Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 8: And we're Done!

We got up and on the bikes early to avoid the heat of the day. The plan: head out of Monterico for 17.5 km towards La Puerto San Jose...return...for a total of 35km to complete our overall goal of 300 km. That is what we did...but knowing the end was in sight, we stopped more frequently than usual to 'smell the roses' and witness the sights and sounds of early morning in coastal Guatemala. We chatted with a lovely young shop-tender, visited the open air butcher shop, walked into fields of huge gourds that are turned into loofa sponges, visited with a grandmother sitting with her 9 month old granddaughter and waded through a sea of cows being driven down the road. (See pictures on old guys in action Facebook page). 

And then, after posing for picture by the Atlantic Ocean, we were done. After breakfast we said goodbye to our driver, Milton and to the gracious and talented Jorge Sandoval, CAUSE Canada's Guatemala Country Director...and spent the rest of the day with CAUSE Canada Founder (Paul Carrick) and Executive Director (Bev Carrick). We have so much respect for them and their work among the poor and disadvantaged in a number of countries...including Guatemala, where they have had a major influence for over 35 years. We heard many incredible stories about their work, but one hit close to home for our driver in particular. Bev and Paul's first project in Guatemala some 35 years ago was to drill a well to provide clean water to a village on the outskirts of Guatemala City were the population, babies in particular, were getting sick and even dying because of the dirty water being used. Our diver, Milton, grew up in that very village and knows the sight of the well...including the plaque at the well giving credit to the 
Canadians who installed the well. Milton is 35 years old and may have died without that project. 

Our ride was to support another great initiative, one focused on mothers and their babies in the highlands of Guatemala. We have no doubts whatever that this project, like the water project of 35 years ago, will save the lives of many babies like Milton in the years to come. . 

Thanks so much for your support! (And there is still time to give). We'll have a few more retrospective post about the trip in coming days. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 7: Lo Que No Mata En Gorda (what doesn't kill you makes you fat)

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:

The local expression is a bit like the English "What doesn't kill you makes you better". That's a bit how we felt after riding the 100 km from Antigua to Monterico today. The first km or two was the same teeth shaking cobblestone from yesterday...but then we dropped 3500 feet over 35 km on smooth, paved road. It was a total hoot to draft each other, slingshotting faster and faster, passing trucks and motorcycles along the way. 

But while the final 1500 foot drop from Esquintla to the coastal town of Monterico helped us in accomplishing the task, the temperature rose steadily through the day to a high of over 35 degrees. It was hot...but we made it! And there was a very cool surprise to meet us at the end of the road. We loaded the truck with the bikes, then Jorje drove the pickup onto a ramp and onto a wooden ferry powered by a 25 HP outboard engine. We took off down the estuary on a 9 km trip through the mangroves to a landing site where we rode the bikes down the gang plank and onto the Tarmac to our hotel for the night, a very tough day...but another great one.

So...were done, right? Not quite. Adding up all the legs, we are still short 35 km of our 300 km goal. So the plan is to get on the bikes at 6:30 and finish it off. More tomorrow!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 6: Death and Life

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:

We woke up in Panajachel to news of a major mud slide in Guatemala City...25 dead and hundreds missing. We had seen evidence of mud and rock slides all though our travels here, so the news was not entirely surprising...but it was entirely sad. Through the day we saw response from local communities in the form of collection of food, clothing and other necessities to help the victims.

Ann and Bev joined us in Panajachel after a brief trip to the mountain area of Comitancillo. While there assessing the maternal newborn child health requirements they were called to the home of a very poor family with nine children that were reported to be severely malnourished. Just before they arrive the youngest of the children died. Much of their time there was spent consoling the family. The incident underlined the need for the very program CAUSE Canada will be implementing.

Panajachel is a beautiful and colourful town on the edge of lake Atitlan surrounded by steep hills and volcanos. Strolling through the colourful marketplace we were greeted by a parade of dancers and musicians dressed in masks and wild costumes. Their dance was a traditional parody of the historical interactions between indigenous peoples and the Spanish conquistadors. Check out our Facebook page to get sense of this fascinating event.

