a full season of Travel by Dart in 2016: 12 dart throws, 12 countries, 12 weeks, all resulting in 12 episodes! We cannot be more excited to get excited an empowered people all around the world to live their lives by taking a leap of faith. Meanwhile, we can’t wait to change lives with the support of our amazing partners.
 
You’ve asked many times by you what countries we would love our dart to hit- where would we like to go next? While Sorin prefers Argentina and Matt wants to help people in Sierra Leone, both secretly have a common denominator when it comes to an ideal location: Thailand.
 
Sure, party in Thailand is great, but we also want to see a different Thailand. We want to explore it. We dream about it. That’s why the invitation to attend an event called Amazing Thailand organized in Edmonton, Alberta, caught us by surprise.
 
 

What is the Trafalgar’s 2016 Asia Program?

 

amazing thailand travel by dart

 

Amazing Thailand was put together by Trafalgar Canada (represented by The Travel Corporation) along with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and took place at the Syphay Restaurant. Trafalgar is one of the most renowned travel companies in the world and the event hosted on September 21 marked the official launch of Trafalgar’s 2016 Asia Program.

 
What a beauty this program is. From enjoying a hands-on cooking class in Myanmar to joining a local family for dinner in Japan, the 2016 Asia program also offers a series of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as dining in a royal historical home in Vietnam, visiting a primary school in Chiang Mai, or joining a traditional oil lamp lighting ceremony in Yangon. However, as the title of the event clearly stated, Thailand is the top of the list, as Kayla Shubert (Representative for Canada at Tourism Authority of Thailand) and the team coming down from Toronto introduced to the audience.
 
#TrafalgarCares is the hashtag that caught our attention as well. As our mandates align, we looked into finding out more about the company. “Trafalgar is our biggest brand. Its doing a phenomenal job and I can’t be any happier when I see people loving the company and re-booking only to have the same experience again. That tells a lot about the brand” says Marie Anne MacRae, Global VP Strategic Partnership at The Travel Corporation.
 
Trafalgar is running special prices for Thailand trips next year but needless to say, we sure want one of our darts to hit Thailand. Soon.
 
 

See the World From The Inside

 

amazing thailand

 
 
Trafalgar and Thailand make a good pair. The warmth of the Thai people, delightful culinary adventures and beautifully ornate temples will have guests traveling to Thailand time and time again. Trafalgar (www.trafalgar.com), invites travelers to uncover an even more in-depth trip of Thailand with its famous Insider Experiences. Trafalgar’s Thailand guided vacation gives guests a deeper appreciation of this destination’s wonderful people and charming culture.
 
They will travel in smaller groups with no more than 26 guests with the services of an expert bilingual Travel Director. As an added value, travelers will enjoy daily breakfast buffet and up to 50 per cent of their evening meals. The 2016 Asia program offers three itineraries to discover Thailand and its surrounding regions including the 10-day Treasures of Thailand, 13-day Treasures of Thailand with Cambodia and the 14-day Secrets of Myanmar with Bangkok.

 
“As a top bucket list destination for travelers, Thailand has something for everyone from savoury food, stunning landscapes and wonderful beaches,” says Wolf Paunic, president of Trafalgar Canada. “Canadians have always had a fascination with Thailand and we are thrilled to be expanding our itineraries to accommodate this heightened interest and adding even more authentic Insider experiences.” Guests can save up to 10 per cent across Trafalgar’s new 2016 Asia program with Early Payment Discount* of up to $1576 per couple available when they book and pay in full before November 19, 2015.
 
 
Treasures of Thailand
 
This 10-day in-depth guided vacation includes all internal flights and showcases the diversity of this exotic destination from the sacred temples and tuk tuks of Bangkok to the lush forests of Kanchanaburi and ancient traditions of Chiang Mai. Guests will spend four nights in Bangkok, two nights in Chiang Rai and three nights in Chiang Mai. The Cultural Insights on this itinerary are abundant and include learning T’ai Chi in Lumpini Park, discovering the cultivation process of coconut palm sugar and enjoying a Thai massage at Wat Pho, Bangkok’s oldest temple.
 
Guests will explore historical Kanchanaburi with a visit to the War Cemetery as a final resting place for 6,000 Allied prisoners and board the local train at the world famous Bridge over the River Kwai. In the Golden Triangle area of Chiang Sen, they will transfer to a boat and cruise along the Mekong River with a stop in Laos and visit the Don Sao Island Markets.
 
