A good friend of mine, Bob Thorp, does something that very few people, I think, honestly have the drive to do.
Bob can come across as a pretty gruff guy. Bob’s a big guy. He’s got a big gray goatee. He rides a Harley. A really loud one. If you didn’t know Bob, at first glance, you might think he’s the kind of guy you might not want to know. He can be kinda’ scary. He scared me the first time I saw him. But Bob’s got a heart the size of Texas. I know this to be true. I know Bob, and I’ve been to Texas. I consider myself qualified to make the comparison.
The most impressive thing about him, though, is that his desire to help others is overshadowed only by his will to actually do it. He walks the walk, so-to-speak.
Now, every year, Bob and his wife Angel travel from San Diego, California to Peru. I don’t even know where they go in Peru. It’s one of those towns that, simply stated, is too small to get on any map. They go on a mission to build schools, orphanages, and probably a lot of other things that we in the States take for granted, for the poor people who live in these little “never-find-‘em-on-a-map” villages. They live in tents set up on raised platforms to avoid the jungle wildlife, they battle exotic bugs, and essentially deal with a lot of hardship while they’re doing their good work.
About three months ago, Bob asked me if I wanted to accompany them this year to document, photographically, the work that they’re doing. Sure, they have pictures from previous trips, but they’ve never had someone there who’s dedicated to documenting not only the work they’re doing, but also the relationships and friendships they’ve made there. I told Bob I would love to go but, frankly, three months would be a pretty short amount of time to raise the approximately $4,000.00 it would take to make the trip. You see, the people paying for the trips to Peru are the people who are actually going to Peru. They hold fundraisers throughout the year, and also rely on the generous donations of others. There is no wealthy benefactor financing their trips. If they can’t raise the money they need to go, they don’t go. It’s as simple as that.
Bob and Angel left San Diego today, and will return on July 14. I won’t be accompanying them because, as I suspected, three months just isn’t enough time to find $4,000.00 that hasn’t already been earmarked.
I intend to join them next year. Somehow, I need to come up with four grand for the trip.
To that end, I’m going to be taking every penny of profit from the sale of my book (and any books I do between now and June 1, 2012), my prints and my calendars and putting it towards that trip. If the photography gods smile upon me, and I exceed the $4,000.00 goal, every penny made, over the actual and real expense of the trip, will be given to Bob and his people to help offset someone else’s trip there in the future. Their organization is a textbook example of the phrase “every penny counts”.
Normally, when I sell a book or a print, I make a certain amount of profit. That profit goes into my pocket. It may pay for gas, buy a few rounds of drinks, or it might go towards some new camera equipment. But, between now and June 1 of next year, it will go towards this effort, and this effort only. Every red cent will be put towards the goal of being able to venture to Peru to do whatever it is they need me to do. Sure, my main gig will be shooting. But I would suspect that there will be more than one or two times when I’m picking up a hammer or pouring concrete. That seems to go on a lot there.
Upon my return from Peru, there will be, as you might suspect, another book, specifically about the work being done by Bob and his band of constructionaires (and I don’t even know if that’s a word), will be published. Any and all proceeds from the sale of that book will also be donated to Bob’s organization. Every person who purchases a calendar, book, or print, between now and June 1, 2012, will be listed in that book.
I’m not much of a fundraiser. I just don’t know how to do it effectively and, truth be told, I may be falling on my face with this effort, as well. But I would ask that, if you’ve considered buying a print, calendar or book in the past, and just haven’t pulled the trigger, you consider doing so now.
While I’m not someone who keeps up with “causes”, I think I know a good one when I see it. I want to help them, but I need help to do that.
Thanks, and feel free to hit me with any questions you might have. I’ll do my best to answer them.
Here are the links, if you're so inclined:
Steve On SmugMug
Steve's 2012 Calendar (You can get 10% off on this!)