March 2019

Trip RECAP

In March 2019, Pembridge embarked on their 2nd annual “Pembridge and Friends” trip with Bridges to Community Canada. This time, they headed to Dominican Republic to build homes for two families in dire need of improved living conditions, in the heart of La Guama.

While much of the Dominican Republic thrives economically thanks to tourism, more than a third of residents in the Dominican Republic live in extreme poverty, particularly in rural areas along the Haitian border. The country was colonized by Europe when Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1492, and for the following 25 years became a large exporter of gold until the mines were exhausted in 1519. Since then significant political unrest has plagued the country. Today, boasting the largest economy in the Caribbean, there is a clear divide between the very wealthy and the very poor.

“The disparity between rich and poor in the Dominican is unbelievable,” said Bob Tisdale, President and COO of Pembridge Insurance. “You see the big all-inclusive resorts in one part, and impoverished citizens living in deplorable conditions in rural areas. I was really happy to participate in spreading the reach of BTCC to help these residents realize hope and improved lives.”
Bob was joined by fellow staff, brokers and friends, who split into two groups to build sturdy houses for deserving families. What they all agreed upon was it was an experience of a lifetime.

“Being part of a group of people who come together for the good of the cause to help others always leaves you with a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction,” recalls Barb Newington, Pembridge Provincial Underwriting Manager. “Although the conditions in DR were quite different than what we experienced on our last trip with BTCC to Nicaragua, there was still lots of laughter and friendships made, as we came together over a week of hard work.” Barb already signed up for the next Pembridge trip in March 2020.

While the most rewarding aspect of the experience is seeing the result of the finished homes and overwhelming gratitude of the recipients, the trip is also an opportunity to bond with other insurance professionals. As Bob recalls “Travelling with such a dynamic group of volunteers made the work not feel like work. I forged relationships with my colleagues and the participating brokers in a new way. We shared living accommodations, shared every meal together, and worked together through challenging labour, language barriers and weather conditions. There were so many laughs, stories told and created, and powerful bonds made that will never be broken.”

While the most rewarding aspect of the experience is seeing the result of the finished homes and overwhelming gratitude of the recipients, the trip is also an opportunity to bond with other insurance professionals. As Bob recalls “Travelling with such a dynamic group of volunteers made the work not feel like work. I forged relationships with my colleagues and the participating brokers in a new way. We shared living accommodations, shared every meal together, and worked together through challenging labour, language barriers and weather conditions. There were so many laughs, stories told and created, and powerful bonds made that will never be broken.”
Pembridge and Friends will be travelling to the Dominican Republic again in March 2020, to continue the meaningful work of Bridges to Community Canada.

Read trip testimonials here