A new 2016 Insider experience for travelers includes visiting a primary school in Chiang Mai. Guests have the opportunity to interact with children from ages 3-12 years of age from the Hmong and Lahu tribes. Part of the Trafalgar Cares program, this visit helps provide essential supplies the school needs. In Chiang Mai’s Old Town, guests will stay at Authentic Accommodation, the De Naga Hotel, which is an excellent example of the exotic Lanna style of architecture. A wonderful and exclusive experience is the Be My Guest lunch in Ban Mae Kampong.

 
After a village tour with one of the locals and observing the making of handicrafts, guests visit the house of the village chief who will chat with the group and answer their questions. This visit, also part of the Trafalgar Cares program, generates income for the village and goes to fund welfare programs, ranging from infrastructure to forest conservation.
 
Trafalgar is also offering special Solo Traveller Discounts with reductions on the single supplement on selected dates on all Asia itineraries. Past passenger discounts of 5 per cent per person (land only) are also available for travelers who have previously traveled with The Travel Corporation’s family of brands.
 
To find out more information, visit www.trafalgar.com.

Invited to speak at St. Benedict School!

St Benedict Classes


As Matt was in Sierra Leone working on an economic development project, Sorin was invited to speak at St. Benedict School, located in Edmonton, Alberta.

St. Benedict is a Catholic school consisting of over 400 students with a multitude of diverse backgrounds. The school’s theme this year is “Be the Change’, which is symbolic of their commitment to social justice and tremendous efforts and generosity of their staff and students. Students are inspired and empowered to make a difference and have both spawned the ideas and spearheaded the means of fundraising and helping others in their local and global communities.

As Sorin talked about Travel by Dart and the means of the show, he also got to find out that St. Benedict School launched their We-Scare hunger campaign last October, which aimed to donate food items to those in need.

St. Benedict gathered over 450 items in total, all of which are generously donated to the Edmonton Food Bank. Grade 6A not only spread awareness about this fundraiser through morning announcements and posters but also assigned specific food items for each class in order to meet the needs of food products that were most wanted by the food bank.

On the other hand, a team of grade six girls, inspired by We Day have taken initiative and created their own global project. The goal: build a school in Africa. In order to raise this money, the grade 6 team, led by 5 students committed to change, has begun to make personal charm bracelets. At $2 a bracelet the goal is to contribute a few bricks to the cause. Sorin bought (donated for) 20 of them!

The students are dedicated and passionate about making a difference and have truly bought in to their ability to make an impact and “Be the Change’. If you are interested to find out more about St. Benedict School activities, drop us an e-mail at: info@travelbydart.com. Meanwhile, you can visit Sorin’s personal blog at: www.sorin.tv.

Sochi and the Olympic Games…hmmm…

 

We hope you all had a great Christmas! Those of you who didn’t celebrate it just yet, we are sure you will have a fantastic day.

As we’re waiting for our editors to finish episode 2 (‘To Russia with Love’) of our Travel by Dart series, we thought we would share with you some experiences from Russia, which you won’t see in the movie.

Most of you know that the next winter Olympic Games will take place in Sochi, city located at the Black Sea, in Russia. The games will be hosted in only six weeks. We decided to pay a visit to the Olympic complex while in town.

Sochi is a beautiful city that looks like doesn’t belong to Russia at all. Imagine palm trees and +20 Celsius in the middle of November. A nice breeze and a friendly sun greeted us as soon as we landed. The city itself seemed to be ready for the big event coming up on February 7: international flags all over town, grass cut to the dot, paint jobs beautifully executed, etc.

On the other hand though, the Olympic complex looked like it just started to be built! A big construction site unveiled itself as soon as we passed a big church and some big stone fences, right off the highway. Bent metal spikes coming out of the ground tried to tell us that’s the place where the luge or bobsleigh competitions will take place. Above all, a fabulous castle-like building is already there, majestically overseeing the whole complex.

We stopped the van with our six people crew right by the entrance. Meanwhile, about 50 workers were sitting down chatting, laughing, some of them eating. We’re just gonna say it was lunch time so they were taking a deserving break. Interesting enough, as soon as we came out of the van with our cameras and set up the tripods ready to record, all the men sitting down stood up and started to work again! We must have arrived exactly at the end of their break.

