FAIRTRAVEL4U Issue 01
This quarterâ€™s articles: Traveling by Public Transport An extraordinary trip to ... Volunteer project of the quarter And more ...
FAIRTRAVEL4U Dear traveler, I am Martijn Steijn, General Manager of Fairtravel4u, and together with Tesia Swanstrom, Sales and Marketing Manager of Fairtravel4u, I would like to welcome you to the first issue of the Fairtravel4u Magazine. Fairtravel4u started in an extension of a dream I had when I was a child. I wanted to build my own sailing boat and sail around the world. After finishing school I started building boats for a company in the Netherlands and also started traveling around. Now I am already working for over 7 years in Latin America as a tour leader and volunteer. Tesia and I met while working at the same volunteer project and as we share a similar interest and love for helping animals in need, volunteering, social responsibility and traveling, we quickly became friends. Now we are working alongside each other as colleagues of the company Fairtravel4u and share the same vision: To offer a different type of travel and volunteer experience. One that takes you out of the resorts and into new and exciting environments. We can say from our own experiences, it is the journey of a lifetime! During my travels I discovered how important it is to be well informed and that the value of traveling means more than only taking great pictures. Itâ€™s about new experiences and adventures, about moving around, observing your surroundings, smelling the air, listening to the sounds and feeling the elements. Traveling teaches us about the world around us, about ourselves and how lucky we are that we are capable to travel and see the world. For this I want to recommend everyone with the possibility to travel to take this change. We will do our best to help you with the logistics, so you have more time to enjoy your surroundings. We wish you a great experience! Martijn Steijn,Tesia Swanstrom and our team 1
Magazine Employees & Cooperatives Martijn Steijn
General Manager of Fairtravel4u
Sales & Marketing Manager of Fairtravel4u
Editor in chief/Designer Fairtravel4u Magazine
Photographers: Martijn Steijn Mike Appels Bram van Dijk Open source sxc.hu
Martijn Steijn Mike Appels incl. translations from various newswebsites as mentioned below the articles
This quarterâ€™s help: Megan Shepherd Damien Regan SKIP Peru Carey Klein Shannon Lotz Jiana Calixto Ryan Nemethy Mike Drackley Patricia Bonaguro
INDEX About Fairtravel4u Interview with: Fairtravel4u Traveling by Public Transport Fair Travel Tips Top 3 Pictures Interview with a traveler An extraordinary trip to ... Latin American News Interview with a volunteer Volunteer project of the quarter This quarter’s offer
1 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 13 14 15
NEWSFLASH DIRECT CONTACT WITH FAIRTRAVEL4U VIA
SKYPENAME: Fairtravel4u or SKYPENAME: Tesia.Fairtravel4u
Column Freedom, relaxation, preferably good weather… those are the primary things I want during a holiday. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Besides that I want to get to know a different culture, eat the local food, drink the local drinks, learn about the country’s history and present and meet interesting people during my travels. Backpackers, tourists from all over the world, but mostly I want to get to know the locals. “Why” you ask? Because locals know all the fun places that aren’t always in the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide (to name two well known guides), locals know where the parties are at, which food you should definitely try, and which drinks you should’ve tried before leaving for your “home sweet home” again. But, what is the best way to do so? Traveling on your own, with a friend or family, traveling by group…? Really, it all depends on what you like best. Traveling on your own has its advantages because you can decide whatever you want to do, without consulting anybody. With a friend you must be able to “live” with him or her for more than a few days and you’ll have to think about the wishes of your travel partner. However if you have a friend of which you know you can get along with for a longer time you’ll most certainly have a blast, especially when you share same interests! But a group travel isn’t less fun either! Everything is organized, you know where you’ll be staying so you won’t have to deal with hassle of the “where will I sleep tonight” questions, and you’ll have a tour leader to which you can go with any question you’ve got! So to all you travelers out there: think about what you like best within your comfort zone. Pick a destination, find out what is your way of traveling and go on: have a fantastic time discovering what our planet has to offer! Mike Appels
Interview Fairtravel4u IN THIS FIRST ISSUE WE ARE GOING TO KICK OFF WITH AN INTERVIEW WITH MARTIJN STEIJN, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE COMPANY FAIRTRAVEL4U.
differently. Instead of keep wondering why, I decided that I should first try to start my own company. My passions include: managing, travelling and volunteering, so I wanted to do something with these skills.
