The first day Christina and I met, she was in the middle of selling everything she owned to raise money to go volunteer at an orphanage in South America. That never happened. Growing up in Peru myself, I also had plans to eventually relocate to a Latin American country.
Fifteen years and five children later, we are back on track.
At this point, most people reading this blog have gotten to know us one way or another. You are a collection of old friends, family, loving neighbors, friendly coworkers, loyal customers of our family-run painting business, or friends of friends. Our readers are our community and our support network.
If you are just getting into reading and have a few blog posts to catch up on, I want to touch on what we are doing, why, and how we want to include you to make this a real grassroots community project, something bigger than just our family.
We started this website and project with a very blurry vision of what we wanted for our family. We knew it was different than the path we were on, and we knew that it involved getting back on the road to South America. But that's about all we knew.
Every day we have been taking steps towards the move, and each night by bedtime, we have faithfully been one step closer!
Now, the vision is becoming a lot more focused, and we are getting pretty excited. Some hard work remains ahead of us to realize our goal, but we'll keep plugging away!
Where we are going.
We have found a new home! The town we are going to is San Marcos, Guatemala.
It is on Lake Atitlan, and we have found a place through the WorkAway program to hang our hats in exchange for some maintenance work on a Hostel. It's called "Hostel del Lago," and sounds like an excellent fit for our family. The family that is running it has two kids about the ages of our two oldest. They have integrated a world school with about 25 other kids involved. The room we will be living in as a family consists of one large bedroom, and we will be doing all our cooking in a communal kitchen. (Those that know us will understand that this is a fascinating change for us as we LOVE making and sharing food.)
What we will do there.
The most significant focus of the giving experiment is... you guessed it, to give. At this point in our lives, the best thing we have to offer is our time.
As parents, we want to give more time to our children.
As a couple, we want to provide more time to one another.
As a family, we want to give our time to volunteering and helping others in need.
All of these things can be accomplished simultaneously. We are looking forward to getting through the tasks at hand to achieve them.
While we are not sure precisely what to expect when we arrive, we look forward to learning about the areas where we can best be of service.
In whatever we do, we will look to include and benefit the local economy and society.
How we are getting there.
In my last blog post (read it here), I ended off with the challenge of asking for help and helping somebody. I want to dive into how you can support our family actually get on that plane and indeed be part of this adventure with us! Over the last few months, we have worked extremely hard to set up multiple trickling income streams to support our journey. They now need your awareness and involvement to succeed.
Please consider supporting our goal by engaging in one (or more) of the following things.
A) Visiting the website daily and sharing posts: See the little ads on the very bottom and top of your screen? (I know, they are kind of ugly, we're working on that.)
Each website visitor we get is worth about a penny! Over time and as interest grows in our adventure, this will provide a small but reliable income. Checking in and browsing the site not only supports us in a small way financially but also helps us remember that what we are doing is meaningful to our peers. We invite you all to live this adventure vicariously through us. We will update the site regularly to keep you informed on what we are doing.
B) Using our online art shop for craft supplies, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts. (Link here) We have set up the store to place orders to ship to your home directly from the manufacturers. It is a drop-shipping model; we do not personally stock any of the items. Eventually, we'll expand to offering local merchandise from Guatemala to support our community's artisans. But for now, until we get there, we're focusing on selling art supplies and gifts.
C) Purchasing Melaleuca products. If you are interested in supporting us, you could sign up with Christina to switch over stuff like your detergents, toothpaste, and cleaning solution purchases monthly through a membership. Melaleuca is a wellness company that offers quality green products at fair-value. You can put your account on hold at any time and can receive further discounts by referring others. When you sign up, we will receive a commission for your monthly purchases to help us pay our bills while in Guatemala. To contact Christina, please call 250-512-7517. She will be thrilled to hear from you!
D) Simply Donate. At the bottom of each page on our website is a footer with a "Click here to give" link. If you love what we are doing and want to be involved, we certainly could use help to make it happen. Thank you in advance for your generosity. Giving directly to thegivingexperiment.com makes the experiment so much bigger than just our family.
E) Sign up for our monthly gift package: When we arrive in Guatemala, we will be setting up a link on the site for a membership to receive a monthly gift. The gifts will range from tapestries and jewelry to hand-made kids' toys, depending on your chosen demographics. The idea behind the membership will be to source great gifts for subscribers to keep on hand for birthdays and Christmas while supporting our family and local artists from the area. More news on this in the coming posts!
That's all for now.
Please don't be shy to engage and comment; we appreciate it!
Much love and many thanks to all that have shown support in a multitude of ways,
The Dargatz Family.