The construction itself seemed way behind. Maybe it will be done in time. Some said no, some said yes. That’s probably a smaller concern right now, as the whole world talks more about boycotting of the Games, as a response to Vladimir Putin’s violations of human rights after creating a new Russian law that criminalizes gay “propaganda”. Apparently, Russians don’t care about the boycott either.

Enjoy our short video below, with a review of the construction site, as well as some of the pictures we took while in Sochi.

Thanks again for your support!

 

Mission Russia: Completed!

Thank you again for visiting our blog! We just came back from Russia where we had the best experience you can ever imagine. And we captured it on film! Episode 2, ‘Travel by Dart: To Russia with Love’ is in the making now and will be ready for release soon. Until then, we will let you enjoy a few of our pictures, just so you can get a taste of the episode! Meanwhile, fill out the form on the ‘Contest’ page to be notified when we’ll be releasing the movie!

 

How Throwing a Dart Blindfolded at a Map Helped Us Raise $34,000 in 3 Hours

 

 

Thank you for visiting our website and reading our blog! Even though you are here, we’re not assuming you know what we are all about, so we’re making this blog post about the things that you might not be aware of. If you haven’t seen the video above, check it out! 

 

We want to live a life in which we are free to achieve our dreams, do the “impossible” and help the world all at the same time. So, we created a TV show. The concept is that we throw a dart at the world’s map, travel wherever it lands and help the land or the people we visit. Whether it’s building water wells in Africa, libraries in West Indies, home shelters in Afghanistan, and so on we go where the dart takes us. And most importantly, we take others with us along the way. Since there is really no budget and we are just two regular dudes, we rely solely on our creativity and resourcefulness to make things happen. Is that possible? It sure is, because… we made it happened. Twice.

 

Travel by Dart started as a fun project, where we threw the dart the very first time and hit the vicinity of North Pole. Since our rule was to travel to the closest land mass within 360 degrees of the dart hit (in case it hit the ocean), we ended up in Svalbard, the closest livable land mass. It is an “archipelago” with 2,000 people and 3,000 polar bears. We originally had 8 weeks to plan to make the trip happen from dart throw to the small plane touching down. The first 2 weeks we went down a huge rabbit trail with another concept, then held a focus group and found out we were in left field. We re-thought our process to make it happen and left us with 6 weeks until the trip starting our plans all over again. Getting close to the North Pole in December is not the easiest thing to do, since there is pitch black 24/7 and the temperature is three times colder than your mother in law. 

 

Sorin and Matt laying down in Svalbard 
We had no money, but lots of ambition. We recorded ourselves on video for an exercise – see the documented amateurish video HERE. And this is what we did: after researching the Polar life, we discovered that the Polar bears species will disappear in the next 75 years, according to scientists. We created a website called polarfaith.com, launched an online campaign, and started taking donations just to make our trip possible. People wanted to help us. We also committing to give away $5 to World Wildlife Fund from any donation we would get, big or small. It didn’t matter if we had to shovel 500 driveways of snow and babysit our friends kids every night, we were making this happen.

 

Canada Goose came on board with providing all of our expensive arctic gear as soon as they saw our story featured in the media. Silver Jeans came on to provide us some fresh new clothes to look good on camera too. A few cash donations came in through the website, but not really much – about $2,000. That’s when we decided to take with us a professional videographer and shoot commercials in the Arctic for eventual sponsors who want to showcase their business in a non-traditional setting. Bingo! We got 5 big hearted people (see them on our Sponsors page) sponsor us with $1,000 each, and off we went to Svalbard! We floated the rest of the trip with a visa card and donated some cash as promised to WWF.  

 

On the last plane to Svalbard Matt ended up sitting next to the old GM of Svalbard Tourism, who loved our story and within 24 hours of arrival we were meeting with the government agency to completely fund all of our adventure and provide us with full gear and guides to go out and film 6 hours a day. They paid for two dogsledding treks, snowmobiling, glacier climbing and took us to places we never would have imagined. Did you know one of Chef Ramsey’s apprentices has the largest wine cellar in Scandinavia nestled deep in the permafrost with the best ice wines in the world?  Or that Svalbard is host to the $40 million dollar global seed vault, where cryogenic un-genetically modified seeds are stored just in case the world comes to an end? How about finding out that the “best tasting raw seal” in the world is being served to you after you eat it. Everything was fully organized for us and we had a blast… all because we took a leap of faith and just went for it. All of this awesomeness was not only awesome for the sake of keeping our expenses ridiculously low, but was instrumental in helping transforming the footage we had into a pilot called Polar Faith.

