Thursday, September 24, 2009

Down with the Incas! Go Aztecs go!

This just a small note to specify and inform the few readers who were awaiting updates of the humanitarian mission that wife and I were supposed to be part of in Peru:

We were denied entry to Peru because of our Lebanese Passports.

Despite the Organization’s credentials and letters, the two Lebanese members had to turn back while the rest of the mission went on. With teary eyes, we bid our friends farewell and wished them the best of luck as we were put back on the next plane to Montreal, via Mexico.

After about a year of planning, hard work, and a lot of financial investment in equipments, we were turned back just like that, just because we were born in a certain country. It became evident to me that before the Lebanese help others, they have to help themselves, and I will apply for my Canadian citizenship as soon as I get back. I actually should have done that a long while ago.

However upon our arrival to Mexico, we decided to make the best out of this entire ordeal, and stay for a few days in Mexico City, and Acapulco.

And this is where we will be for the next few days before our trip back home to Montreal.

Hasta Luego.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mission: Peru -1.

I met Père Labine last year through two of my good friends who graduated from the School of Optometry at the Université de Montréal, and are now established optometrists working in different parts of the city. 
Father Labine, or Pierre, dedicates most of his time to restoring sight and vision to the “unprivileged” citizens of third world countries. Operating as part of “Vosh Santa Cruz Montréal” (a humanitarian mission caring for the eyes and sight), he leads and guides a vast network of benevolent doctors, students, companies, non-profit organizations, and volunteers that travel around the world trying to offer hope of a better future, by providing the needy with free eye exams, some medicine, and recycled eyeglasses... needless to say, the patients don't need to pay one cent, as everything is for free... they just have to show up! 

For years now, and with a small circle of friends, they have organized, and deployed missions to Ecuador, Romania, Mexico, Morocco, now Haiti, and Peru; our mission…

I have wanted to be part of something like that for so long, and now the opportunity presented itself to me, and it is actually the time to walk the walk.

For months, wife and I have training at the “mission’s headquarters”; an old and abandoned downtown Montréal industrial loft (warehouse), full of dust and old remnants of what was. They say it was a place where secret raves used to held (I wish I knew about them), but for the time being it is ours, and we call it “l’entrepôt”. Every Monday we were given a crash course, on the things or the "jobs" we would be fulfilling during the next mission in which we are taking part: Lima, Peru; basically a fast guide on how to lend a helping hand on site. 

We have to be fast and efficient, as we should be working with around 700 patients every day. We’re bringing along about 9 thousand pairs of used and recycled prescription eyeglasses that we helped, cleaned, fixed, analyzed, labeled, sorted out and ready to be donated.

From 7 am to 5:00 pm, we have to be at our best. Armed with warm hearts, passion, enthusiasm, curiosity and humility we will be part of the team from Montreal, that is trying to give back to the world.

It is definitely going to be a most enriching experience. I am very excited. 

I am also looking forward to the last 4 days of our mission. These are the days where we are free to roam Peru, and actually chill. So for that we reserved for a trip to Cuzco, to be able to journey to the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

Today was a bit of a hectic day, but that's quite normal for the day before the big trip, as there were still a bit of last minute preparations to be done, but mainly we are now set to leave Saturday, early in the morning. 

The bags and packages are ready, and we're in anticipation for the wonderful adventure. In just a few hours, we should be on the plane to Lima to live a life altering experience. 

I will try to keep updating with details of our trip every other day, on the condition that I have internet access. It may be very hard to do, as we will be stationed in a very modest part of the slums of Lima. But I promise that I will try my best to post. This should definitely be an experience to be shared, and I won't refrain. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

mission: peru | Day -2 | Re_cyle!

July 09 / Montréal, Qc. / Canon PowerShot SD 750

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


June 07 / Montréal, Qc. / Canon Eos Digital Rebel XTi

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pinus Pinea [02].

July 08 / Rass el Harf, Lebanon / Canon PowerShot SD 750

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Greenacre Park [postcard]

Greenacre Park / May 08 / New York City, NY / Canon Eos Digital Rebel XTi

Sunday, June 01, 2008

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