It was a short day of cycling. We drove to a spot just 15 km from Antigua and sped along a busy, mainly downhill, pothole-paved road towards the old city. En route, traffic was being diverted from the main street of a outlying village. While cars were turned away, they removed the barriers for us cyclists. A few blocks on we ran into the cause of the detour. A marching band competition was in progress and we were literally in the midst of it as we carefully walked our bikes through the crowds and performers in six separate bands. We even joined the parade one point, dancing in step to the music. Our efforts were rewarded with wild applause from the spectators. 

A few kilometres on we rolled onto the beautiful cobblestone roads of Antigua...beautiful to the eye...but very tough on cyclists with no suspension. Tomorrow will be a much tougher day on the bikes.
Day 5. Pills, thrills, near spills and never-ending hills

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:


The route: drive from Huehuetenango to Chiantla; cycle through Aquacaten, Sacapulas to near top of never-ending hill; drive to Panajachel. Total cycling: 62 Km over 6 hours.

The Pills: One of our group developed some rather dramatic stomach problems halfway through Day 4 and had a very rough afternoon and evening of high fever and frequent visits to the bano. Fortunately, with a little help for Loparamide and Azithromicin pills all systems were "go" (well, stopped actually) by the next morning. 

The Thrills: The cycle day started out with a 10 KM, 3100 ft descent along a spectacular wooded canyon. Adrenalin: High. Effort: Low. Cycle speed: Excessive.

The Near Spills. 100% correlated to the aforementioned excessive speed, one of our group (not to be specifically named...but someone who has a lot of experience with motorcycle racing) came too "hot" into one hairpin corner that led onto to a narrow bridge. To avoid going off the bridge breaks were forcefully applied. The bike swerved, front and rear tires skidded, but fortunately the bike stayed upright and enough sped was "scrubbed" that bike and rider were not pitched into the raging river below. Unfortunately, at the same moment a pickup truck was just coming onto the bridge as well...from the other direction. The rider narrowly missed having "Toyota" permanently imprinted in his forehead. Five or six km down the road, to show he had learned from this experience, the same rider  skidded through a very similar hairpin corner but excluded the drama related to the oncoming truck.

The Never-ending Hills. We got a hot tip from our waitress at lunch in Sapacula. "Don't go straight. Go left at the corner. You just have to climb one hill, then it is all downhill for the next 40 km to your destination". The thought of some easy downhills and getting to Panajachel early was too tempting to resist. But for the next 2 hours and 18 km, we wondered if we hadn't tipped her enough and if this was the server's revenge. In the hot afternoon sun, struggling to move in our lowest "granny" gear, we sweated, strained and prayed that each 'next corner' would reveal the top of the pass. It never did. With the threat of having to drive in the dark to Panajachel we were forced to pack it in. And just as well we did. The end of the hill was still another 5 tough kilometres down the road. 

Along the way we stopped at a local school where Bernie joined in on an outside basketball game and Aroz played hand slap games with the kids. Another wonderful, memorable day in a stunningly beautiful country!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 4. What goes up must go down (thankfully)

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:

Yesterday was magnificent but a really tough workout we decided today should be a lot less demanding to give our bodies a bit of a break. The route: say goodbye to our friends in Todos Santos, drive back to the Alto Plano, cycle down to Chiantla and drive over to Huehuetenango. The dirt road route off the Alto Plano went for 20 km...and dropped 5000 feet! Paul Carrick, Founder of CAUSE Canada joined Old Guys Andrew, Bernie and Ross (known as Andreas, Bernardo and Aros [Spanish for rice...they aren't familiar with the name Ross and get a kick out of calling me "Rice"] on today's ride. Paul is a very fast mountain biker and left the rest of us in the (thankfully) dry dust on a consistent basis. Scenery was spectacular! Locals extremely friendly and the cycling tremendous.