 

We came back home with amazing video clips and soon enough we ended up with Travel by Dart: Polar Faith. It was accepted into the Global Visions Film Festival, the longest running documentary festival in Canada. Our first film placed 4th and the media loved us. We were on every local channel that exists. International media outlets also started to smell a good story.

 

Travel by Dart Svalbard Museum

 

All these lead to a deeper motivation. A question that we found within ourselves arose: if we could get everybody involved, could we make a difference in the world regardless of whatever cause we serve? There are so many things in the world that need fixing, could we travel the world trying to help and prove that world change really is possible? This questioning brought us into getting ready for our next dart throw – Episode 2 – but with WAY more passion and desire to do it. The system looked like it would work. The Polar experience was cool, sure, but we had to take it to the next level. As soon as we announced that we will throw another dart at the world’s map we were overwhelmed with support. Family, friends, media, sponsors – all raising to a whopping total of 145 people and 37 companies (HERE) who contributed in different ways and helped us get the fabrication of a reality series of the ground.

 

This time, it was not just a dart throw in a basement anymore but a three hour fundraising event which we had to get seriously creative about. We wanted to go big. We did not offer just the usual silent and live auctions, but we gave people the chance to bid on where the dart would land. We came up with an adventurous bid option for one fan who would pay to come with us even before we threw the dart… while promising to come before knowing where we are going. And somebody did just that (more on that later). Also, for the ‘right’ bid, we would go to the winner’s house and cook a traditional dinner from the country we are about to go! Last but not least, we offered a good Samaritan the chance to throw the dart for us, for the right donation! See video HERE.

 

In those three hours, we raised $34,000, and the dart hit Russia. We will now go there between October 8-20 with not just a crew, but with Cindy Mitchell, a 56-year old cancer survivor who took the leap of faith to come on the trip. We will work in numerous orphanages around the Black Sea cities Sochi and south toward Ukraine and Kazakhstan, bringing a bundle of love and efforts strictly towards the cause for helping child homelessness. We have now connected with the United Nations and UNICEF and have their full support as well, sending troops to greet us and translate, while helping make our second journey a success. The more money we’ll raise, the more we’ll still have to offer those kids. Right now is crunch time. Everything rests on these next few weeks before departure. Pressure is on.

 

The good news is that if you want to support the project, you will get something back. Visit our Get Involved page see what’s in it for you. There’s lots of goodies to incentivize people for giving to the cause. On the other hand, spreading the word about Travel by Dart by sharing our trailer or liking our Facebook page HERE would be a huge help. We hope to inspire and soften the hearts of everyone who follows our journey, unlocking the spirit of adventure and the most important thing of all… faith.

 

Thank you for reading and becoming part of our team!

 

Amazing Svalbard Travel by Dart

Northern Lights Travel by Dart

 

Why… the dart?

 

We’re just a few weeks away from going to Russia and time started the shrink already. There are so many things to accomplish, from procuring Russian visas to securing corporate partners for our series. All have to be done in a very small amount of time, but it feels good. Everything comes into place everyday, piece by piece. We’re blessed to see so much interest in our reality show, even in Hollywood  (a quick hi to Claudia Wells/Back to the Future and Scott Michael Campbell/ER for their support!). Thank you to absolutely everyone.

 

While we were in Los Angeles at the beginning of September, our friend Winston Perez from Concept Modeling asked us why… the dart? He was probably nice enough to avoid the common question we usually get: “So what, you guys got drunk one night and decided to throw a dart at the world’s map?” Well, not only we didn’t touch alcohol the day we came up with the idea, but we didn’t even think twice about backing up once committed.

