At the Crossroads to adventure Local seeks donations for cultural exchange By Chris Woodall With a little assistance from Whistler residents, including a recently-announced $300 donation from the Whistler Rotary Club and a silent auction/trivia night next week, Dominique Daoust will bring a Canadian helping hand to Costa Rica. Daoust is one of 135 volunteers in Canadian Crossroads International who will participate in a variety of projects in developing countries such as building roads, teaching in schools, or working on farms. The work terms are four to six months. When the CCI participant returns to Canada, she or he shares their cultural experiences with their local community. Daoust's trip begins in September this year. Although CCI provides airfare, some accommodation and other expenses, Daoust is required to raise funds to cover 20 per cent of the total cost of her cultural excursion — $2,250. She plans to hold a silent auction and trivia night Feb. 5 at Granite North restaurant and has created special edition four-colour T-shirts for sale at $20. Some of the items up for auction include a snowmobile tour for two, an introductory climbing course, a weekend for two at the Waterfront Centre hotel with a limousine ride, gift certificates for local restaurants, Vancouver Grizzlies tickets and Ski Esprit clinics. "I definitely think my trip will benefit the community because when I come back I'll do presentations to share the experience and relate what life is like in the country I worked in," Daoust explains. The 30-year-old reservations supervisor at the Whistler Resort Association has been a Whistlerite since 1993. She is originally from Cowansville in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The Canadian Crossroads philosophy seeks to create mutual understanding and respect for Canadians and peoples in all regions of the world. Since the 1960s when CCI began, Canadians have travelled to 26 developing countries in Central and South America, Africa and elsewhere. Daoust went through a rigorous interview process before being chosen by CCI. Her qualifications include a background in academics and hard labour. "I have a degree in psychology and a Masters in Phys. Ed," Daoust explains. "I've also done tree planting and commercial fishing, so I can do physical work, too." She also speaks a bit of Spanish, so she's keen to expand her ease in that language while in Costa Rica. Unlike other overseas programs such as CUSO (Canadian University Students Overseas), potential participants do not need specific usable skills like engineering or a medical degree. And the four-month experience isn't as intense, Daoust says. "It'll be what you make of it. It'll be an interesting challenge to be involved in the day-to-day life of developing country, but I should have fun, too." She also plans to keep in touch with Whistler, perhaps through "letters" to local media, while she's away. The Feb. 5 auction and trivia night gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Granite North. Daoust will give a short presentation and then the trivia will start. The silent auction will close some time after 9 p.m., to be followed by a bachelor auction. There will also be door prizes.