In his mid 80's, Jose spends his days collecting aluminum cans to trade in for pesos. His home and family are outside Puerto Vallarta in the mountains and he comes to the city for days at a time to collect enough cans to go home with some money for his family. During the time away from home he said he mostly slept on the ground with a cardboard mat. That's where Hobo Hammocks comes in...
Before we started our trip, we sought to work with ethical & mindful companies who not only produce great products, but are also conscious of the environmental, political and social impacts that their business practices had on the world.
We found Hobo Hammocks, an awesome brand with an ethic we could get behind – for every hammock you buy, a homeless person gets a meal. Hobo Hammocks liked that our cycling trip through Latin America also included helping local communities. They generously offered to send us five hammocks to give away to people in need in Mexico. Jose, whose story you read above, was the first person to receive a Hobo hammock. Here are the others and their stories.
We met Juan on our second day in Puerto Vallarta. He was taking a nap on the side walk under the shade of a palm tree near the beach. He had unsteady work in a nearby hotel and another job outside the city. He told us he was resting between the two jobs in the middle of his 20 hour work day. When we offered him a hammock he was excited and thankful. "I'm just trying to support my kids. They mean everything to me." We hope you and your kids are enjoying it, Juan!
Susana was braiding hair for tourists along the embarcadero in Puerto Vallarta when we met her. She told us she worked 7 days a week to support herself and her 3 year old daughter. When we gave her a hammock, she was thrilled! She explained to us that it would allow her daughter to come to work with her, eliminating the need to pay for day care.
Once we began to descend back towards the coast again on our third day of cycling we passed through a small village near El Tuito where we decided to camp. We found a small little farm where we approached the señora on the front porch and asked for permission to camp on her land. She generously accepted. We chatted with her for a few minutes and she explained to us that she lived with her son in this small one room house with no running water or electricity. They had a bunch of livestock and other small farm animals which was clearly their only means of subsistence. Before departing early the next morning we offered her a hammock and she thankfully accepted.
After leaving Puerto Vallarta we had a long climb into the mountains where we found a lovely restaurant on a river with falls to camp at. The groundskeeper Marco helped us get situated, find fire wood and a great place to set up our tent. During the night we noticed he slept in a small plastic chair. The next morning we offered him a hammock to throw up in order to get a good night's sleep. He gladly accepted!
We're now going through our notes and photos much further down south, and have traveled over 3,000 miles on our bikes. We've seen (and been taken in by) so many people all over Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador who sleep on cardboard on dirt floors, eat little more than tortillas or a modest cup of beans for the day. We were extremely grateful to be able to affect the lives of these five people, thanks to Hobo Hammocks – and we look forward to affecting the lives of many more.
Check out Hobo Hammocks if you haven't already, and stay tuned for more stories about our partners and how they've helped support local communities in need as we continue cycling through Latin America. Thanks Hobo Hammocks!