A series of organic events made this first project possible. It all began when Charles and Erik traveled to Guatemala. They felt a calling to help this beautiful, developing country, more specifically a grade school in a small town outside of Jutiapa, Guatemala. The organization was then blessed to find a partner so quickly, Olympia USA, a partner who donated over 300 backpacks. Volunteers and donors helped to raise the necessary funds to fill these backpacks with school supplies and also to cover shipping and other ancillary costs. “It was a beautiful thing to watch, people helping people…people that they didn’t even know”, says co-founder Charles White.
The backpacks and school supplies were shipped from Los Angeles, California to Guatemala City in August, a shipment that took about four weeks. The arrangements were then made to get the items to Jutiapa, which is about two and a half hours outside the city. Erik and Charles along with Erik’s family: Luis Sr. (his cousin), Ricardo and Angel (his nephews) and Susie (his cousin) volunteered to deliver the backpacks. Susie is actually the organization’s representative in Jutiapa, and also a teacher at the grade school.
The volunteers woke up the morning of September 14th in a small hotel in Jutiapa, Guatemala to travel to Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Caserio Villa Hermosa. The drive to the school was not an easy one. The trip only took about an hour, but the school was in a remote location down a rocky, dirt road that at times seemed too difficult for even a car to drive on. A group of young boys were so excited about our arrival that they snuck away from the school to greet us a few hundred yards down the road.
When we arrived at the school, about ten or so students helped unload the trucks. We were then greeted by 300 more cheering students, teachers, parents and locals, many with Eyes Not Forgotten signs. The school had arranged a day of celebration, with various performances from the students. It was an incredible site to see and experience, and it also solidified why ENF began its mission.
The results of the first project were beyond anyone’s expectations. Our vision became a reality and hope turned into action. Eyes Not Forgotten would like to thank our volunteers, donors and our partner, Olympia USA for believing in ENF’s mission. We came together to do good and to make a positive difference in the lives of others. “When you are in alignment with the desires of your heart, things have a way of working out” – Inyanla Vanzant