Captain Eric Blackburn and his 30-foot sailboat have been
travelling the world, looking for places that need the hope and
support of people in North America.
Blackburn has been delivering "Friendship Boxes"
to children in developing countries. Inside each box, there are
basic school supplies and friendship letters. The boxes are put
together by school-age students throughout Canada and the United
States. Hopes are that the school child and the recipient will
maintain a long-lasting relationship.
The project began as Canadian Kids Care. However, the large
international participation led to the more global name of World
Kids Voyage. Word of World Kids Voyage spread across British
Columbia and down the west coast of the United States. The computer
company, IBM, donated a Think Pad laptop and the web site (www.worldkidsvoyage.org)
The sailboat Chickadee sailed out of Vancouver in the December,
1995, loaded to the rafters with "Friendship Boxes".
Winter storms off the coast of Washington and Oregon pummelled
the small boat all the way down the coast. Once more the little
ship was delayed on her voyage south.
When winter let up, the Chickadee continued on towards Mexico
eager to begin delivery of the first Friendship Boxes before
Christmas. The first Friendship Boxes were delivered to "Olive
Tree Children's Home" in Ensenada, Mexico on December 23,
1996. Two days before Christmas, the little ship that could...did!
As more and more schools became involved, the Chickadee delivered
more and more Friendship Boxes. Blackburn has visited the West
Coast of the United States, Washington, Oregon, and California.
He has visited schools throughout Mexico, the Sea of Cortez,
Colima, Lago de Chapela and Ziahuantenago, Rio Dulce of Guatemala
and islands in the Gulfo De Fonseca of El Salvador.
The World Kids Voyage team has spent a great deal of time
working with projects in Nicaragua.
Sights are set for departing Nicaragua in mid-February for points
south towards Peru in South America. On this passage, the Chickadee
and World Kids Voyage will likely visit Costa Rica, Panama and
"We expect to be in Peru by the summer. From Peru, the
goal is to navigate west across the South Pacific via Pitcairn
Island, Cook Islands, Tonga, Australia and eventually China.
From Southeast Asia, we will continue west across the Indian
Ocean to Madagascar and Africa," says Blackburn.
Once in the Atlantic, Chickadee shall put into St Helena and
the Ascension Islands en route to Brazil. From the East Coast
of South America, sights will be set for points north to the
East Coast of the USA and Canada before jumping across the North
Atlantic to Europe. Eventually, Chickadee will return back to
Vancouver by way of Cape Horn! These are big plans for one man,
a 30- foot sailboat and his cat Diesel.
When asked why he started World Kids Voyage, Blackburn simply
replied "For the love of life and a thousand rainbows."
He hopes to send a little bit of happiness to less fortunate
over the world.
This year, as we approach the Holiday season, please keep
in mind those who are less fortunate and those lives we can help.