What are your mission and vision for the company? The two main differences between Fairtravel4u and regular tour operators is that we try to bring more of the travel experience back into tourism. Who: Martijn Steijn (33) Regular tourism is becoming more luxurious and Job: General Manager of LET’S MEET ITS agencies try to get every aspect of surprises out Fairtravel4u MAKER, SHALL of their tours. They often use private transport Where: Latin America WE? and more and more restrictions afraid of taking responsibility or leaving some responsibility to their clients. It is as if they treat their clients as When did you first think of starting Fairtravel4u and since when are you “in children. businness”? I have had the idea of starting my own travel We believe that the un-expected can often be the agency already for a few years while still work- greatest travel experience and that our clients ing as a tour leader and volunteer. But while run- are grown up adults who know their own responning on the beach of Playa del Carmen (Mexico) sibilities. Therefore we try to use public transport I suddenly came up with a name: Fairtravel4u. where suitable and give our clients days off durFrom here on the pieces of the puzzle in my ing our tours, so they can decide for themselves head suddenly started to fall together. I got the where they want to go and what they want to do domain name registered on the web and asked on their own tour. a friend of mine if he could help me with making What distinguishes Fairtravel4u from other a website. organisations? Honestly, over the years I have learned that On the 15th of March 2011 I registered Fairtravel4u officially as a Dutch Tour Opera- tourism is a touch business with small martor with the Kamer van Koophandel. But then I gins and long working days. You always have had to wait with selling tours until we found the to keep an eye on the market and your clients right liability insurance for the company. The first never sleep. If Fairtravel4u can still be a profitof July 2011 all legal matters for Fairtravel4u able company in 10 years without loosing its were arranged and we were ready to sell. Un- soul and I still enjoy managing it, then I am a fortunately we then encountered several techni- happy person. cal problems with our website and due to these problems and a busy time tour guiding, it took us Ideally I would love to set an example with to the beginning of this year to finally solve most Fairtravel4u towards other travel agencies and of the problems and the publicity campaign for especially volunteer organizations who charge their volunteers a lot of money for trying to help Fairtravel4u. others. I would love to bring back the idea that travelling is about exploring the world around Why did you start Fairtravel4u? As a challenge for myself. I am usually the per- us and inside ourselves and that volunteer work son in a company or even volunteer projects who isn’t about money, but about helping others and comes up with new ideas, or suggestions and having a great experience yourself. wonder why things couldn’t have been done 3
Traveling by Public Transport Traveling with local transport has it’s certain charm. These days it’s “hot” to submerge as much and as deep as possible into the culture and country you’re traveling in. And what better way to do this than using the same means of transport as the locals? Imagine this: You are traveling through Ecuador. Now, you could pay for private transport where you will be sitting alone or maybe with a group member as your neighbor. And even though you can have a fabulous time with your neighbor, it doesn’t really add that special “traveling” experience, let alone being submerged into the country and culture. It is at least as fun, if not more, when you are traveling by public transport. The busses in Ecuador are often pieces of art. Their owner(s) have painted them in the most beautiful, exotic colors you can imagine. It’s like driving through the amazing scenery in an art object, quite fun to begin with, and besides that there is a big chance that the person sitting next to you is from Ecuador or another South American country, or maybe your neighbor is a lonely backpacker full of interesting stories. Especially the locals are usually extremely interested in where you are from, and they appreciate it when you start a conversation with them. If traveling, working and living in South- and Central America has taught us anything, it is that the people are very curious about where we are from and what we are doing, but are also more than willing to tell you about themselves, their country, culture, travels, family, hobbies… you name it. Now, you may be thinking: I can hear these things from my group members or tour leader. But think about it. The best way to get an answer to that one question you have but can’t find in your travel guide, that rumor you heard about a grand feast; your local neighbors will most likely know the answer to these questions from the top of their heads.
