Son works alongside dad in Africa

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

William Pearson didn't know how his life would change when he tagged along with his dad.

The 16-year-old Waterdown District High School student will be heading to Nigeria with his dad, Tobyn Pearson, on a humanitarian mission next month.

Tobyn was already signed up, but happened to bring his son along to a planning meeting. "Next thing I know this guy's signing up to go!" he said.

Making the trek to Africa with his dad had been in the back of William's mind for some time, he said. Although he didn't go to the meeting intending to sign up, once he got there he knew he was meant to go.

"There's work to be done, and I thought I should be there to do it," he said. "The opportunity presented itself, so I decided to take it."

Tobyn had a policy of never inviting his children on a mission; he wanted them to approach him if they felt a pull to go. But secretly, he was hoping his son would join him some day.

"I'm so proud of him," he said. "He's made me happier than a you-know-what in you-know-what. It made my Christmas when he decided to go."

He's hoping the experience will help William see life from a different perspective, and give him a compassionate outlook on the world. "It's a life- changing experience. It changed my life," he said. "Don't get me wrong - he's already a great kid, but he's going to learn and develop so much from this. He's going to learn more from this than he could from 10 years of school."

The pair will be joining a dozen other residents from the Hamilton/Halton region, who have signed up with Alongside International, a mission group based in Burlington. It's a group which aims to teach locals the skills they need to be self-sufficient, even after the mission has left. They'll be going with a group of work colleagues and friends from Tobyn's company, MultiServe; they offer the employees leaves of absence and assistance to make the trip. They'll be traveling to Akaeze, Nigeria on February 10, to drill a well, build a school, and hand out prescription eyeglasses.

William also plans to spend plenty of time playing with local kids. "I hear they like that," he said.

Many of the children he'll be meeting are have been orphaned by AIDS, has reached epidemic proportions throughout much of Africa. But he and another teen making the trip hope to bring a little fun to the village, by showing them games. The NHL donated hockey sticks to a previous mission, so volunteers invented desert hockey, he said.

But the trip isn't all fun and games. The beds are uncomfortable, the food can be terrible, and the smells are even worse. "This isn't a vacation," said Tobyn, who tried to share the experience with his wife when they were newlyweds, only to have her vow never to go again. "It's really hard work."

It's also expensive. In order to make the trip, William needs to raise $3,500 - the same as every other member of the group.

Family has been lending a hand; in lieu of gifts, William got cash for Christmas. Even William's 12-year-old sister, Jennifer, donated her change jar to the cause, to get him $100 closer to his goal.

He's also approached local service clubs, and will be selling Alongside International merchandise in the high school foyer to help raise the cash in time. He's already endured the six shots necessary for the trip, and has survived the whirlwind of paperwork required to get his visa and passport in order.

The group has also been busy collecting items to take along. Funds are needed for building materials and tools and donations of new clothes, shoes, children's books, toiletry items, over-the-counter pain and cold medication and sports equipment are also welcome.

Anyone hoping to donate funds or items, or help William achieve his $3,500 fee can give Tobyn a call at 905-541-5113.

Son works alongside dad in Africa

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

William Pearson didn't know how his life would change when he tagged along with his dad.

The 16-year-old Waterdown District High School student will be heading to Nigeria with his dad, Tobyn Pearson, on a humanitarian mission next month.

Tobyn was already signed up, but happened to bring his son along to a planning meeting. "Next thing I know this guy's signing up to go!" he said.

Making the trek to Africa with his dad had been in the back of William's mind for some time, he said. Although he didn't go to the meeting intending to sign up, once he got there he knew he was meant to go.

"There's work to be done, and I thought I should be there to do it," he said. "The opportunity presented itself, so I decided to take it."

Tobyn had a policy of never inviting his children on a mission; he wanted them to approach him if they felt a pull to go. But secretly, he was hoping his son would join him some day.

"I'm so proud of him," he said. "He's made me happier than a you-know-what in you-know-what. It made my Christmas when he decided to go."

He's hoping the experience will help William see life from a different perspective, and give him a compassionate outlook on the world. "It's a life- changing experience. It changed my life," he said. "Don't get me wrong - he's already a great kid, but he's going to learn and develop so much from this. He's going to learn more from this than he could from 10 years of school."

The pair will be joining a dozen other residents from the Hamilton/Halton region, who have signed up with Alongside International, a mission group based in Burlington. It's a group which aims to teach locals the skills they need to be self-sufficient, even after the mission has left. They'll be going with a group of work colleagues and friends from Tobyn's company, MultiServe; they offer the employees leaves of absence and assistance to make the trip. They'll be traveling to Akaeze, Nigeria on February 10, to drill a well, build a school, and hand out prescription eyeglasses.

