Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The kid in the flyer!

My last post was about the creation and production of the flyer. I talked about the different ideas that we had and the different roads that we took to get it done. This time I want to talk about the image of the kid. This little guy has become the face of the 7 Views photo auction and benefit for Plan USA.
Above is the original image that I took when I made a visit to a small community near Somoto, Nicargua. And below that is the image of the kid on the flyer that my good buddy Devin put together. Thanks again for all the hard work Devin!
The whole point of the last Hill Before Home was to ride my bike from Panama City, Panama to San Francisco, CA. The entire ride took me 3 months and 7 days to complete. I rode through 8 countries and marked something around 3,500 miles. I wish I knew the exact mileage! I did this to raise awareness and funds for children living in poverty in Central America. My idea was that if I did something inspirational if I did something crazy enough people would pay attention and notice this cause. I teamed up with an organization called Plan USA. The idea of the trip was not only bike from Panama City to San Francisco but to also make special stops along the way. So I made special stops in Nicaragua, El Salvador and eventually Guatemala where the school is going to be built. I took a picture of this kid during one of my visits when visiting a community in Nicaragua.
The day I actually took this picture is a day that I will never forget.
The day started around 6am. The Plan driver picked me up at my hotel and we drove to the Plan office in Somoto, Nicaragua. The office itself was full of plan Staff running around, grabbing some coffee (in Nicaragua they take there coffee black with sugar which I came to love) and looking over their daily assignments. The office was a cool looking home that was converted for commercial use. There were probably around 30 people in their Plan shirts running around. Some staff stays in the office but a lot of the staff was actually headed off to the village's that they help.
I met with Horacio Torres the director of Plan Nicaragua. The day before we all visited a village a few hours from the office and this day we were going to visit another community, this time even further away. I remember being excited to head out to another community and I was excited because I had a chance to go with Horacio...the director..and someone so knowledgeable about the problems and issues and of course the solutions.
So we drove through the hills of Nicaragua over rocky roads and dried river beds. This particular community, because it was so far removed from the town, had even less services, acess to good and because of that was even in a poorer condition than the rest. I think we were something like 30 kilometers from the Honduran border. Plan had been working in this community for some time and because of their work within the community the children had access to a school, bathrooms and a pump for clean water.
Once I got to the community we were greeted by some volunteers and community members. The people in the dusty school room were primarily farmers. There was one teacher and also about 10 or 15 kids. I think all in all there were bout 40 people there. The people of the community were eager to tell Plan about their needs as a community. They also wanted to thank Plan for the help that they have received.
There was one particular moment that hard to take. 3 kids about 9 or 10 years old gave a presentation. They presented two pictures. One picture was of their school as it is now and the next picture was of their school as they wanted it to be. The first picture was dark and dusty looking. The other was full of flowers, had another school on it with a garden and flowers. With all the courage in the room they told the people of the community and they people from Plan that they hoped to get a clean and safe classroom where the snakes couldn't get in. The existing classroom was dangerous, dark and scary they said. I'm sure it took a lot of courage to do that.
Finally, Horacio Torres gave a talk. The idea of the talk was to tell the people of this community that plan was there to help. But Plan wasn't there to give handouts...rather they were there to help these people help themselves. The speech was accepted with nods, smiles and feeling of positivity. It was a great motivational speech and inspiring. The people eventually came up with an action list. The came up with a list of to do's that would help the community to get the clean and safe school with the garden.
During Horacio's talk a small chubby cute little boy with a huge smile walked unknowingly into the meeting. It was in the middle of this serious talk and the kid was laughing and giggling. It gave Horacio an opportunity to tell the people that "this is why we are here...this is why you must work that your children and your future have the opportunities that they deserve." The kid just ran right through the middle of the meeting and eventually found his mom.
Outside I caught up to his mom and nicely asked if I could snap a quick shot. And there you have it...
Peace, Power and Pedal

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