Check out the Old Guys in Action Facebook page for amazing shots from today's ride.


Day 3. The doorway to Heaven

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:

The main purpose of this Ride for Mothers and Babies is to raise awareness and support for a program CAUSE Canada is implementing to address unacceptably high levels of maternal and newborn child mortality in Guatemala and Honduras. We were therefore very keen to get a feel for the issues and CAUSE Canada's approach to addressing them. 

En route to today's ride start point we visited one of the over 40 maternal newborn child health clinics in Guatemala that will play a big part in the CAUSE Canada program. In this region there are six primary clinics. Each primary clinic has 7-12 smaller satellite clinics. The system has challenges. Challenge 1: There is only one auxiliary nurse and one assistant per region. At best there is only one visit per satellite clinic per month. Challenge 2: Even the primary clinics are under equipped. The only visible equipment in the primary clinic we saw today was a single scale for weighing babies...and a few chairs. Challenge 3: The government provides an enriched powder supplement for mothers attending the clinics...but there is not enough to go around. Challenge 4: To be entitled to a supplement ration, the child has to be demonstrably malnourished. But by the time the child is malnourished however, significant permanent developmental issues have already impacted the child. While the health promoters we saw in action today were clearly dedicated and doing what the could with what they had, they in fact need more equipment, more, better trained staff, more supplement supply and need to address maternal child health before the child is at risk. These are key elements of the CAUSE model that will be implemented with Canadian government and your support.

Why the malnourishment? The reasons outlined by Bev Carrick as we traveled in the truck together: it is a very poor region that is cold, remote and has inadequate supplies of fresh water. Babies die of hypothermia, dehydration, low caloric-low nutrition diets (the only crop that can grow in this area is potatoes). And they die from birthing complications because they are diagnosed too late, don't have money (or enough time) to travel to major cities when complications arise. If my own twins were born in this wife and both kids would not have survived. There is much that can and will be done through the CAUSE Canada program and It is a privilege to partner with them..

Speaking of privileges: today's route was a spectacular trail that starts at a place called La Puerto de Cielo (gateway to heaven). The dirt trail begins at 12,000 feet and drops to 7000 feet before rising and returning to Todos Santos at 8,000 feet. The difficult 40 km route is surrounded by cloud-shrouded mountains, comprised of steep technical downhills and steep technical uphill segments. This must be one of the most beautiful mountain bike trails on the planet. The fact that we were drenched by pouring rain for half the distance did only a little to dampen the appreciation for this wonderful masterpiece of nature. Checkout the pictures posted to the Old Guys in Action Facebook page for stunning images of the scenery, the region's gracious inhabitants, and us soggy passers by. 

What's Next? The team splits up for a few days. The cyclists make their way back to 'Hue Hue'...and from there to Panajachel, Antigua and the Pacific coasts. Bev Carrick and Ann Potvin move on the Comitancillo region, another focal area of the maternal newborn child health project. You'll be hearing from both groups in the coming days.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 2. Up, Up…and Away!

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:
We woke at 6 AM to rain pounding our hotel courtyard. After coffee and huevos rancheros we were off. The next 8 Km was a twisty-turny climb of 8,000 feet to the top of the Alto Plano. A running race is held here every year called the Routa des Conquistadores. It's hard to imagine running a race with that kind of elevation gain over such a short distance. The van was in first gear for much of the way!

For the first few kilometres we were under the clouds, pummelled by rain. Following which we were in the clouds, pummelled by rain. Then, miraculously, we were above the clouds and the skies cleared...just before we reached the "mirador," the lookout where the real ride was to begin.

We hurried to get the bikes and ourselves ready and to snap a few start-line pictures. Bundled against the cold mountain air and ready for rain should it reappear, we rushed to get underway... and...within 200 meters...we a panty sweat. The road was steep. We were in our granny gears. We were gasping for breath in the thin, 9,000 foot air. A humbling start.