William also plans to spend plenty of time playing with local kids. "I hear they like that," he said.

Many of the children he'll be meeting are have been orphaned by AIDS, has reached epidemic proportions throughout much of Africa. But he and another teen making the trip hope to bring a little fun to the village, by showing them games. The NHL donated hockey sticks to a previous mission, so volunteers invented desert hockey, he said.

But the trip isn't all fun and games. The beds are uncomfortable, the food can be terrible, and the smells are even worse. "This isn't a vacation," said Tobyn, who tried to share the experience with his wife when they were newlyweds, only to have her vow never to go again. "It's really hard work."

It's also expensive. In order to make the trip, William needs to raise $3,500 - the same as every other member of the group.

Family has been lending a hand; in lieu of gifts, William got cash for Christmas. Even William's 12-year-old sister, Jennifer, donated her change jar to the cause, to get him $100 closer to his goal.

He's also approached local service clubs, and will be selling Alongside International merchandise in the high school foyer to help raise the cash in time. He's already endured the six shots necessary for the trip, and has survived the whirlwind of paperwork required to get his visa and passport in order.

The group has also been busy collecting items to take along. Funds are needed for building materials and tools and donations of new clothes, shoes, children's books, toiletry items, over-the-counter pain and cold medication and sports equipment are also welcome.

Anyone hoping to donate funds or items, or help William achieve his $3,500 fee can give Tobyn a call at 905-541-5113.

Son works alongside dad in Africa

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

William Pearson didn't know how his life would change when he tagged along with his dad.

The 16-year-old Waterdown District High School student will be heading to Nigeria with his dad, Tobyn Pearson, on a humanitarian mission next month.

Tobyn was already signed up, but happened to bring his son along to a planning meeting. "Next thing I know this guy's signing up to go!" he said.

Making the trek to Africa with his dad had been in the back of William's mind for some time, he said. Although he didn't go to the meeting intending to sign up, once he got there he knew he was meant to go.

"There's work to be done, and I thought I should be there to do it," he said. "The opportunity presented itself, so I decided to take it."

Tobyn had a policy of never inviting his children on a mission; he wanted them to approach him if they felt a pull to go. But secretly, he was hoping his son would join him some day.

"I'm so proud of him," he said. "He's made me happier than a you-know-what in you-know-what. It made my Christmas when he decided to go."

He's hoping the experience will help William see life from a different perspective, and give him a compassionate outlook on the world. "It's a life- changing experience. It changed my life," he said. "Don't get me wrong - he's already a great kid, but he's going to learn and develop so much from this. He's going to learn more from this than he could from 10 years of school."

The pair will be joining a dozen other residents from the Hamilton/Halton region, who have signed up with Alongside International, a mission group based in Burlington. It's a group which aims to teach locals the skills they need to be self-sufficient, even after the mission has left. They'll be going with a group of work colleagues and friends from Tobyn's company, MultiServe; they offer the employees leaves of absence and assistance to make the trip. They'll be traveling to Akaeze, Nigeria on February 10, to drill a well, build a school, and hand out prescription eyeglasses.

William also plans to spend plenty of time playing with local kids. "I hear they like that," he said.

Many of the children he'll be meeting are have been orphaned by AIDS, has reached epidemic proportions throughout much of Africa. But he and another teen making the trip hope to bring a little fun to the village, by showing them games. The NHL donated hockey sticks to a previous mission, so volunteers invented desert hockey, he said.

But the trip isn't all fun and games. The beds are uncomfortable, the food can be terrible, and the smells are even worse. "This isn't a vacation," said Tobyn, who tried to share the experience with his wife when they were newlyweds, only to have her vow never to go again. "It's really hard work."

It's also expensive. In order to make the trip, William needs to raise $3,500 - the same as every other member of the group.

Family has been lending a hand; in lieu of gifts, William got cash for Christmas. Even William's 12-year-old sister, Jennifer, donated her change jar to the cause, to get him $100 closer to his goal.

He's also approached local service clubs, and will be selling Alongside International merchandise in the high school foyer to help raise the cash in time. He's already endured the six shots necessary for the trip, and has survived the whirlwind of paperwork required to get his visa and passport in order.

The group has also been busy collecting items to take along. Funds are needed for building materials and tools and donations of new clothes, shoes, children's books, toiletry items, over-the-counter pain and cold medication and sports equipment are also welcome.

Anyone hoping to donate funds or items, or help William achieve his $3,500 fee can give Tobyn a call at 905-541-5113.