Monday, September 28, 2009
An amazing event
On November 19th, 2007 I set off on an around the world trip. The plan was to visit South East Asia, India, Africa, Europe and South America over a stretch of 10 months. On Saturday, April 25th, 2009 (17 months later) I finally made my way back to San Francisco, CA. Instead of stepping off a plane at San Francisco international Airport I came back on a Raleigh 300 cross country touring bike via Panama City, Panama.
My 17 month around the world experience was a life changing experience. My travelling mantra of "try anything, do everything and challenges are only opportunities" changed the way in which I see the world. Along my travelers I met many different people from all places on this beautiful planet. Before I came home I wanted to do something to give back to these amazing people and to this beautiful world. So...I decided to ride a bike from Panama City, Panama to San Francisco, CA. I did this to raise awareness and funds for children living in poverty in Central America. Specifically, the goal was to raise $15,000 for a school construction project in a small community 3 hours north of Guatemala City. I worked with an amazing organization Plan USA. Combined with Plan USA and supporters from back home in San Francisco we created The Last Hill Before Home. A grassroots all volunteer project aimed to create solutions for children living in poverty in Central America.
I got back to San Francisco on April 25th, 2009. By the time I rolled across the Golden Gate bridge the Last Hill Project had raised $11,000! Not bad especially considering the economic time that we live in today.
To raise the remaining $4,000 we decided to throw one last fundraiser. The Last Hill project decided to turn its attention to a one day special photography exhibit benefit and auction. For the fundraiser, I would gather together 6 other photographers that I met on my trip around the world. Bringing together these photographers was a challenge in and of itself but the hard work paid off. When all the photographers were picked I had a collection of 7 photographers with 7 photographs. Each photograph told a unique story about travel and culture. These photographs became the backbone of the "7 Views" photography exhibit. In addition, we were lucky enough to get 111 Minna Art gallery in downtown San Francisco to host the event. On top of that, San Francisco's local emcee Orukusaki provided an amazing line up of entertainment. from there, the Last Hill's very own Michael Ward presented a poetry reading and another artist Michael Peterson donated an amazing original piece of art. the stage was set for an amazing day.
About 150-200 people from the local San Francisco community rolled out to the event. The photographs were amazing and inspiring, the music was entertaining, the poem was moving, the painting was breath taking and the crowd was supportive. Everyone came together to and talked about giving and helping and in the end the last remaining funds were raised for the school construction project in Jalapa. With the funds the 400+ children of Jalapa, Guatemala will be able to have a clean and safe place to be educated. For the first time there will be enough space to open up high school classes. And maybe, eventually, these kids will be able to attend college.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the event. It was a spectacular time!
Peace, Power and Pedal