Leave for Change Blogs
Many Leave for Change participants blog - often before, during, and after their volunteer assignment - capturing the diversity and richness of their volunteer experience, their reactions to being in a new country, how they navigate and negotiate their mandates, and the impact the whole experience has on them personally and professionally.
You can search blogs by person, country, or year. Enjoy!
Day 1 –
3:30 am red car
My very first morning of my new exciting adventure started at 3 am waiting on my airport taxi. I tried to stomach some breakfast, double checked my bags for the important stuff and that was it! Too late to turn back.
First time at Pearson
Not only will this be my first time traveling to Nepal but this is my first international flight and it’s for Leave for change! So this trip has a huge number of firsts.
First visa stamps in my brand new passport and my first time flying on such a long flight on a giant airplane.
Going through security
I was so nervous going through customs and security this morning I was afraid I was going to mess it up. Going into this trip for some reason the airport seemed like my biggest worry. Although once I arrive I’m sure this will all seem like a breeze.
I’m currently on my second plane with Qatar airlines. This trip alone is supposed to be 12 hours! It certainly makes the drive home to Ottawa seem like nothing now.
Here is to hoping to have a happy and safe rest of my trip. I can’t wait to set foot in Nepal and start meeting new people and learning new things.
Imagen rtv from Tarapoto interview me, not once, but twice!
You can find the first video here https://www.facebook.com/ImagenTVRadio/videos/231897893996195/
And the second video here https://www.facebook.com/ImagenTVRadio/videos/231251324060852/
Who will imagine that someone will be selling hot-cooked-boiled-quail-eggs? The best par: they were cooked on the small “carrito”. Or who will expect that coconuts were brought on a wheelbarrow and sold directly from there? The liquid was delicious and I left with the pulp from 2 for the price of 1! A TV seems to be attached to a corner house to be used as advertise! Or one can find a moto-taxi ready for the rain at the intersection of two street! But the best, is the corner store that sells Cerveza Qusqueña Negra! Super buena!! Cheers
I gave a workshop to all employees and directives from both partners, Elizza and Nativos. Christian, another volunteer with Uniterra working in tourism, was able to get a room in the Chamber of Commerce in Tarapoto, two blocks away from my Hotel and from la Plaza Central (considered the heart of the city). I talked about the solid structure in cocoa butter and showed them X-ray results as well as micrographs. Everybody said that they now understand why it is necessary to have a proper tempered cocoa butter
No estoy sola! Hay 5 volunatrios mas en Canada and they are all form Canada, of course since Uniterra is a Canadian initiative.
They work in tourism, chocolate and coffee and of course, we get together to EAT!! Some times at Cristian’s house and some other times in little cozy restaurants or they help sharpening the Canadian pencils that I gave away during the workshop.
Hilda is the owner of this company, Elizza. The company starts with the grinding of the nibs and finishes with bonbons and chocolate bars.
Elizabeth took me to visit a small chocolate company that process the cocoa beans starting with the fermentation process and finishing with the chocolate bar. They give tours of the plant but no pictures are allowed. The view of the rain forest from the gardens was spectacular!
Elizabeth is the amazing owner of this little company that makes chocolate bars, bonbons and tablets for hot chocolate. It is a pleasure to work with her!
I figure out that it is cost effective to use MOTO-TAXIS since there is no need to have air conditioning and they appear out of no-where infront of you! And of course, you negotiate each ride!! Amazing! I am fascinated!
Together with Isabel viajamos a la ciudad de Tarapoto, al norte, en la Selva. Rio Mayo, just before reaching the city… and finally, the heat hit me when the airplane’s door open.
8 am: A dream come true: SURFING! I was able to stand on the table and go with the wave from beginning to end! ( no picture, though, where were you Jean?). I just LOVE it!!
Afternoon: Visit to the Museo del Oro: all about pre-inca civilizations and the use of gold. Gold was associated with their God, the sun! There are so many pre-inca civilizations, each with their own stories that I advice you all to google them. They are fascinating. Sorry, no pictures were allowed.
Tomorrow: 5:45 am I am heading to the airport together with Isabel to catch the flight to Tarapoto, in San Martin, the place of cocoa plants and chocolate !!
Where can you find temples (7, one of top of the other!) made out of clay? In Lima, of course! The bricks were shaped into bricks using sea shells and clay and they were made to fit so well that no earthquake was able to destroy the walls! And the Huaca Pucllana restaurant beside the ruins had many oddities, like that table. Can you image yourself driving the bicycle with all that fruit? Apparently someone from Lima can! But discovering that Lissy owns a Beetle was the best found. What do you think Gammel?
Not only did I meet Lima-Uniterra’s team but I also got to do many things with my friend’s Maritza family. The Uniterra team celebrated Rosa’s birthday at Punto Azul on my day 1 and they took me along. Way to start my stay in Peru!, drinking chicha, and fish!
Lissy, Maritza’s cousin, beside feeding me and taking me to places, introduced me to Manuel and Silvia, who might help with my chocolate endeavors. Su, Maritza’s sister
took me on a wonderful city tour including ruins, the Huaca Pucllana and the bridge of the suspiros. Magda put together a wonderful lunch, and I even got to see Emilio and Martin.
HOLA Lima!! Hola Malecom!. This is a wonderful place in Miraflores, the neighborhood where I am staying.
The sea view from the top of the cliffs is amazing, even at night.
Can not wait any longer. Air Canada is ready and I am more than ready, I am impatient to catch up with some sleep in the airplane. Because of this blog, my last 3 nights were spent learning how to do it!!
I’m excited for you to embark upon this exciting journey and look forward to seeing your blogs and your pictures. Have an amazing experience Fernanda.