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.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Paddle Day 38: Rain, Rainbows and Islands

"Go towards the light."
It was a day of darkness and light, sun and rain, rainbows and manta rays.  At the end of the paddle was a long interview with a reporter from Vero Beach Magazine, with great questions about Safe Passage.
It felt good to be back in the kayak after a few days of biking.  Started near dawn with an overcast sky.  There were periods of hard rain to cool me off.
Rain, rain, rain.
After the rain, came the rainbows.
Island under the rainbow
All of the spoil islands reminded me of Maine.  I think my favorite Maine artist, Eric Hopkins, would paint them with more tropical colors.  But then again, maybe not.
An Eric Hopkins painting
So often, on the water, in the less populated areas, I feel like I am moving inside a painting.  In the built up areas I feel like I am traveling through a bad TV show.

Landing in Vero Beach, I had a long interview with a reporter from Vero Beach Magazine, a monthly glossy magazine that does in depth stories.  Melissa had done her homework and asked great questions about Safe Passage.  One of her most insightful was about the people living in the Guatemala City garbage dump community who are not involved in the Safe Passage programs.  "How do they feel about Safe Passage?'  One of the most important assets that Safe Passage has is the trust of the community.  Without that we could never operate in such a dangerous area.  I told here about walking in the community, with a Safe Passage staff member.  We always wear shirts that say "Safe Passage", so that everyone knows who we are.  Once, when there was some gang related activity at the end of the alleyway we were walking on, we were pulled off the street and into a home.  The family in the home was not a Safe Passage family, but they thought we would be in danger if we carried on, so took us into their home.  Why does the community respect Safe Passage so much?  One reason is that they see the good we do in the area, and that we have stayed there through thick and thin, while so many non-profits in Guatemala start with a flourish and then end with a whimper.  They appreciate that we open our dental clinics and medical clinics to the entire community when we have groups of visiting medical professionals.  The best builders of good will in the community are the Safe Passage parents.  For example, after attending "Parent's School" over a series of Saturdays, the parents decided the lessons they had learned were so important that they should share them with their neighbors.  They created short skits that demonstrated the major points of each lesson, and performed them in the streets.

I am looking forward to the February issue to see Melissa's story.  It should be out the same time as I finish the U.S.A. portion of the kayaking, which will be be roughly 2,500 miles.

Gratitude List:
  1. Cooling rain
  2. Rainbows
  3. Spoil islands
  4. So many pelicans and ibis
  5. My ever-loving husband, Chris, supporting this leg.
Date: December 30, 2015                                             Restart Paddle Day: 38
Start location: Fort Pierce, FL                                       Launch time: 7:00 am
End location:  Vero Beach                                             Land time: 11:00 am
Average speed: 3.5 mph                                                Max Speed: 5.3 mph
Miles: 13.2
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2187          Motor-portage miles: 404
Kayak Storage:  Fort Pierce KOA
Host: Chris Percival


  1. Hi Deb, your amazing, with great stamina and vision. We are following your daily blog. Polaris is at Loggerhead Marina in Stuart, near the Roosevelt bridge, St Lucie river. You will be making your way In that direction soon. Though we are not there. Happy New Year and Safe Passage! Lorraine & Bernie

  2. Hi Loraine and Bernie. I was very close to Polaris a few days ago when I biked to Jensen Beach! Will you be down anytime soon? Stay tuned to an upcoming blog where my kayak finally gets a name. It's a tribute to Polaris, the children at Safe Passage, and two very young supporters in Virginia. Happy New Year to you all! Deb