Letter from Matthew Boroditsky: A Giving Wish


Update~Sunday, October 16th

Matthew’s fundraiser was held on Thursday, October 13th at St. George’s School, Vancouver. It was a lovely evening and the fundraiser was a big success. We have nearly reached the Matthew’s goal. Please consider donating now to help us reach it!



One can never truly predict what life has in store for them. One day can be the happiest day of your life and in a split second you are confronted with fighting the most significant battle you may ever face. This is the reality we live in and is something that I was quickly acquainted with entering my final year of high school at St. George’s.

I had just returned to school after playing in a hockey tournament over the summer months, when things quickly changed for me. On October 13, 2013 I was informed that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer affecting the body’s immune system. All of a sudden, my life was put on hold as the only focus was fighting this disease over the next eight months of my life. During this time I never truly understood the magnitude of influence this experience would have on my life. The importance of health and how much we take that for granted on a daily basis was something that truly struck me during these eight months.

Halfway through my treatment, I was approached with the opportunity to be granted a wish through Children’s Wish. This was a unique and intriguing opportunity, one that I did not take lightly. It was quite overwhelming when I first fully realized the vast possibilities associated with this wish. After several days of thought, I truly felt that I wanted this wish to be one that I could look back upon many years later. I wanted to make a wish that could stand as a constant reminder to not only myself, but to the greater community, about the importance of gratitude, hopefully sharing a small bit of what I learned throughout my experience. Thus, I came to the conclusion that I would like my wish to be a “giving wish”.

In March of 2013, several classmates and I had the opportunity to visit Project Somos in a southern Guatemalan community as part of a service-learning experience. Project Somos is an eco-sustainable alternative community for at-risk mothers and children in Guatemala. It exists, among many things, as a result of an ongoing recognition of rising poverty and poor access to education and medical care. The Project was an eye opening experience for me and left a major impression in my life. It was the first time I had experienced a world with true poverty and seen first hand the roadblocks to health and well-being, something very rarely seen within our culture.

Matthew Boroditsky

The people in rural areas such as Chivarabal – where Project Somos is located – often don’t have the money to cover transportation to a medical clinic. If they do manage to go to a free clinic, they might not be able to afford the medication prescribed (even generic drugs are prohibitively expensive). There aren’t many systems in place for long term health conditions, and preventative care is completely lacking.

Realizing the limitations and the precarious feeling people find themselves in, the tragic loss of what we at home would consider basic simple care sparked an idea to construct a medical clinic on site. At the time, I was not fully aware of how this could be done, but when Children’s Wish came along, I knew exactly what to wish for. I wanted my wish to make a difference in this world and continue to help the people of Guatemala for many years to come, trying to parallel the philosophy of Project Somos in its recognition of the importance of sustainability. Nearing the end of my treatment, in partnership with Children’s wish, we were able to direct the initial funds for the medical clinic for Project Somos.

As you can imagine, the planning of a medical clinic and neighbourhood house on the Project Somos site has been challenging. We continue to fundraise to help raise the necessary money to make this wish a reality. In keeping with our momentum, we are planning an evening of celebration on October 13, 2016 at St. George’s School. We celebrate the continued progress and success of the project and we hope to make a difference in the lives of others that are less fortunate.

Life has a funny way of evolving. I never would have even thought I would be involved in a project like this so far from home. I feel we have an obligation as a global community to help each other and I know that many of you reading this feel the same way. Please help us by donating directly to the medical clinic project or by coming to our event to help make my wish come true.


Matthew Boroditsky

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Grand Fiesta-Special Guest Announcement!!!


We have a special guest joining us at this year’s Grand Fiesta! Check out our short video to find out who it is!

Have you purchased your tickets yet? Buy tickets here!


And we look forward to seeing you there!

Heather xo




The Power of Intention Fuelled by Love


Music/Art/Culture DomeWhen the the diverse volunteer group arrived, inspired by Martyn and Justine Joseph of Let Yourself Trust, to assist in the construction of the Music and Culture Dome, I knew it would be an extraordinary constellation of people. However, I had no idea the level of synergy they would reach onsite and then maintain after their departure. Everyone who works with Project Somos is more than impressed, we are amazed.

For me, it was a pleasure to work with the group during their construction days in February, and they seemed to connect deeply with the vision and mission of the Project. They were exuberant in their workdays and joyful in their nightly musical endeavours and revelry. It was an unparalleled phenomenon we had not often witnessed but always hope for.

Here’s the clincher – even before the group’s departure (after completing 22 rows of earth bags of the Culture Dome), there was a talk of the next Somos build and their participation. One of their team stepped up and committed to find the funds to build Family House #3 and organize the group to return and participate in the construction. Both tasks happened in a very short time span.

We are SO excited about this new space!This group’s unity of enthusiasm put into action is a dream come true for us. Once again it tangibly demonstrates the power of intention fuelled by Love that we have repeatedly witnessed over the past five years being on the ground in Guatemala. It is a testament to what is possible when a group of like-minded people dream BIG!