You may have to wait a while, but as soon as you can walk across the landslide you just get your things, get off the bus, walk across and get on the bus that’s waiting on the other side. Same company, same ticket: Problem solved! And when was the last time you saw vendors getting on the bus selling everything from fresh fruit and drinks to local snacks? Sometimes they even sell (for us) unknown gadgets or natural medicines! Speaking from our own experiences, traveling by public transport doesn’t only add another exciting memory to a beautiful trip or encounter with a local, but your wallet will appreciate it just as much! So why not pluck up the courage and use public transport instead of paying for expensive private transport? Add more excitement to your trip, enjoy just as much or more, and experience your trip as a local. Written by Mike Appels Photograph by Martijn Steijn
Besides the arty and social advantages, public transport has more up its sleeve, winning from private transport by a landslide. Speaking of which: In the event of a landslide, you will be stuck, for indefinite time, while traveling with private transport. With public transport this will be less of a problem. 4
FAIR TRAVEL THIS QUARTER’S ARTICLE: ALTITUDE SICKNESS Altitude sickness occurs because the air on greater heights contains less oxygen. Our bodies must compensate this by creating more red blood cells. The speed of acclimatizing is different for every person and does not depend on age or physical condition, however a good health is important. Also the chance of dehydration is bigger on high altitudes. This is because the sun finds less resistance, the air is often dryer, you lose more moisture through breathing and, in severe cases, you even lose moisture from your veins. This moisture will “leak” to useless places in your body and accumulate there. It’s often very possible to climb 1000m on one day and sleep on a lower level (under the 1000m you climbed). This may even help speeding up the acclimatization. However, on heights above 2500m you should always keep the following rule in mind: Don’t climb more than 300m to 500m per day! The higher the altitude, the slower you climb. Always try to sleep on a place at least 100m under the highest point of that day (so if you climbed to 2700m that day, sleep on at least 2600m and preferably lower). To be able to react (on time) on altitude sickness, you must know that there are 3 different forms of altitude sickness of which the symptoms can occur in a different order than written down here, and may even overlaps. Keep that in mind.
How to recognise Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) I’ve got AMS when all the points from 1 to 3 are correct: 1. I recently (1 to 2 days) climbed, and usually slept over 300m higher. 2. I’m at least several hours on the new height. 3. I’ve got a headache I didn’t have before starting climbing. And at least one of the following four symptoms is correct: a. I feel nauseas, lack appetite and/or have to throw up. b. I feel very tired or abnormally weak. c. I feel lightheaded or dizzy. d. I’ve got trouble sleeping. With these symptoms it’s better not to climb any further if not necessary. If painkillers still work properly you can climb about 300m more, but don’t sleep any higher (so up and down a mountain +300m on the same day is possible, but don’t sleep on a higher altitude). This you may only do when the situation is stable.
How to recognise High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) I probably suffer from HACE when I show the following after a recent climb: - The symptoms fitting for AMS And - Mentally not “normal” (I can’t think properly or do simple mathematics, I am talking like I’m drunk, I’ve got hallucinations, I’m less conscious) and/or can’t walk in a straight line. Or - Even though I do not show symptoms that match AMS, I’m mentally not “normal”, can’t walk in a straight line, or am showing worse symptoms such as epileptic attacks or paralysis. If you are showing any of these symptoms immediately descend at least 500m. Do not underestimate these symptoms, in severe cases these can lead to death. The symptoms can be treated up to a certain point with medicine and oxygen, but only for a short time (enough time to descend immediately). Also, call a doctor.
