Maine woman Preparing to Kayak from Maine to Guatemala

OWLS HEAD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Deb Walters has made several journeys in her kayak that have tested her physically and mentally, but none will take as long, or take her as far, as the one she is set to embark on.

"When I tell people that I am going to kayak from Maine to Guatemala, they say you must be completely nuts!" she exclaimed.

Walters will be leaving from Portland's East End Beach on the afternoon of July 13th and hopes to travel the 2500 miles to Guatemala over the course of the next year.

"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," said the 63 year old grandmother.

"This is something I'm voluntarily doing, as opposed to the families that live in the garbage dump," she explained.

Walters first visited Guatemala about a decade ago, and was instantly struck by the poverty and the spirit of the people who make their home and living in the Guatemala City dump.

"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," stated Walters.

She began volunteering for the Maine-based, non-profit organization Safe Passage which helps the poorest of the poor and enables their children to go 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," she explained.

Now, she is hoping to raise donations and awareness for Safe Passage by kayaking down the East Coast, and on to Central America, alone. She says it will be an adventure full of hardships, but her problems will pale in comparison to the people she hopes to help.

"I'm going to miss my grandchildren. I'm going to miss my husband. I'm going to miss my friends, but I am going to meet new people along the way," said Walters. "What's going to keep me going is the kids in Guatemala."

You can find more information about Deb Walters' journey, make a donation to Safe Passage and/or follow along as she makes her way by visiting her website.


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