 

Life throws things at you everyday. Some are easy to deal with, but a lot of times you’re forced to deal with what you have, on the spot. Face the instant challenges and overcome them. Randomness and faith. In fact, that’s what a dart is, if you will. If the North Pole is given to us and have only a few weeks and no budget for it, that’s what we’ll have to deal with… and make it happen. In the end, not only we felt like donating some cash to WWF for the protection of the polar bears, but we are now ready to go to Russia to help a few orphanages and their children.

 

People in general like to do a million things. Maybe some want to become doctors, maybe some want to travel the world, maybe some want to help others. We chose Travel by Dart to make the last two happen. There will be many destinations that the dart will send us to. All will bring out randomness, faith, and great challenges. We’ll navigate with whatever the circumstances may be. We know we can do it.

 

We’ve been told several times “I am so jealous you guys are doing this”, “take me with you”, or “I wish I could do that”. The thing is… we don’t like hearing any of that. The fact is that you actually can too! Trust us, we’re two very normal guys. Just ask our mothers. Just pick your dart. Face your challenge. And make the best of whatever happens next. Just like Henry Ford said once, Whether you think you can, or you think you can‘t–you‘re right.”

 

dart throw

 

Friends We Love

 

We cannot be any happier to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the people who believe in us, including the journalists and the bloggers who took the time to learn about our mission and to do a story on Travel by Dart. Here they are, along with the stories:

 

Citytv – Breakfast Television
Global TV
CTV News
Toronto Star
Canadian Immigrant
Examiner
Candy’s Celebrity Corner
Camera and Canvas
MediaQuire
Write For Travel
Narrative Transport

 

Below is also a list with all our supporters. Who are they? People who came to our very first focus group to help our direction, people who donated to make our episodes happen, those who helped us a ton in Svalbard, volunteered at our fundraising gala, media people who showcased us to the world, a few key IndieGoGo online campaign funders, some silent auction donors, and a few more friends who supported us in any capacity!

 

Dear friends, we love you. THANK YOU to everyone for believing in us. We  hope to serve you all well in the coming seasons, in life and on the show.

 

Jonathan Chawla
Gaston Landry
Cindy Mitchell
Cameron Blair
Lisa Blair
Rick Murti
Kel Meads
Kate Meads
Jake Bergen
Daniel Chowla
Mehrban Chowla
Danny Valimaki
Beryl Bacchus
Tonia LaRiviere
Donna Zazulak
Jo-Anne Cassidy
Brenna Holeman
This Battered Suitcase
Victoria Lynn Weston
MediaQuire
Carol Ann Quibell
Write For Travel
Siddharth Jain
Greg Rodgers and Vagabonding Life
Rodika Tollefson
Narrative Transport
Kevin Spreekmeester
Caitlin Low
Jonathon Cote
Grant Marsden
Kim Lafreniere
Rob Kinsey
Dan Toma
Trevor Holmlund
Gregory Clark
Shara Tardif
Ken Franczek
Kjersti Ellen Norås
Robert Nielsen
Hilde Falum Strom
Tommy Örnewald
Stig Halvorsen
Steve Daldorff Halvorsen
Mark Sabbatini
Iri Kolborg Mork
Simen Henriksen
Svein Hortemo
Dan Celius
Rimante Hegland
Carla Martella
Michael Behm
Romulus Boieru
Julien Hasler
Gina Cook
Wayne Cook
Emilia Henriquez
Tim LaRiviere
Mark Scholz
Brad Hartford
Jerold Dubyk
Daniela Roncov
Razvan Roncov
Craig Sherburne
Jeff McDonald
Ava Karvonen
Darcia Parada
Shane Kelly
Maria Groenner
Andrew Mason
Ryan Jespersen
Michelle McDougall
Ashley Molnar
Carrie Doll
Sarolta Saskiw
Carole-Anne Devaney
Liann Cameron
Gord Steinke
Rob McAnally
Kenyon Wallace
Christine Montague
Anida Phing Phetsavanh
June Nino Chua
Henry Bartel
Jessica Hume-Smith
Tony Hesby
Janine Fraser
Michael Trache
Consuela Persa
Maria Vraciu
Constantin Zanoaga
Ionut Baluta
Abby Brown
Michael DeRoo
Artur Musial
Mitch Compri
Finley Mah
Sandy Jacobsen
Bob Mulligan
Kelley Mulligan
Lorin Angell
Curtis Bawden
Joan Munro
Cindy Laporte
Steve Laporte
Kate Holmlund
Sam Khosla
Shyroz Khosla
Kimberly Schick-Puddicombe
Grant Puddicombe
Manchi Lo
Serap Ozturk
Sandi Chipchar
Shelley Roslund
Matt Cummings
Brieanna McCutcheon
Danielle Goudreau
Juli McKinnon
Catherine Vu
Marina Ivanova
Yaroslav Krushko
Krista Baert
Brent Seetaram
Kirsten Pawlowski
Jeff Hauser
Victoria Downe
Brandy Olson
Ionut Albulescu
Bob Lupul
Barb Lupul
Ryan Lupul
Sam Pham
Ken Dang
Yuji Ansuri
Tory Ansuwan
Miles Corbett
Liana Shannon
Sorin Buda
Ramona Buda
Elena Nistor
Ramy Sakalla
Amanda Joseph
Jessica Bauer
Cheryl MacLeod
Monique Calliou
Ashley Kumar
Elliot Digby
Judy Giese
Kevin Giese
Mareley Resandt
Pam Moellmann
Chantelle Theroux
Raegan Sather
Mike Millis
Sarah McNair
Megan Johnson

