Not Lost in Translation
Through a donation from the author himself, Cayendo Hacia Arriba (Falling Uphill), finally made its Paraguayan debut!
Scott Stoll is an author from my hometown who served as the U.S. Embassy’s cultural ambassador in Argentina during the 2011-2012 school year. His time in Argentina and collaboration with Argentine schools resulted in a Spanish language version of his book, Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life, about his 4 year journey around the world on his bicycle.
Thanks to a generous book donation from Scott a group of Paraguayan youth at a national leadership camp called Jóvenes por Paraguay were able to plan a short reading workshop for kids at a nearby orphanage.
The teenage youth and younger kids seemed to love the story equally– always receiving big laughs at the part of the story where Scott says he got stuck in mud in the desert until a family rescued him. The family told him he was in luck that they came, because anacondas, tarantulas and piranhas love the taste of people from the United States.
It was great to watch the teenagers work together to plan how they were going to present the books to the youth and what activities and games they were going to play with the kids. The book donation was one of six projects that was used to introduce Paraguayan youth at the camp to volunteer projects and community service. You can read a bit more about that camp in this post.
Cayendo Hacia Arriba inspired a group of Paraguayan youth to try out literacy service projects in their own communities and surely inspired new dreams in the children, youth and volunteers who read the book– nudging us all forward in our own process of falling uphill. Thank you, Scott!
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For more about Molly and her adventures, : visit her blog
If you’re interested in supporting another similar project, please visit the Peace Corps’ donation site.
Once again I was honored to present at the Growing Power International Urban & Small Farm Conference. Pictured here is Will Allen, one of Milwaukee’s most prominent citizens and the founder of Growing Power, one of the organizations that make Milwaukee one of the top 10 green cities in the nation. My book Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job was inspired several years ago when I met will for the first time and toured Growing Power’s urban farm, which happens to be about a mile from where I lived as a child. I showed the book to Will. He said he “loved it”. He thanked me for the work that I am doing, and I could see that the book tugged his heart strings and helped him see the tangible difference his own passion is making in the world.
Also pictured is Kate Krzysik who helped create the book project and bring Ruby to life at the Waukesha STEM Academy. Stay tuned for our next book “Walter the Water Drop” about water conservation. It will be a really exciting project as Kate’s vision keeps growing, so along with the book, the STEM Academy will be installing an aquaponics system in their school. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
I’ve never wanted to measure my life by money, which lately has been an overly idealistic philosophy; nonetheless, I believe in measuring my life by new experiences and new opportunities. Books are a very bad business plan, so my only reward is hearing the stories of how I’ve made a difference.
One recent story comes from an 88 year old woman named Jean. She saw my bicycle leaning outside a store and insisted her driver stop and let her out. She “ran” into the store and told me that she had purchased my book last summer and “just absolutely loved it” and that she had bought a copy for all her friends. She found it so inspiring, she said, that after reading it she added up all her frequent flier miles from a lifetime of travel, and not long after that she made a solo journey to the other side of the world to Bangladesh. Her eyes were still on fire with the excitement of her recent trip. She rattled off a few amazing stories, and told me of her new dream to write a book about her adventures and she says to me, “I want to call my book ‘An old lady and 3 Bangladesh men’.” Then she winks and says with a smile, “Do you think that will sell?”
I know I have inspired many people, several of which are attempting to ride bicycles around the world, an idea which used to be unheard of, and sometimes I sit back and wonder about all those people I’ve inspired who are trekking through the world, inspiring even more people like Jean, who will inspire even more, and the thought warms my heart and boggles my mind. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see our life’s influence ripple around the world?