Fifteen of the SomosUS team made the return trip in August to get their hands dirty helping construct our third family home! This duplex means that we will have space to accept two more families! They completed an incredible 25 levels of earth bags and considering that the linear circumference of the walls was three times as long, the effort enters into the realm of superhuman.

During the team’s construction time here, we had a gathering to dedicate the Music, Art and Culture Dome.  Antolin spoke about the importance of the structure and what it meant to him personally as a Mayan spiritual guide.  After others in the group offered their thoughts and good wishes, Antje Duvekot offered a beautiful song to conclude the time.  Everyone was very moved by the experience.

Our workers continue to work on the family home and they are making impressive progress – the roof is on, the electrical and plumbing is roughed in, the eco-brick interior walls are built and next they will be stuccoing the interior and exterior. Stay tuned! Or follow along in the House Build Album.


House # 3 Plans

House # 3 Plans



The Inauguration of the Music/Art/Culture Dome


Antje Duvekot sings for us



Grand Fiesta Day of the Dead Gala – October 27, 2016



Join us for Project Somos’ Grand Fiesta on October 27, 2016 at
The Imperial!

In its ninth year, Grand Fiesta is a gala fundraiser that has not forgotten its community roots, yet continues to grow in distinction each year.

Enjoy the luxurious environment of The Imperial, delicious food, live auction with entertainment auctioneer, circus performances and much more! Get in the masquerade “spirit” of our Day of the Dead theme (dressing up optional)!

Tita – one of our very first mamas and soon-to-be Somos’ first graduate – will be the very special guest of this year’s Grand Fiesta! She has a powerful story to share with you. Check out the video of her announcement here!

Not only that, but the talented Margaret Gallagher of CBC Radio will be our MC for the evening!

Please join us for another memorable Grand Fiesta to support Project Somos Children’s Village!

Early Bird (’til Oct 9th): $65
Regular Price: $75
At the Door: $85
VIP (includes exclusive cocktail party at 6:30 pm, live entertainment, reserved front row seating, VIP draw and mini meal): $100


Live Auction Packages – full details here

The Kits Package
Golf in Whistler
Weekend Getaway in Parksville
Downtown Night Out
The S.T.E.M Package
Vacation in Chile

Stay tuned for Fund-a-Need items!


Building House #3! – Part 2


Thanks to an amazing group of volunteers and donors, last week we were able to start the construction of the third family house. It was an incredible week, new friendships were formed and old ones continued. We are so very thankful for all the hard work the volunteers put in, to surpass the expected level of bags for the week.

Up, up, up we go!

Up, up, up we go!

Time to catch the bucket!

Antje and Ann Marie gave us a beautiful concert, with their incredible talent.

Antje and Ann Marie gave us a beautiful concert, with their incredible talent.

Heather Alicia and Greg opened up their house for a lovely "Happy Hour" Fiesta!

Heather Alicia and Greg opened up their house for a lovely “Happy Hour” Fiesta!

Peter with some of the workers during the Open House.

Peter with some of the workers during the Open House.

We had an Open House at Project Somos, over 60 people came to see the work we have done.

We had an Open House at Project Somos, over 60 people came to see the work we have done.

Antolin leading the inauguration of the

Antolin leading the inauguration of the Music/Culture/Arts Dome.

Antje bringing the week to a close with a beautiful song during the inauguration of the Music/Arts/Culture Dome.

Antje bringing the week to a close with a beautiful song during the inauguration of the Music/Arts/Culture Dome.

Pre-build group shot! Time to get dirty!

Pre-build group shot! Time to get dirty!

The volunteers and workers, at the end of a hard work week, job well done!!

The volunteers and workers, at the end of a hard work week, job well done!!

It was an incredible week, one not to be forgotten! Thank again for everyone who was involved, all your hard work is so very appreciated.

For more photos visit our Facebook Album.

Until next time..

-Gabi Dubland, Project Somos Administrative Assistant


Building House #3!


This week we have an incredible group of volunteers, coming from all over Canada, the US, and Europe. Thanks to this group of amazing people and some very generous donors, we have started building the third family home here at Project Somos! There are seven returning volunteers from the Let Yourself Trust group that came in February to build the Music/Culture/Arts Dome, along with another 8 volunteers. They are doing awesome work!


Everyone at the build site for house #3!

Everyone at the build site for house #3!

Antolin giving the morning instructions.

Antolin giving the morning instructions.

And we have started! Door frames are in!

And we have started! Door frames are in!

Peter working on the barb-wire

Peter working on the barb-wire

Nicky back at it!

Nicky back at it!

The ladies are working hard!

We’ve got hard working ladies on site! 

Playing on the teeter-totter with the kids

Playing on the teeter-totter with the kids

Ziplane fun!

Zipline fun!

Stay tuned for more photos!

