I know I typically use this blog to write about Internet marketing strategies, web marketing tactics, and basically whatever it takes to be successful online.

Well, in my opinion there is no reason to do all the hard work to become successful online if you don’t GIVE BACK! Call it good karma, call it blessings, call it whatever you want.

We are all human beings inhabiting the same planet and it’s very easy to get caught up in ourselves and forget there are many less fortunate people who could use our help.

I personally have never either had the opportunity, or found the motivation to make the decision to pitch in to help make the world a better place. Until now!

We made a decision as a company to donate a website to The James Fund last summer. I found out this spring that due to our donation, we had the opportunity to send two people on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I made the decision to come along and bring my mom and I am VERY happy I did.

We’ve made it through the first day of the trip which began this morning at 3:30am. Our flight out here was pretty smooth except for when the plane made a very erratic right turn and the pilot came on and said, “sorry for that move but air traffic control told us to turn immediately because another plane was coming right at us.” Hmmmm….lucky he didn’t say anything before everything was ok. 🙂

Our drive to our hotel was interesting. It seems although there are stop signs, lights, and even lanes in the road … nobody seems to care. There is no way I’d ever hop in the driver’s seat of a car in this country. I have a very difficult time being a passenger with ANYONE, but I’ll happily take that position here.

We’re staying at a very nice hotel by Dominican Republic standards. I’ve included some pictures on my Facebook page which can be found at http://www.facebook.com/petebrand1 .

We had an opportunity to meet with the rest of the mission team to discuss what our itinerary would be for the next five days and then we were off to the Ramar House which is a home for boys ages 10 – 18. There are 20 boys that live in this house and the majority of them are orphans. We had an opportunity to hear their stories through a translator since they speak Spanish and, except for a few cases, can’t speak any english. The stories were amazing and sad. Most of the kids lived on the streets and found their way to the Ramar house following a stint in a government program.

Despite the difficult circumstances these kids have been through, they have HUGE GOALS and even bigger smiles.

Following dinner we played a game of four on four basketball. I am proud to say we won three of the five games we played, and even prouder to say I fought off the urge to throw up out of pure exhaustion. 🙂

Man am I out of shape!

Well it’s time to hit the sack since we have to be down to breakfast at 7:00am and we are going to be heading to pour seven cement columns for a Christian school they are building. The interesting thing is we’ll be on the fifth floor which is the roof. There is no shade and if you’ve checked the weather down here lately it is going to be in the upper 80’s and humid. All the better to shrink some of this fat from my midsection.

Oh, also … they don’t have machines for that down here. We’ll be mixing the cement by hand and hoisting it up by “human powered” pulleys. I’ll have some pictures of that tomorrow. Don’t forget to check out the pictures at http://www.facebook.com/petebrand1 .