Slightly wiser, we continued up at a slower pace...and within 10 or 15 Km we started the longest, steepest downhill run I have ever experienced in decades of cycling. Concrete roads, little traffic, hairpin turns through some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. As much as I love going fast, I slowed down and even stopped from time to time. It was fantastic. It was so wonderful, I didn't want it to end.

But it did. In the legendary town of Todos Santos. I could go on and on...but suffice it to say, it is a very cool place. Todos Santos has been the focus of CAUSE Canada's efforts in Guatemala for over three decades through civil war, earthquakes, mud slides and more normal times for the primarily Mam indigenous population. Primary health care, sanitation, reforestation, women's empowerment, micro-enterprise. For the rest of the day, we met with CAUSE staff and beneficiaries. Women whose life's have forever been changed by literacy and numeracy programs, business training and small loans to start and grow small businesses. Next time you buy a Marble Slab ice cream treat think of these colourful people, small of stature and large of smile. One of the principal investors in Marble Slab provided the hundreds of thousands of dollars CAUSE Canada uses to finance its micro credit programs.

We've struggled with bad internet service to update our blog and post some pictures. Sorry for the delay. But check out the Old Guys in Action Facebook Page for some great pictures of this region which is where CAUSE Canada will roll out its major, multi-year, multi-million dollar maternal newborn child health program. For me, it's off to bed. I'm cooling off after a wonderful sweat in the charcoal fired rooftop sauna hut. Tomorrow is another big day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's a long way to "Way Way"

Lots of pictures can be found on our Facebook page:

It’s a long way to Huehuetenango (pronounced “way way ten ango” or “Way Way” for short. To be more specific: 4.5 hours Calgary to Houston; 3 hours from Houston to Guatemala City; one hour GC to AntiguaGuatemala (the old capital) where we over-nighted; then 7 hours on twisty, rain drenched mountain roads, bikes on the roof of our van, to Hue-Hue. What a spectacular country. Antigua with its “earthquake-enhanced” Spanish architecture…surrounded by high volcanos and blanketed in cobble stone roads. Hue Hue with bustling traffic, mayan ruins and our hotel for the night.
Our team on the Old Guys in Action Ride Across Guatemala for Mothers and Babies: Dr. Paul Carrick, Founder CAUSE Canada, Bev Carrick CAUSE Canada Executive Director, Jon Carrick, their son and a double masters graduate who is taking on responsibility for CAUSE Canada’s micro-credit programs in Guatemala, Honduras and Sierra Leone… and the Old Guys, Bernie and Ann Potvin and Ross Weaver from Calgary, and Andrew Lawson from Edmonton. Hue Hue is our last stop before the final push of 2 hours by vehicle to the top of the Alto Plano…were we will take our bikes off the van and start riding.
Thank you all for your support. We are already over ¾ of the way to our $40,000 goal to raise funds for CAUSE Canada’s maternal newborn child health programs in the remote highlands region of the Cuchematanes mountains surrounding the Alto Plano. In addition to the pictures here, we are posting (internet permitting) lots of amazing pictures on the Old Guys in Action Facebook page. Come along with us on this amazing journey.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Guatemala countdown

10 sleeps to departure day. Still have so much to do. Need bike boxes, waterproof gloves, oh, and cash for the CAUSE. ��
Donate at 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Guatemala October 2015

Coming October 2015!
Old Guys in Action Ride across Guatemala for Mothers and Babies

The Need:
33% of indigenous women in the mountainous highlands of Guatemala have no access to formal prenatal/postnatal care. 
Maternal mortality is twice the national average; twice the UN Millennium Development Goal target for 2015. 
Malnutrition for kids under 5 is the 6th highest in the world.
Cultural & language barriers contribute to poor utilization of government health clinics. Clinics that do exist in these remote areas are crumbling, under-staffed and poorly equipped.