How to recognise High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) I’ve got HAPE when I, after a recent climb, suffer from the following complaints and/or symptoms, sometimes accompanied by symptoms of AMS. I’ve got at least 2 of the following complaints: 1. Anxiety, even when I’m not doing anything 2. Severe coughing 3. Severe feeling of weakness and/or loss of performance 4. The feeling of pressure on the chest And at least 2 of the following symptoms: a. “creaking” or “squeaking” lungs, able to hear by a doctor through a stethoscope. b. Discolored (purple) mucous (e.g. lips) or parts of the skin (fingers, fingernails) c. Rapid heartbeat while resting (usually above 110 per minute) d. Rapid breathing while resting (usually above 25 per minute) If you are showing any of these symptoms immediately descend at least 500m. Do not underestimate these symptoms, in severe cases these can lead to death. The symptoms can be treated up to a certain point with medicine and oxygen, but only for a short time (enough time to descend immediately). Also, call a doctor. Advice: The only way to adapt to the altitude is to let your body adapt on its own, without medications. However there are some things you can do to try and prevent altitude sickness: - - - -
Stay calm, don’t run around, let your body adapt to the altitude and listen to your body (when you’re tired: rest). Drink enough. Drink more than usual, even when you’re not thirsty, because on high altitude your body uses the fluids without you noticing. Especially when you have to pee a lot, don’t drink only water but add salt/sugar/ORS or drink juices or energy drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. These help dehydrate the body. If your urine is dark and/or your skin/lips are very dry, this means you’re dehydrating and you’re not drinking enough. Light headaches can be treated with Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. These are recommended over Asperine as Aperines can have side effects (nausea and/or dropping blood pressure). Be careful with alcohol and try not to smoke/smoke less than usual, there’s already less oxygen in the air. Also, before climbing to higher altitude, don’t eat meat or any other greasy 6
food. This digests slower and youâ€™ll have a bigger chance on feeling nauseas. Use sun block. The sun is stronger on heights. The medicines Acetazolamide or Diamox can help against altitude sickness. Talk to your doctor about this.
TOP 3 PICTURES Circuito MĂĄgico del Agua, Lima, Peru By Mike Appels
Market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala
By Martijn Steijn
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia By Bram van Dijk
INTERVIEW WITH A TRAVELER Megan Shepherd (24) USA
Photographs by Megan Shepherd
Which country/countries did you go to? Peru, Argentina and Chile
Why did you choose to go to these countries?
I found a volunteer program based in Cusco, Peru, so I stayed there with a family for most of the time. I wanted to see more of South America though, so I decided to do a three week bus trip to the other two countries.
Do you have any tips for the readers planning a trip to South- and/or CentralAmerica?
I would just encourage everyone to go! There are so many amazing countries bursting with culture. Go on tours, meet other travelers, see as many new sites and experience as many new things as you can. Latin America, the land and the people, is absolutely beautiful.
Have you traveled in South- and/or Central-America before?
Yes, I’ve also been to Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama.
Have you done anything else during this trip besides traveling?
Yes, I volunteered at two different places in Cusco. The first place was a rehabilitation clinic for handicapped kids and the second was an after school program for low income children. I helped them with their homework, hung out with them and gave them an afternoon snack.
How did you mostly travel?
I took a plane to get to South America, but used buses once I was there.
How did you prepare for this trip?
I did research about the city of Cusco, looked up weather, general info, etc, and read the Lonely Planet’s book on Peru.
Are you planning any other trips to South- and/or Central America?
I will definitely return to Latin America, but don’t have any trips planned right now! I just got back from Panama less than two months ago, so I need to save up money again. 8
AN EXTRAORDINARY TRIP TO ...
