Guate V: Chacaya

So THIS is exciting… It’s not often that you get to visit “before” and “after” in the same day.

On Thursday Caroline, Alan and I caught a boat across the lake to visit the village of Chacaya, where the public school has been holding classes in makeshift rooms on rented land for the 135 students who attend there. An organization called Sharing the Dream helped the school buy some land last year, and they are now at work building a new school building on that land.

This is not the boat we came on, but was a beautiful one on the shore that we passed walking up from the lake.

When we visited, they were having classes in those makeshift rooms, and we got to visit the new school under construction as well.

Here is the current school:

And here’s the new one under construction:

It was particularly moving to be there, though, knowing that two recent college grads from Florida were riding across Canada to raise money for this school at the same time that we were walking through it. Eric Keen and Jason Haney are avid cyclists and best friends, and they’re having a big impact on this little village they’ve never visited.

Jason and Eric left on June 18 to cycle all the way across Canada, about 100 miles a day, with the goal of raising $20,000 for this school in a village they’ve never seen. When we visited Chacaya they were on Day 2 of their 40 day trip. As I write this, they are half way to their goal, both literally and figuratively. They’re half way across Canada, and they’ve raised about $10,000. If you want to follow their progress and send them a note of encouragement, check out their blog or their web site. This video they made is a nice introduction to them and their ride, too.

If you want to help them get to their goal, by the way, you can donate (tax deductibly) at the PEG web site. As with all PEG projects, 100% of donations go directly to the project. In this case, though, the guys are taking a pretty big hit personally to do this ride, so if you would like for a part of your donation to help them cover their expenses, send a note with your donation to let me know and I’ll divide it accordingly.

These guys really inspire me. They just graduated from college and they’re spending the summer raising money for a school in a poor village in Guatemala. They know it’s not naive to think they can change the world. They’re doing it.

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