The Rotary Club of Great Bay assisted in Dr. Deb Walter’s kayaking expedition to raise awareness and
funds for Safe Passage a non-profit that enables children in Guatemala to attend school.
GRANDMOTHER KAYAKING FROM MAINE TO GUATEMALA GARBAGE DUMP
Dr. Deb Walters, a 63 year old grandmother from Troy, Maine is paddling her kayak from her home in
Maine to the homes of the children living in and around the huge garbage dump in Guatemala City.
Nine years ago she first visited the garbage dump and met the parents who are supporting their families
by scavenging in the garbage dump. She listened to the mothers voice their desire that their children
could go to school, learn to read and have a better life. Deb says: “That simple wish broke my heart,
and I knew I had to help.” For nine years Deb has volunteered with Safe Passage, a Maine registered
non-profit that enables the children to attend school. Now she is increasing her commitment by making
this year long journey of over 2,500 miles to share the stories of the children and raise money to add
additional grades to the Safe Passage school.
A retired cognitive scientist, Rotarian and university vice president from Troy, Maine, Deb has
previously completed several solo kayak expeditions in the Arctic, Nova Scotia, Maine, Florida and
Mexico, so she has the experience necessary to complete this audacious endeavor. “This is not a
macho, me against the sea challenge”, says Deb, who is paddling cautiously and safely. She is
inspired by the grit and perseverance of the children and the families of the garbage dump, and believes
that ordinary people can do extraordinary things with determination and persistence. Her journey from
Maine to Guatemala is a clear example.
Her kayak, paddling gear, camping gear, clothing, food and technology have been donated by 46
different companies from all across the US and around the world, which Deb has been told is a record
for the number of sponsors for a kayak expedition.
The children of Safe Passage have sent her a little rubber duck, Patito Amistoso, to keep her company
on her journey. Children can follow the adventures of Patito on Deb’s blog.
Along the way Deb is stopping to share the stories of the children at libraries, Rotary Clubs, churches,
outfitters and outdoor clubs. People can follow Deb’s expedition online , seeing the dates for her visits
to towns along the way, and her current position updated every 10 minutes as she paddles the coast.
Deb is asking people to make donations through her website www.KayakForsSfePassageKids.
is paying all of her own expedition expenses, so all donations go directly to Safe Passage and are tax