Salsa, rum, cigars, old-timers, revolution, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Just some of the things that spring to mind when thinking about one of the first islands discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492: Cuba. Let us take you on a sneak preview for the upcoming Fairtravel4u “an extraordinary trip to…”. In 1492, Columbus, on a voyage to the west Indies for the Spanish queen, stumbled upon an island which he named San Salvador (which later turned out to be an island of the Bahamas and not a part of the Indies). As he didn’t find any riches or signs of a great civilization about which Marco Polo had written, he continued his journey, finally discovering the American continent. Diego Velázquez conquered the island of Cuba about 11 years later and doing so wiped out all the Indians. Within 100 years there wasn’t an Indian left on the island and the Spanish started to transfer slaves from the African continent to work the fields. Over the centuries, Cuba has known a lot of wars, takeovers, dictators, socialism and finally communism. The best known battle fought in Cuba is that against the dictator Batista. Fidel Castro, accompanied by Ernesto “Che” Guevara and many more “guerillas” took a boat from Mexico and fought a fierce battle against Batista’s regime. And with success. In 1959 Cuba became a socialist republic with Fidel Castro as its leader. Since then, not much has changed. Cuba is a country where it sometimes seems as if time has stood still. On the streets of Havana it will be hard to spot any other cars than old Chevy’s, Cadillac’s, Plymouth’s and Oldsmobile’s. Truly a beautiful sight, especially for those who love old cars. On the car free plazas of Habana vieja (Old Havana) you can almost step back in time and imagine how it used to be during colonial times. Not only is Havana an interesting city with a lot of 9
history and loads of (sometime hilarious) stories. It is also a fantastic city to start your trip. Cubans are an incredibly nice and open people. They love telling you stories, teaching you basically everything you want, or just having an interesting conversation with you. And the best place to start to get to know people in Havana is on the Malecón. Especially during the weekend nights, it seems as if half of Havana goes to the Malecón to chat, drink, dance and make music. Not as an attraction for the tourists, as in so many other countries, but really just for themselves. But whether you are a tourist or a Cuban, you are always welcome to join them. You will definitely love the Cubans.
After the bustling city of Havana, the trip continues to more rural places, smaller cities and towns, where the lifestyle is even more laidback (is that even possible?) than in Havana. Where the Australians have the well known saying “No worries”, the Cubans are the masters of “Mañana, mañana” (tomorrow, tomorrow). Next stop: Viñales. Valle Viñales is famous for three things (and under the Habaneros (people from Havana) famous for four things). First off, Viñales has the some of the best tobacco in the world, producing, for example, Monte Cristo, Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta. Second in place is a national alcoholic drink. No, not rum this time, but Guayabita del Pinar. A strong liquor made from the Guayabita fruit. The drink is even difficult to find outside Valle Viñales, so if you want to take a bottle with you,
buy it in Viñales or in Pinar del Río. Besides cigars and alcohol, Viñales is also known for one of the natural marvels of the world. The Mogotes (strangely shaped mountains). There exist various stories and theories about how It was created, and besides that it is an absolutely wonderful sight. Now, why is Viñales so famous amongst the Habaneros? Jokes. The people from Havana like to say that the people from Viñales and Pinar del Río were from Santiago de Cuba, wanting to go to Havana, but they walked to far. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Valle Viñales, they made it only worse for themselves: They where building a new cinema and when it was finished they found out they left a machine inside. To get it outside, they broke down a wall. When the boss of the cinema paid a visit that day he told the workers that he would open the doors so they could get the machine out… True story?
From Viñales the trip continues to Cienfuegos. An interesting small city, famous for its astonishing collection of colonial buildings to neoclassical structures and not too far from the next stop on our trip: Trinidad. Since 1988 on the UNESCO list, Trinidad is like an open air museum with colorful colonial houses and together with Havana and Santiago de Cuba one of the best places to enjoy the bustling Cuban nightlife. Trinidad houses some of the best known “Casas de la Música” and even has two very special discotheques. One in an old church, the other one in a cave! And don’t be afraid to dance with the Cubans, even if you’re convinced that you can’t dance at all. The Cubans with their incredibly loose hips and feel of rhythm will teach you everything you will need to know. Hiding in a dark corner usually isn’t an option in Cuba, and why would you? Join the party and enjoy!
