I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Holiday Break: Grandchildren, New Plans and New Year with New Friends

Grandson Henry feeding the Chickadees.  Great photo by Chris!
Had a great holiday break with family.   The yacht that will take me from Florida to Belize spent the holidays sailing to Miami, and we made new plans for the sailing part of the expedition.  Spent New Year's Day with new friends.
After a delayed flight I arrived in Boston at three in the morning, and was delighted to see my husband Chris's bug smile as he greeted me.  We spent the holidays with my son's family in Livonia, NY.
John, Deb, Henry, Megan, Thomas, Evie, Vicki and Chris
One highlight was a muddy hike where we fed sunflower seeds to the chickadees, created "personal flurries" with cattail fluff and saw a huge flock of snow geese.  It was fun making Christmas cookies with the children, and I loved how little Evie decided the gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter was really "Baby Jesus".  The children like stuffed animals, so their gifts were two sea turtles.  I told them about visiting the turtle hospital in North Carolina, and that led to days of playing "rescue the cold stunned turtles".  But we always make "stuffies" as well, and this time we used soft fur to make two kitties.
Sungling with grandchildren and the new kitties
Grandpa Chris got into the snuggling too!
Grandpa Chris with Evie and henry
I was expecting lots of snow and bitting cold, but the temperatures were nearly the same as those in SC when I arrived.  Only one day of snow during the holidays, but we made good use of it and went sledding and sliding.

All too soon I had to fly back to South Carolina and get back to work!  Rigby picked me up from the airport early in the morning on New Year's Day.  Now that's a sacrifice for Rotary!  I spent a wonderful day with Rigby and Deb, including a dinner that spanned the New Year traditions of four locations: Germany (sauerkraut and pork), South Carolina (hoppin john), Spain (12 grapes) and Maine (no lobster, since they crawl backwards and we want to go forward into the new year).  
Food for good luck for the new year.
Meanwhile, Bernie Horn and crew spent the holidays sailing his yacht, Polaris, down to Miami so that it will be ready to take me and my kayak from Florida to Belize in April.  Thanks, Bernie!!   We also agreed to a plan that will fit with Bernie's schedule.  It means leaving from Miami, rather than from Key West.  That cuts about 170 miles off of the total distance of the kayak part of the expedition.  If my rough calculations of distance of the future legs are right, that means the entire kayak part will be only 2,387 miles.  That's a little shy of the 2,500 miles I had estimated.  Maybe I'll find an extra 113 miles to explore along the way, or maybe do the Key West to Miami leg on the way back to Maine.  NO, I am NOT planning on kayaking the whole way back to Maine.

Thank you to all the many supporters who made the holidays of the Safe Passage children a little merrier, by donating to help us convert third and fourth grades from after school programs to full day school!

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