Svalbard Tourism
Svalbard Husky
Canada Goose
Silver Jeans
GLS Construction
Pinnacle Realty&Management
Rigid Mechanical
Canadian Power Pac
World Wildlife Fund
Spitsbergen Travel
Sports Centeret
Karls Bergen
Radisson Inn
Huset Longyearbyen
Citytv Edmonton
Global TV
CTV
Genesis International
Crystal Glass
KS Events
Mr. Yu Events
Wingnut Studios
Comedy Club Edmonton
Krush Ultralounge
Dream Culture
JuneLaine Photography
Pure Health Naturally
Pacific Wine & Spirits
Edmonton Opera
Be Hot Yoga Edmonton
Four Points Sheraton
Independent Outdoor Digital
Holiday Inn Express Kamloops
RedTail Landing Golf Course
More Than Crayons

Sorin.tv

Sierra Leone – The Pulse of Africa by Matt Cook

In April of this year I was presented with an opportunity to lead a team of six extremely passionate business-minded people to the country of Sierra Leone, in West Africa. There were 26 people in the travel group, representing 19 countries and 4 main categories of world aid. At the time there was only one small problem. The trip was close to $3700 and I was just shy of finishing a year of bible school in the US, with school end approaching and $13 left in my bank account. When school is finishes up, who here knows that students are usually broke? To say the least that was me, trying to get to Africa while wondering who was going to bail me out of my next car payment (thanks Julian). An odd, but liberating feeling of sorts.

 

For years I dreamed of going to Africa. Since sponsoring a child through World Vision at age 14 while working at Burger King for $5.90/hour to supplement my xbox infatuation,  I happily gave up two shifts a month to help out. Little did I know, that would lead me to “crowning” 400 kids with burger king hats in person 11 years later.  Man, I still remember the little child’s name, Mudelanji Bhanda. He was my long lost little bro… and now I have hundreds of them awaiting my return.

At a school house. What better way to make 400 children feel like royalty than to bring a suitcase full of fast food crowns from America. Great idea team. Picture courtesy of Abram Goff

At a private school house. What better way to make 400 children feel like royalty than to bring a suitcase full of fast food crowns from America. Who would have thought my first job at Burger King was prophetic for going to Africa. 
Picture courtesy of Abram Goff

 

Sierra Leone is burdened with memories of it’s brutal past and malicious civil war. If you were born in the 80’s, you would have been in your teens growing up to  Will Smith and Backstreet Boys, while just across the waters there was an uncivil world with children your age producing some of the most gruesome and inhumane stories of all time. Most don’t know this but from 1992 to 2001, it is said that 70,000 people were slaughtered by rebel forces.  While in Sierra Leone I experienced first hand what the aftermath of such circumstance does to a nation.