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE
Continuing from Trinidad and surroundings, we find ourselves in Santa Clara. Most famous for its role during the revolution. Santa Clara is the place where the revolution was won, under the leadership of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. A charismatic man, always at the front of the battle with his “comrads”, striving for his beliefs and goals. Here you can visit an open air museum (several train carriages) filled with photographs and, of course, most impressive: the tomb of Che Guevara. (Mind you, be very quiet when entering, talking is not allowed inside the tomb out of respect).
From Santa Clara and Matanzas, known for the battle between the Dutch captain Piet Heijn and the Spanish fleet, you will return to Havana. An extraordinary trip already. But what makes this trip so much more special is in the details. With this Fairtravel4u trip you will not be spending the nights in tourist-filled hotels where Cubans are not allowed, but in the houses of the Cubans, known as Casas Particulares. At Fairtravel4u we believe that personal contact with the locals gives that extra dimension to your trip, making it unforgettable and, yes: extraordinary.
Text and photographs by Mike Appels
Quito - Ecuador
June/July/August: Dry Season Temperatures: 10/19ºC / 50/66.2ºF
Lima - Peru
June/July/August: Dry Season Temperatures: 17/21ºC / 62.6/69.8ºF
La Paz - Bolivia
June/July/August: Dry Season Temperatures: -1/13ºC / 30.2/55.4ºF
Most visited places by Lima students
Bolivian indigenous Research from PromPerú points out that the most interesting march against deforestaplaces for students to visit are the city of Cusco, Chiclayo, Ca- tion jamarca, Ica and Trujillo whereas for trips in and around Lima, the most popular are: Callao, Pachacamac, Los Pantanos de Villa and Lurín. Other popular trips go to Iquitos and the Amazon river (conservation centers and shelters) and Alto Mayo Tarapoto (San Martin), Tarma, Chandigarh, Oxapampa (central rainforest) and Tumbes. Most popular amongst the young Limeños are Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Santa Marta and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
- Free translation from article: El Comercio - Los destinos nacionales preferidos para los viajes de promoción - 21 May 2012
Did you know...
The Inca’s (Quechua’s) could carry a message from Quito to Cusco (±2657km) in only 5 days? And that Fairtravel4u is offering the modern equivalent of this trip? 11
On April 27th started the 9th indigenous march agains the deforestation of the amazon rainforest in Bolivia. For the first time, Amnesty International and the United Nations mission in Bolivia have requested ID badges for the indigenous protesters to prevent “infiltrators” to take part in the march and it is also an attempt to have the Bolivians respect the human rights, also that of the indigenous. -Free translation from article: Bolivia Weekly - 9th Indigenous March begins - 27 April 2012
Guayacán’s artisanal beer claims its place in Chile’s pisco capital Award-winning brewery in Chile’s Elqui Valley is already planning to expand production. Pisco is no longer the only spirit in town in Chile’s picturesque and serene Elqui Valley. With three different varieties now available -- Golden Ale, Pale Ale and Stout -- Guayacán has been dubbed “the beer of the Elqui Valley.” From article: Santiago Times - Guayacán’s artisanal beer claims its place in Chile’s pisco capital - 14 December 2011
Corpses on the coast of Peru Since February 2012 the northern coasts of Peru have been filled with thousands of corpses. Most of the corpses are those of dolphins and pelicans, although there have been sighted sea lions and a few pinguins as well. The reason for this disaster is still unknown, although partially it seems to be starvation. Starvation hits mostly the younger and less experienced animals. However, it’s not all starvation.
