Dominican mission trip a success; plans underway for 2009 trip

Mark Robinson says a mission trip earlier this year the to an orphanage in Dominican Republic was a great success.

“Over 64 volunteers took time from their busy schedules to give of themselves to this worthy cause,” Robinson said.

The Palmerston resident and trip organizer said over a six week period three different groups worked on a variety of projects at the orphanage, which is located in the Domi­nican Republic, about five miles north of the town of San Pedro de Macrois (between San­to Domingo and La Ro­mana).

The volunteers laid blocks on the new school building, carried blocks and mortar, moved earth, painted the new clinic inside and outside, completed many “handyman” jobs, participated in music and art with the children, started a new sewing program, and many other things.

“Many thanks to all who have sent notes of encouragement, donations of items to take with us and to those that have sent funds,” Robinson said.

“We appreciate your thoughts and actions, and most of all, the children at the orphanage appreciate it … more than you will ever know.”

Every year since 2003 Robinson has volunteered two weeks and travelled to Central American countries to help children in Nicaragua, Guate­mala, and the Dominican Re­public at orphanages run by Nuestros PequeZos Hermanos (NPH) or  Our Little Brothers and Sisters (http://­www.­

Late last year Robinson and his wife, Connie, retired from Marcon Studio, House of Photography, and closed the business. That allowed him to take six weeks this year to volunteer at the orphanage.

Robinson explained there are 160 children with living on site. In 2006 and 2007, the group helped with construction of a school building for the children in the orphanage and the surrounding villages.

This year they had a special dedication ceremony to honour all the Canadians that helped with its construction. The 12 rooms are named after Ontario towns and cities.

“Life at the orphanage is busy, full of activities, and exciting,” Robinson said.

He told the story of one teenage girl on the trip, who after spending less than 24 hours in the luxury of an all-inclusive resort at the end of her trip, told her mother “This is boring. I’d rather still be at the orphanage.”

“That speaks volumes,” Robinson said.

“We have had volunteers from many walks of life, aged 15 to 73. This year five birthdays and a special 46th wedding anniversary were celebrated by the volunteers in the Dominican – wonderful milestones celebrated in a very special place.”

And while the final group returned just a few months ago, Robinson said plans are al­ready in the works for the 2009 trip.

“We hope to have volunteers making the trip next year to help as they did this year  – and also a team that will be meeting some of the medical needs of the children, the workers, and surrounding villagers,” he said. Anyone wanting more information or to volunteer for the 2009 trip or to donate money or goods, contact Mark Robinson at or 519-343-2201.