OWLS HEAD, ME (WCSH/CNN) – A grandmother in Maine is about to take off on an incredible journey to raise money for poor families in Central America.
"Actually, if you just keep land on your right, land on starboard, you can get all the way to Guatemala from here," said Deb Walters. "We'll see if it works, I have no idea."
Or at least that’s what Walters is banking on. The 63-year-old grandmother is not kayaking 2,500 miles for her health, but for the well-being of others.
"This is something I'm voluntarily doing, as opposed to the families that live in the garbage dump," Walters said.
Nine years ago, Walters paid a visit to a huge garbage dump in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where families searched for scraps to eat and make a living.
"I talked to the mothers, and they said their wish was just that their children would be able to go to school, learn to read and have a better life, and that simple wish just broke my heart," Walters said.
So she started volunteering with Safe Passage, a Maine-based organization that helps the poorest of the poor send their children to school.
"When people see those students going to university, employed in great jobs, it really opens up people's eyes to what is possible," Walters said.
To make that dream a reality for more Guatemalans, she is on a mission to raise money and awareness about Safe Passage.
"I thought that if I, an ordinary grandmother, grandmother sounds better than old lady, were to do something like this it would attract attention and then people would hear about the story," Walters said.
Walters estimates it will take a year for her to kayak from the Gulf of Maine to Guatemala.
She knows it will be tough as she dodges boats and deals with a lack of bathroom facilities, but there is more than will power that is driving her. It’s the knowledge that her effort will educate others that keeps her paddling on.
"That's what I am hoping to be able to do, just by keeping at it a little bit, paddling a little bit each day," Walters said. "What's going to keep me going is the kids in Guatemala."
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