The Response:
CAUSE Canada, with over 30 years of experience in Guatemala, has been entrusted by the Canadian Government to manage a $4.4 million, 4½ year program that will directly benefit 68,000 mothers and babies and indirectly benefit another 160,000 men, women and children. The program will:
·         Renovate, equip and staff 57 Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) centres by 2020.
·         Institute health training programs through local women’s MNCH committees.
·         Provide pre- and post-natal counselling.
Our/Your Part:
CAUSE Canada must raise $675,000 as part of this Canadian Government grant program and has asked for help from Old Guys in Action to raise $40,000 of that total through their Ride Across Guatemala for Mothers and Babies. Here’s the plan:

·         This October four Old Guys (Bernie, Ross, Andrew and Jeff) will cycle 300 km through the mountains of Guatemala, climbing over 30,000 feet (equivalent to scaling Mt. Everest) at altitudes as high as 12,000 feet.
·         The ride will raise awareness and funds towards CAUSE Canada’s MNCH program   obligation.
·         Old Guys will pay 100% of their own costs, so all funds raised will go to CAUSE Canada.
·         Donations are matched 6.5 times by the Canadian Government and are fully tax deductible.

Please help Old Guys in Action and CAUSE Canada make a difference. 

Give now to CAUSE Canada!

See below for how to donate:

Go online now to CAUSE Canada at

When you go to this site, you will see a form at the bottom of the page that looks like this example below:

You can also give cash, or a cheque payable to CAUSE Canada, to one of the Old Guys. Or mail a cheque to: 
CAUSE CanadaPO Box 8100, Canmore, Alberta T1W 2T8.

Don’t forget to reference Old Guys Guatemala on the cheque.

Friday, January 9, 2015

It Was Cool to be Cold!

It was another dilly of a dip! On New Year’s Day 2015…77 Dipsters and Distance Dipsters got cold and wet in the 6th Annual Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip.
  • Costumes: Bombastic!
  • Smiles: Fantastic!
  • Jumps: Gymnastic!
Check out the event video, the Icebreaker Facebook Page and "Gallery” at  for great videos and pictures of this amazing event.

Best of all, generous people helped us exceed our $75,000 fundraising target for the great work of the SA Foundation. (Visit the “About SA Foundation” tab to learn more about this amazing organization).

Thank you to all sponsors, donors, volunteers, dipsters and distance dipsters that made this event such a success! See you January 1, 2016!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2015 Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip

On January 1, 2015 Do the Dip! for the SA (Servants Anonymous) Foundation and their fight to stop human trafficking and provide recovery program's for survivors of sexual exploitation around the world. The 6th annual Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip is guaranteed to be the most fun you will ever have in a frozen pond on New Year's Day!

Do the Dip! Do a Distance Dip! Sponsor! Donate! Spread the Word! Come and Watch!
This year we're moving to Elbow Valley, just 7 minutes west of our site last year.
Visit for more information.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ken YA! 2014

 Four Really Good Reasons to Train Hard and Run FFFAAASSSTTT!!!


Three of the Old Guys will be travelling to Kenya in June to do trial runs and planning for the June 2015 900 Km Cross-Kenya relay run in support of Mully Children's Family. 
We can hardly wait! When we get back we'll pass on lots of information on the 2015 check back here this summer and book time to join us June 2015! Questions? Contact 

Friday, January 10, 2014

What a Dilly of a Dip! Thank YOU!


Few have dipped more times than Ron and none more dapperedly (except 'Breaker the Bear perhaps!) 


52 Dipsters on New Year’s Day
2 Double Dipsters
10 Distance Dipsters in the UK
2 Delayed Dipsters (Jumped Jan 11)
Many, many Wish They’d Dippedsters!

And generous people donated $75,000 for the wonderful work of the SA Foundation. THANK YOU!!!
The wonderful people at the SA Foundation are on the front line tackling horrendous issues associated with human trafficking in the global sex trade.
  • 15,000 women per year sold from villages in Nepal to brothels in India
  • Girls purchased from orphanages in Budapest and sold to markets around the world
  • Here in Canada the average age of recruitment into the sex trade is 13
The SA Foundation provides a home and recovery services to exploited women and their children in Vancouver, Budapest and Nepal and has been instrumental in establishing their programs in four other locations in North America.
Check out the Polar Dip and About SAFoundation tabs for details. And visit our new sister website: for everything you wanted to know about jumping into freezing water in Canada in January!