Researchers are still looking for an explanation for the sudden increase of deaths amongst these animals. Meanwhile the northern part of Peru is struck with fear for the lack of information. Locals have stopped going to the beaches and refuse to eat seafood. Researchers point out that, however they cannot yet give an explanation, there is no evidence of threat to the human race. - Free translation from article: El Comercio Ecuador - 2012, el año en que la costa del Perú se lleno de cadáveres En Perú - 10 May 2012 - http://www.elcomercio.com/sociedad/ano-costa-Peru-lleno-cadaveres_0_697730283.html
Pope visits Cuba
On 27 March 2012 Pope Benedictus XVI arrived at the Santiago airport in Cuba where he was met by president Raul Castro. It is the first visit of a pope since 1998. To prevent demonstrations, the Cuban government arrested 150 dissidents before the arrival of the pope. The pope on his turn will most likely press for reformation of the country and to become a interlocutor of the Roman Catholic Church in this communist country and thus strengthen their bonds. The human rights in Cuba are often criticized.
Havana - Cuba
June/July/August: Wet Season Temperatures: 23/30ºC / 73.4/86ºF
Mexico City Mexico
June/July/August: Wet Season Temperatures: 12/26ºC / 53.6/78.8ºF
Religious human sacrifices
Human sacrifices in ancient Mexico are recorded in manuscripts, sculptures, paintings and in several books written by the evangelists. However due to the National Institute of Anthropology and History, scientists are now able to review bone -Free translation of article: Nu.nl - Paus komt aan objects and materials through a special microop Cuba - 27 March 2012 - http://www.nu.nl/buiten- scope and corroborate this ancient practice of land/2773185/paus-komt-cuba.html religious Mesoamerican sacrifice. Before visiting Cuba the head of the Roman Catholic Church payed a 3 day visit to Mexico. As a highlight there was held an openair mass in front of approximately 300.000 people in the city León.
-Free translation of article: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/ notas/848334.html - 20 May 2012
INTERVIEW WITH A VOLUNTEER Damien Regan (25) Ireland
Photographs by Damien Regan
In what country for which volunteer project did you work
I volunteered in Pisco, Peru, with Pisco Sin Fronteras (P.S.F.). I volunteered there for two months from mid September to mid November, last year, 2011.
Was it your first time?
It was my second time there, I volunteered with P.S.F. in 2010 for 3 months, February to April.
Tell us something about what kind of work you did there.
There are opportunities to do a variety of things. I spent a lot of my time working in a wood yard, rented by the organisation, where we made one meter wall- door- and window panels, which were used to construct modular houses for families who had gone through the application process with P.S.F.
What part of volunteering for this project did you like best?
I really enjoyed the work, but I most enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and doing something that felt worth while with them.
Would you recommend volunteer work to others and why?
Definitely. It’s a great experience. Working with P.S.F. is a real eye opener! It gives you a whole new perspective on what’s necessary and what’s important.
Are you planning on doing volunteer work again in the future?
Someday I will return to South America and hopefully to P.S.F. Until then I hope to do some voluntary work in Ireland.
Do you have anything more to say to our readers about your experiences or maybe you have some tips for readers that are planning on doing volunteer work?
I heard about P.S.F. from other backpackers while I was volunteering in Merazonia, an amazing animal reserve in Ecuador, so I knew going there that the organisation did good work. There are some projects out there that are questionable, so I would advise people to look into the organization first. You can find information about most organizations on travellers blogs. Also, if you’re looking at a project and it seems very expensive, don’t be afraid to ask where the money goes. Some tour companies offer volunteer packages that are very pricey. If you look into it, it’s all profit for the tour provided with little money making its way down to those who you are working to help. Finally, read up on the culture of the place that your planning on travelling to, and making an effort to learn the language will improve you experience tenfold.
