Should I Shave or Should I Grow


Well, in the end, like a leafs game, it was a blow out. In total, we raised nearly $650 for the Nicaragua trip, and grow won with a very comfortable $500.

Turns out people really do like the lumberjack look!

So thank you thank you thank you. In addition to letting me keep my face warm through this winter, you all have helped raise funds for a really awesome opportunity for the youth at my church. I can’t say how much I appreciate that.

I’m going to leave the post below, as well as the donate buttons. I still happily accept just-because donations 😉


“There’s a bathroom on the right”; “Scuse me while I kiss this guy”; “I like big butts in a can of limes”, Let me add to that with the title of this post.

Hey, did you know I have a beard? It’s majestic. Fantastic. Luxuriant.

Chris Schryer with a big beard


Did you also know I am going to Nicaragua in February? Yup, I’m leading a group from my church, in partnership with Companeros, to work on a coffee plantation. We took a group in 2013 and it was an amazing experience. So it was a no-brainer that we were going to do it again. In 2013 our group worked in a neighbourhood in Managua, building permanent houses for families. The group participants not only learned about building fairly rough (by our standards) buildings using very rudimentary tools, but also connected with the stories of the families they were building with. Through this, they learned some realities of income inequality, but also a lot about the tenacity and generosity of the human spirit.

One of our house-building teams and the family who's house they helped build.

One of our house-building teams from 2013, with Companeros staff and the family who’s house they helped build.

This year, Companeros has partnered us with a coffee producer, and we will be working on her plantation. The group will mostly be working on outfitting a school room for the children of the families that live and work on the plantation, as well as migrant workers who come for the harvest. We will also be working with them on an art project to decorate the space, to celebrate their community. In addition to all that, we will get a chance to do some actual work in the harvest, and will spend a lot of time learning in very tangible ways, about equitable pay, and how our decisions as North American consumers directly affect the lives of people in developing countries. Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention a bit of touristic pursuits: hiking up a volcano, zip-lining on a canopy tour, and some time spent in colonial Grenada.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for both the young and old members of the team (there are 12 of us, ranging in age from 12-57). But here comes the ask:

We fund-raise a lot of the cost. Most of the adults pay their own way, and some of the kids do too (honest disclaimer: I don’t, I need some fund-raising too), but our point of view is that nobody who “should” be on the trip, should have to miss it due to their financial situation. In fact, because we know what it costs to raise a kid these days, we aim to fully cover the cost of the youth participants. So what’s the bottom line? $3 100/person. That’s flights, food/lodging, translators, drivers, security, program costs, and various other costs. And it’s paying everybody involved in Nicaragua a decent wage.

Would I be happy if you just gave me money? Yes, absolutely. Go right ahead. But I like to offer value for your donation, so I’m going to make this a bit more fun:

Let’s decide, voting with dollars, if I should shave my luxuriant beard off on December 1st (one month today), or keep it for at least another 6 months (meaning I’ll have it through the trip in February). Sound good? It’s just that simple: there are two buttons below, both direct you to a PayPal donation screen, one for shave, and one for grow. All funds raised for both sides will go directly to funding our trip. PayPal does ding me $0.30+2.8%/transaction, so the higher the donation, the more the votes, and also the less gets chopped to them. I’ll keep a daily running tally here, and which ever side has more money at 12:00amEST November 18th (two weeks from now) wins. I might throw some fun prizes in along the way. Sound good? Get donating! And thanks in advance.

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