Monday, November 11, 2013

What's New?
  • A new website:
  • A new look and logo
  • A Distance Dip option: You don't have to be in Calgary or anywhere cold to participate!
  • The nice people at the Discovery Ridge Community Association have asked us to join them for a skate party at their new rink right after the Dip. Bring the family!
  • The nice people at Javino have invited us to warm up and fuel up any time after the Dip.
What's the Same?
  • Same date and place [Jan 1, 2014 1PM...Discovery Ridge Pond]
  • Our new mascot 'Breaker the Bear will be on hand to wow the crowd
  • It's still cold! [But the people are warm and friendly]
  • Same great reason to support the tremendous work of the SA (Servants Anonymous Foundation)
Follow us on Twitter (@Icebreak); Like us on Facebook (Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome to and!
Old Guys in Action was very proud to present the 4th Annual Calgary Polar Bear Plunge January 1, 2013. Plunge donors generously gave over $40,000 in support of our target charity, a wonderful organization, the Servants Anonymous Foundation and their work with victims of human trafficking. You can still give online at Please indicate "2013 Polar Bear Plunge" in the comments area.
  • Check out the Polar Bear Plunge tab for more information, videos and pictures related to the plunge.
  • Check out the About SA Foundation tab for more information on the Servants Anonymous foundation.
  • Continue reading the Blog Entries (below) for stories related to the work of the SA Foundation in Canada, Hungary and Nepal...and stories from previous Old Guys in Action events.
  • Finally, explore other tabs on this site to find out more About Old Guys in Action, our other events and the other organizations we support.
Thanks for visiting and come back again soon!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Reason we're Freezin': A True Story from Canada Plunge or Pledge to Make a Difference

She was a beautiful First Nations woman but she didn’t realize that yet. When I first met Sherry (name changed) she was angry, broken and insecure. This was her second time in our recovery program. I wondered if she could stick it out.

You see, SA Foundation’s recovery program is not for the faint of heart. For someone with an addiction and used to living on the streets, our rules are tough! Curfews, dress code, no contact with former street friends and the hardest one of all...hours that run 9 AM to 5 PM! For those used to waking up in the afternoon and going to bed early in the morning this is a huge adjustment. Not only that but you are forced to look at your past, deal with your abuse and exploitation, forgive those who have hurt you. Who would want to do that?

I’ll tell you who. It’s women like Sherry who have hit rock bottom and are afraid for their lives! Afraid the next trick will be their last! Afraid they will be tomorrow's news. They come with nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Sherry stayed with me for one year in the frontline house. She was a blast to live with! Funny, witty, strong and yes so beautiful! I watched her blossom in that year. Together, we celebrated her first New Year's clean and sober.

This past year I celebrated 11 years clean and sober with Sherry! I’ve also had the privilege of watching her become a dedicated wife, a loving mother and a strong, compassionate...and very opinionated leader in the First Nations community! Sherry is a real role model for other Native youth and women in our program. It is women like Sherry that testify, “the SA programs works!”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Reason we're Freezin': A True Story from Hungary Plunge or Pledge to Make a Difference

Ilona was 16 years old when I first met her on stroll. Skinny, unkept and nervous, smoking a cigarette. Dark over-exaggerated make up covered her scared young eyes. 
Budapest at Night
Illona is just one of thousands of girls I’ve seen on the streets here in Budapest who was tricked into believing there was legitimate work waiting for her. Orphaned and living in poverty in Maldova she was an easy target for the pimps. Once across the borders, her documents were taken, she was beaten, starved and raped into accepting her new fate. If she ran, they told her, they’d just go and get her young sister. That was all it took.

 After a year on stroll, she still believed that someday she’d earn enough to buy her freedom and take care of her family. I knew better. The pimps would over-work her young body, making as much money off of her while they could.

