Our Story

Go the Second Mile began with a trip to Tibet.

tibet trip

My colleague Leigh Harvey and I traveled to the foothills of the Himalayas to join friends living in this mystical country. Hiking in the rugged mountains, our friends had stumbled upon a village. Isolated by two mountain ranges, fourteen miles from the closest town and a days’ walk from the nearest road, this Tibetan village is over 500 years old and is called Nizu.

The villagers welcomed our friends, shared a meal, and invited them to return. Over the course of many visits, a friendship developed between the Americans and the Tibetans. Nizu has a strong tradition of education; the villagers had persuaded a teacher to move into their village and start class in an old building. Parents in the villages further into the mountains were also sending their children to Nizu – walking hours each day to attend school.

nizu schoolTibetans in this region rely on natural resources to provide food and shelter – they live a subsistence-based life. The villages were collaborating to build a kitchen and a dormitory for the school; they needed to provide for the teacher beyond his meager salary, and to house the visiting children during the week. Lumber would come from trees in Nizu, stone from another village, wood carvers from another.
Cement from the town was what they lacked – it required money, something the villagers do not use. Our American friends asked if they could assist the villagers with the cement.

Leigh and I hiked into Nizu and were welcomed into this ancient village. The Tibetans invited us into their homes, and shared food and their lives with us. We had simple school supplies in our packs, and our real estate colleagues had collected funds for cement.

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Horses and wooden carts were used to haul the cement along steep, winding trails from town. Everyone took part – parents, children and grandparents. We helped where we could alongside the villagers and were immersed in the daily life of the community.

This extraordinary experience was life changing – Leigh and I returned to Seattle and founded Go the Second Mile. All the essential elements of this organization come from our experience in Nizu – blending travel with fighting poverty, understanding and respecting different cultures, being immersed in the daily life of a community, and volunteering alongside local people on a community-developed project.

Travel with us – for the sake of others – and help create thriving communities!

Diane Ellis, Co-founder of Go the Second Mile