December 21st, 2011
Raymond Ablack is a born leader (duh, that’s why he’s class president). But what scares a leader? Ablack found out he does have a fear, but instead of letting it conquer him, he conquered it during his trip to Haiti with the cast of Degrassi.
Check out exclusive content from Degrassi in Haiti after the jump that you won’t find anywhere else! Don’t miss Degrassi In Haiti as part of MuchMusic’s Holiday Wrap, airing December 30th at 6PM ET exclusively on MuchMusic!
The cast of Degrassi is helping to create a brand new school in Haiti and we’ve got it all documented right here on MuchMusic! Aptly named Degrassi In Haiti, the special follows all your favourite Degrassi actors as they encounter the heat, sweat, tears, fears and unforgettable experiences while creating something truly special for kids less fortunate.
Watch an exclusive video of what it was like for Raymond Black to overcome his fears, and read what he’s got to say about what Haiti meant to him.
1. What is one essential item you packed for your trip?
The most essential item I think I packed for my Haitian adventure was most definitely the combo attack of numerous brands of insect repellent and the two full-bodied, face-masked bug suits, one of which was a back-up suit (you can never be too cautious when it comes to bugs). Although some might suggest that my protection was obnoxious and perhaps overkill (because of the chemical burns the bug spray permanently left on parts of my skin), I on the other hand did not have to fear lurking tarantulas all day long…wait…yes, I did. Hmm?
2. What is one thing you learned about another cast member?
I learned a little about all my cast mates, or better to say friends, on this trip – at least, if they weren’t friends before this trip, they definitely are now. You don’t go to Haiti with someone and then pass them on the street at home; there’s a deeper familiarity there than with your typical Facebook friend. Every one of these Free The Children trips moulds you into someone new. It comes with a broader understanding of the world and the demystifying of somewhere you’ve only heard about on the news; and each person who joins your trip adds a stir to the pot of how the experience affects you.
I learned a lot from Daniel Kelly on this trip. Some of it is too private and personal to us both to divulge, but what I can share is my adoration for him as a person. You can’t help but be drawn to someone who is completely throwing themselves into every aspect and challenge that is present and Daniel did just that. Even when it was cold and wet or he was hungry, or tired, or upset, he felt and lived all of those emotions and experiences to the fullest and still put forward a good attitude. I admire Daniel a lot. I learned from him the importance of being fully present, that life is more vibrant that way and that people want to be around someone like him. I want to be like that too.
3. Who is the best travel partner?
The best travel partner, hands down, has to be Munro Chambers. If there’s one thing that comes to mind when I think of Munro, it is his compassion. I’ve said it before, but I think if Munro were an animal he would be the world’s most loving dog. He’s a peacekeeper and loyal to the core. There were many, many occasions in Haiti where our friends would break down from anger, sadness, exhaustion, homesickness, or a mixture of these. Whoever it was, Munro was there with a hug and some cheer. You can’t be anything but happy with him around because his boundless energy is like coming home to an excited dog. He does justice to the word ‘friend’.
4. What was your most important moment on the trip?
It’s difficult to pinpoint my most memorable or important moment of a trip that was so well rounded. A memorable moment off the top of my head though, albeit one with less gravity than other spectacular moments on this trip, was the makeshift family we formed which was uber present every night before bed. After long, exhausting work days, we would eat dinner together. But unlike at home, we’d go from absolutely starving together to full-bellied satisfaction together. There’s something about the atmosphere of eating really great food and unwinding for the rest of the evening with people who you love – that feels really, really good. Especially compared to eating in front of the TV or in a rush as is often the case at home in Canada. We’d play camp games and cards, joke around, and then doze off late every night. We made a family in what felt like another world.
5. How do you describe Haiti and your trip to friends?
It’s hard to do justice to a trip like ours when a friend asks about the experience because no single anecdote will do. I often try to get through my explanation but am cut short because people rarely have time to hear me out. It’s hard to stop talking and sharing something you’re this passionate about. I don’t blame them for shutting me up, but I do encourage my friends and family to go on trips with Free The Children or similar adventures, to enjoy and create their own experiences. Then we can both share stories.
Keep checking Red Hot Much for more exclusives you won’t see in the special! We’ve got one-on-ones from Luke Bilyk (Drew Torres) and more on the way!
Don’t miss Degrassi In Haiti Over The Holidays Thursday, December 30th at 6PM ET On MuchMusic!
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