Soon, her addiction would be out of control and her body too tired to work. Then, she’ll be thrown away and replaced by the next victim. This is the vicious cycle. I’ve seen it over and over again.  
The Hungarian team has reported that they do not know of ANY recovery programs for sexually exploited women in Hungary despite a large number of Hungarian women being exploited in and outside the country. This spring the SA Foundation Hungarian team will open the FIRST and ONLY long term recovery program for survivors of sexual exploitation and their children! As it is too dangerous to try and rescue women locally their focus will be to rescue and repatriate women being exploited in other European countries.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Reason we're Freezin': Nepal Part 2 (true story) Plunge or Pledge to Make a Difference!

Sumi couldn’t move. Her whole body felt numb. If she could just get up she would go home and tell her mom she was sorry for disobeying her and going to the movie theatre. But she couldn’t. As her eyes adjusted to the dark she saw several other Nepali girls, all in various stages of consciousness. In the corner a man and a woman were arguing. Then the man took a large stack of money and left.

Each one of the girls was taken roughly to a small closet and thrown in. What happened next and what would happen for the next 10 years for Sumi is indescribable. Imagine the most humiliating, violent, invasive torture that no woman or child should ever know about, never the less endure.

The rest of the story though is nothing short of a miracle. For 10 years Sumi and her mother prayed. Prayed for freedom. Then one day, Sumi jumped out of a five-storey window and ran for her life. She found a construction job in India to earn the $25 needed for a bus ticket home.

Upon returning to Nepal Sumi found her family had moved from their home! She was crushed! However, thanks to the kindness of her former landlord, she was able to track them down.

You can imagine the shock and joy of her poor mother when she saw her daughter walk back into the compound after a ten year absence! Of course, she could hardly recognize her daughter. The one she remembers was a bright eyed mischievous 14 year old. The one standing before her was extremely malnourished; her hair thin and dry, cigarette burns marked her arms and her eyes old and tired.
But they would deal with that later her mother thought.

For now she has her daughter back and they would celebrate today!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Reason we're Freezin': Nepal Part 1 (a true story) Plunge or Pledge: Help women like Sumi! Please.

It was Sumi’s first time inside a real movie theatre! She was so excited despite a bit of guilt she felt for disobeying her mom to come here. Her mom just doesn’t understand she thought. All Sumi does all day is work hard cleaning other people’s messy homes and washing their dirty laundry. Then she gives every rupee she earns to her mom. This month she just withheld 50 Rs. (less than a dollar) so she could go and see the new Bollywood movie that everyone has been talking about.

The movie was starting. Sumi couldn’t wait to see Shahrukh Khan (the Indian version of Brad Pitt) on the big screen. Her friend handed her a pop and bag of popcorn. Sumi sat back and began to relax, enjoying a rare opportunity just to be a fourteen year old girl.
Photo: National Geographic
She didn’t know how long she’d been sleeping! Where was she? It took her a moment to remember where she was last. Did she actually fall asleep during her first movie? How could that have happened?
Her eyes adjusted to the dim light. Her friend was sitting across from her. There were two other men in the room that she’d never met before. “Where am I?” she asked her friend. “You fell asleep in the movie she said and afterwards we came to my friend’s house. Here, have a bite to eat and we’ll take you home.” Sumi protested. “What time is it? My mom will be worried sick! I have to get home. Please take me home!” “Oh sure, we will!” her friend smiled, “just have a little something to eat.”

The second time Sumi woke up her friend was gone. Her head throbbed and her body felt numb. Where was she? And why she couldn’t understand the language. If she could just clear the fog in her head and stand up she could go home but she couldn’t move.

Her friend had sold Sumi to a brothel in India.

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The work of Servants Anonymous Foundation is BLACK and WHITE.

The subject matter is as BLACK as can be imagined. No, actually I can't imagine the life the young woman describes in the true story below. How can anyone, let alone close family, betray a trust in such a hideous way? And the "strangers"...