of the quarter
This quarter we have spoken to a group of volunteers from the USA that worked with SKIP Peru and traveled with Fairtravel4u. In this short interview they tell us about the experiences they have had and what they have done during their time in Peru. What have you done over the past few Did you like the combination of volunteering weeks? and traveling? Patricia: We worked with the SKIP volunteers Mike: It was a great mix. While volunteering is to prepare and host a Mother’s Day celebration, why I came and a passion of mine, it is an awetaught English in a public school and changed some opportunity to see some of the world’s the nursery into a health center, most incredible and beautiful sights at the same Shannon: Besides that we also helped renovate time. the SKIP office, repainting it, and renovate class- Patricia: I had never had such a great and liferooms. impacting experience. Also, the combination gave our entire group the opportunity to really Besides that, have you had time to see the have a unique bonding experience. I’m glad I got to enjoy so much of the Peruvian culture, and I country as well? Jiana: Yes we definitely did! We would work until don’t think I would have been able to have such 5:30pm, having the nights to explore Trujillo. We a rewarding and growing experience had I only went to Huachaco (which is an awesome beach). came for the volunteering or only the traveling. During our last weekend we got to go to Huaraz and see beautiful mountain lakes and ruins. We also had a whole day to enjoy the city of Lima. El centro de Lima: BEAUTIFUL! Have you all had a great experience and what was the best one? Ryan: YES! The trip has been expertly planned with plenty of details in the itinerary which made the traveling relaxing and stress free. Shannon: I have to say, I had the time of my life, and I can easily say the same for the others of our team. Seeing the children in the public schools as well as SKIP made it all worth-while. We had fun working for SKIP as well as getting to know their volunteer team. I have to say, my favorite part was having the Mother’s Day party for the mom’s. It was great to see us make so many women feel special. You’ve all traveled with Fairtravel4u. What did you think of its services? Ryan: Absolutely fantastic service! Completely stress free. Martijn did an excellent job of arranging accommodations and making us feel like his number one priority! Well done! Carey: Everything has been great! All of our travels have run smoothly and nicely. The busses were great and all the accommodations nice. No issues :-)
Would you work again with SKIP Peru/travel with Fairtravel4u in the future? Carey: I am definitely interested in coming back in the future. I would travel with Fairtravel4u again, I felt safe and it was very organized. Jiana: Absolutely! I would do it this month if I could! Ryan: I would not travel/work with any other organizations!! Do you have any tips for the readers at home? Mike: While it isn’t glamourous work, the stuff we do is great for the locals and so beneficial on many levels. Patricia: Take any opportunity you have to do something like this. Go into it with an open mind because it could have a huge impact on your life.
OFFERS JUNE 2012
A basic Iquitos and Pacaya Samiria Tour (6 days) 6 Days/5 Nights Iquitos, the real jungle adventure. This adventure tour offers a basic, but great jungle experience in the protected Pacaya Samira National Reserve, 240 km from Iquitos, deep into the Amazon rainforest! Prices from US$ 575,- p.p. excl. flights Duration: 6 Days/5 Nights
Spanish and Culture in Buenos Aires (8 days) Buenos Aires is one of the most vibrant capitals in Latin America. It is the city of Tango and fashion with a bustling day- and nightlife. According to us, the best way to discover a new place is when you speak the language (or at least the basics). For this reason our tour does not only include visits to some of B.A.’s most spectacular highlights, but also 20 hours of private Spanish classes with a very experienced teacher for each level of Spanish. Prices from US$ 950,- p.p. Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
Amazon Rainforest and Animal Protection (6 weeks) Experience the beauty of the Ecuadorian nature and help protecting it. During the first 2 weeks you travel through some of the most beautiful natural areas of Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest. After you’ve seen the Ecuadorian wildlife in its natural environment you will join the team of Merazonia and get the chance to help the less fortunate animals that were taken away out of their natural environment to serve as pets, often in small cages, or on a short chain... Duration: 6 weeks Prices from US$ 2265,- p.p.