-Gabi Dubland, Project Somos Administrative Assistant


A Visit to the Zoo in Guatemala City!


Bus all loaded. Greg playing peek-a-boo with the kids!


We were grateful not to be on a chicken bus for this trip!

Thanks to the generous donors who gave during our 2015 Holiday Campaign, we were able to go on our first big outing! It was a memorable day for everyone!


La Aurora Zoo, Guatemala City (right beside the airport)




Checking out the monkeys was a highlight!


Who doesn’t love a monkey?


Everyone got monkey hats!


The whole visit was incredibly fascinating for everyone.


Turtles and? Are those crocodiles or alligators?


The fish pond was a highlight. And thankfully, no one fell in!



Welcome Carly!


IMG_1428_1024Carly O’Rourke is Project Somos’ Fund Development Manager, working  out of Vancouver, BC. Carly comes to us as a donation herself – her part-time position is sponsored by the SpencerCreo Foundation, one of our earliest and biggest supporters. For the previous two years, Carly has been writing grants for Project Somos, helping to organize our annual Grand Fiesta gala, and spent time on-site in Guatemala. During that time, she also worked for Social Venture Partners Vancouver as a Communications Coordinator.

It is an incredible boon to Project Somos to have Carly’s time dedicated to fundraising on-the-ground in Vancouver and beyond, connecting us to new donors and providing exceptional stewardship to all of our incredible supporters. Carly enthuses, “I share the same contagious passion for Project Somos as our supporters, and I’m grateful and eager for the opportunity to put my energy into the Village’s long-term sustainability.”


Peace in the Village!


For lack of a better word, we have found some peace! For the first time, in I don’t know how long, it feels peaceful here at Project Somos.

four-five year olds

Our 4/5 year old group doing puzzles.

A month ago we officially began our afternoon programming with the kids. From 1pm-5pm each weekday we have programs for our kids. We found teacher, Rafaela Surec and have hired her to oversee this. We have divided the kids into four groups; Group 1 (three 8-10 year olds), Group 2 (three 6 year olds) Group 3 (four 4-5 year olds) and Group 4 (four 3 year olds). Rafaela works with the older kids doing tutoring, two of our moms are leading groups and we have a local young woman helping with one of the groups as well.


Rafaela oversees the weekly programming and helps get each group rolling. Each goes to a different location and does reading, crafts, puzzles, play time, etc. We are anxiously waiting for the completion of our Music/Art/Culture Dome so that we can start using those two spaces to use as well. At this time, we use both of the houses while the “felting Mamas” go to the Community Hall to do their work.


The mamas hard at work doing their felting. (with Tika supervising)

three year olds

We have four (!) 3 year olds and they LOVE their programming!

Back to this peace I referred to. For the past two years we have desperately tried to get the moms more engaged with their kids. Instead, we have been putting out one fire after another; battles between moms, parenting challenges, unhappy kids with no limits, etc. It feels like we are so often working to find harmony. And now? Now, when I wander to the five different locales, I find happy engaged kids, I find two moms that are in their element doing crafts and playing with their little “charges”. I find the other four moms listening to music, laughing and felting together.

six year olds

The six year olds in Casa Creo with one of the mamas.

Our two eldest girls both attend the local school and were struggling with homework. Both of their mamas are illiterate. Now, Rafaela tutors them daily and they are feeling much more positive about attending school. Rather than constantly struggling.

These are the early days and I know challenges will arise but I really feel we’ve figured out a major piece of the puzzle! We are SO grateful to all who donate to Project Somos to make this type of programming possible. Peace is a very, very good thing!

Heather Alicia



Summer Matching Campaign 2016


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The Village is growing!

This summer, we break ground to build our third family home, giving us capacity to support more families – we’ll soon be at eight mothers and more than twenty children!

Our vision is to keep families together and break the cycle of poverty for Guatemalan mothers and children in need. We empower single, widowed or abandoned mothers with essential life and vocational skills, allowing their children to focus on education and play – the healthy, happy childhood they deserve.

It breaks our heart to turn families away due to lack of capacity. Our model works, but we need the funding in place to support the Village’s ongoing operation and growth.

That’s where you come in…

A generous donor has offered $10,000 in matching funds for our annual summer campaign. Help us take advantage of this golden opportunity – donate to the Summer Matching Campaign by September 9th and double your dollar to Project Somos Children’s Village!

Consider becoming a monthly donor now and your donations for two months will be automatically doubled!

How to Donate:


To make an one-time OR monthly donation by cheque, please make it payable to:
Compassion Fruit Society and mail to:
#400 – 856 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2W5 Canada

To make an one-time OR monthly donation online, please click here:
Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!


To make an one-time OR monthly donation by check, please make it payable to:

Self Design Foundation [please include “Somos” somewhere on the check] and mail to:
1807 McKenzie Ave
Bellingham, Washington 98225

To make an one-time OR monthly donation online, please click here:

American Donation