But it is WHITE. Because SAF cares for young women like this. Gives them real love. Gives them hope and new life.
Be part of the WHITE side of this story. Visit our Polar Bear Plunge tab. Make a difference. Please.
At 13 my aunt told my parents she had found a good job for me in the city. Instead, she sold me to a brothel where I was told I had to satisfy the dirty and violent perversions of strangers until I earned enough money to buy my freedom...I was starved, tortured and gang raped.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jan 1, 2013 Polar Bear Plunge: Freezin' for a Reason!!!

It's official! The 2013 Polar Bear Plunge is ON!!!

We are very proud to be supporting Servants Anonymous Foundation's projects in Nepal, Hungary and Vancouver. The Nepal project tackles the horrendous reality that 10-15,000 young women per year are smuggled out of Nepal and sold into the sex brothels in India. SAF's Nepal Project is making an impact through village education and border monitoring. SAF cares for survivors of sexual exploitation in Nepal, Hungary and Vancouver, helping them to regain a life that has been so tragically marred.
Join us in supporting this Servants Anonymous Foundation. Check out the Polar Bear Plunges tab for more details.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

GO! Total Stranger, GO!

Way to go TEAM! All 16 Old Guys in Action runners successfully completed their races on May 27…and more importantly, helped in raising $16,000 (so far) for Mully Children’s Family. Thank you to donors who gave so generously to make a difference in the lives of former orphans and abandoned street kids in Kenya.

Amber, Kaelynn, Ryan and Liam: Well done! These kids put in the big KMs in the weeks leading to the Kid’s marathon, running the final KM on race day. What a great way to show you care for kids half way around the world in Kenya!
5 KM runners Ann, Gabe, Claire and Sophia; and 10 KM runners Sarah, Taegan, Jason and Dave: Thank you for your support and congratulations on races well run!
Marathoners on the team ranged from ultra-marathon veteran Nicki Rehn, to first-time marathoner Jon Kennard, to old and original Old Guys Bernie and Ross. Thank you all! Way to go!
Every runner has a story at the end of a race, especially a marathon. Our stories include cramps…lactic laced legs…chocolate gel packs leaking from running shorts (traumatizing nearby runners)...mantras of “it’s only pain, it’s only pain”…finding inspiration wherever it can be found to put one foot in front of the other, yet again.
I took inspiration from a sign I saw heading out at the beginning of the marathon…and again on the home stretch over 4 hours later. It read “Go! Total Stranger, Go!” The lady holding the sign was boisterously encouraging the runners over that whole period, as were hundreds of other cowbell ringing, noise-maker slapping, bubuzela blowing  supporters. They really did lift our spirits and helped us through the marathon mind-fog to keep going.
Just like the fans that lined the marathon route, all of us Old Guys runners and donors are fans of you, Charles and Esther Mully…and all 6000 of your kids! We love you! We think you have an amazing story. Each of you have overcome obstacles and have a wonderful bright future. We hope you are encouraged by our efforts in this race. “GO! Mully Family, GO!”

Monday, May 21, 2012

According to the Lycklamas “Everyone Should Have a Family”

Kaelynn, Amber and Ryan with parents Trina and Jason
The Lycklamas are an athletic family. Cycling, hiking, mountain climbing, hockey…and running! And the whole family are now officially Old Guys, supporting Mully Children’s Family in this weekend’s races.

Dad (Jason, AKA "the Machine") is running the 10K. Mom (Trina, a runner herself) will supervise Kaelynn (10), Ryan (7) and Amber (5) in running the Kids’ Marathon. The kids committed to running 41.2K in stages. They will run the final 1K along with the elite marathon runners on race day.

As a family, they’ve done an amazing job in fundraising for Mully Children's Family, home for thousands of former orphaned street kids. Thank you!

Why fundraise? Why run? According to the Lycklama kids, “Everyone should have a family and we should help those who don't have one to get into one."

Well put. Well done Lycklamas!