While at a church in Freetown, the capital city (named for hosting nearly 2 million people into freedom, behind it’s protected UN walls during the rebel outbreak) I met a 25 year old man, the exact same age as me at the time. His mother, the pastor of this church. The largest in all of the region, seating 5000+ people every Sunday morning with over 1000 pregnant women with priority seating (the full first story of the building). One of the most successful churches of all time, with miracles and healings taking place during service like you’ve never heard or seen in your life. Some seriously hard stuff to grasp like blind people seeing and crippled people walking (I can attest). The father of the house was nowhere to be seen. I asked,  “is it common to have a woman run the church in Africa instead of a man”, while understanding the background and history of oppression towards women in the region. The 25 year old son, the same age as me said “When I was 8 years old, the rebels came to the church. My father knew what would happen when he tried to defend, but he did it anyways. So they cut off his head in front of everyone”.

I cried.

How can one find peace after something like that?  I thought only of what kind of demons must have stuck around in so many people’s lives, lurking deep beneath the surface in every situation or circumstance. These people’s spirits must be masked with emotion, loss, and a default for cynicism. It  must be like this un-seen, un-penetrable lingering of disbelief and self-worth just flushed away with the muddy water. For days I cried. I watched people walk by with no eyes, others with limbs lost, and others with Polio so bad that they’re legs were backwards. Aggh. What can I do about this.

 

I soon realized something that has forever changed my way of thinking. It is exactly what the enemy wants. When we partner with negativity, regardless of how bad or inhumane a situation is, we project it onto those who are oppressed and burden them even further. When an entire country takes pity on another country, it changes the social landscape in such a negative way that can only be described as spiritually hell binding. I will never, ever again in my life choose to look at a situation as pitiful and take only the bad from it. What I failed to realize was that what truly laid behind every lost and tortured family, was not darkness. It was a spiritual covenant and faith so strong that left me mesmerized. I pictured the industrial revolution of America and how far by economic standards the rest of the world perceived them to be ahead… then took that image, multiplied it by China’s net worth today and then ten-folded that to represent how far Sierra Leoneans are ahead of the world spiritually. It is unfathomable and frankly, unbelievable.

With judgement gone, my eyes were cleared and I visioned a place so powerful and anointed that I didn’t want to leave. I wanted every little piece of it that I could get.  I wanted to kiss every child, smile until my face hurt, give every article of clothing off my back, my water to the kids, just love on people. Bless them as much as possible with more hope. More inspiration. More love! The more I tried to do things like this the more I realized what was really happening. They weren’t the one’s who didn’t have control. They weren’t the ones crying. I was. When I tried to give, they would give back 10x more. If I gave 3x the price for a necklace to bless someone, many wouldn’t let me leave without taking the most expensive necklace they made. I realized after touching down on that blood red earth and leaving it once again, something deeply special had unlocked in me. My heard beat changed. Sierra Leone had done it. It was the pulse of Africa.

———

Saying bye is never easy.

Saying bye is never easy.

Speaking on business, hope and economic shift at a pastors conference in Sierra Leone

Speaking on business, hope and prophesy of economic shift at a pastors conference in Sierra Leone

Playing with children has never been easier. Cutest kids ever! Face painting rules.

Playing with children has never been easier. Cutest kids ever! Face painting rules.

What'd I say... leaving is never easy lol.

What’d I say… leaving is never easy lol.

 

More kids and more Burger King hats!

More kids and more Burger King hats!

 

Largest church in Leone. "Expect A Miracle" -- As I mentioned they don't mess around. Beyond wild.

Largest church in Leone. “Expect A Miracle” — As I mentioned they don’t mess around. Beyond wild.

 

Traditional head wear. And they carry much bigger things than that.

Traditional head wear. And they carry much bigger things than that.

 

Awesome little guys. They listen to 50 cent and all think they are gangsters. I kicked their butts in beach soccer though (cough* football)

Awesome little guys. They listen to 50 cent and all think they are gangsters. I kicked their butts in beach soccer though (cough* football)

 

One of my fav pics

One of my fav pics.

 

 

 

 

About the Series

Travel by Dart is a new web series that combines adventure travel, reality tv and philanthropy. Each episode two friends throw a dart at the world's map and travel wherever it lands, with the purpose of helping the people or the land.


The show delivers an inspiring tale of two young men and how they overcome the challenges that face them along the way to complete each mission.


Travel to the ends of the earth helping the people and the land, from the arctic islands of Svalbard, 300 miles from the north pole addressing the polar bear cause, to a cross-country tour of Russia where they combat youth homelessness and expose mafia violence.


This show is for all ages. Stay tuned as Sorin and Matt continue to film this ongoing journey.










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