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Chris and Dottie hero

Our Impact Travel Experience

Chris and Dottie 2
by Chris and Dottie Carey

August 30, 2017

3 minute read

It was January last year and we were sitting at home contemplating where we would travel during the year.We received a call from a Collette representative asking if we would be interested in a different type of trip where we would volunteer part of the time during the tour. We had travelled with Collette a number of times before so we indicated our interest. Material was furnished and it appealed to us as something we would like to try.

The trip turned out to be just what we needed. Whilst in Quito, Ecuador we did the normal tourist things but also spent a day each at two different Centers run by Children International. Collette helps to support these centers as a way of giving back to the people in the Countries they tour. Their foundation had fully outfitted a clinic room for the doctors in one and assisted with various projects in the other.

We worked with the adults harvesting and planting organic vegetables which they were being taught to grow for feeding their families. They exhibited great pride in what they had grown.Then, we interacted with various groups of children as they exhibited what they learned at the centers. These centers are for the whole family and provide training designated for each age group and the parents as well as medical and dental checkups for the children. The member families strive to improve their life situation and that of their children.

We also visited one family at their home and discussed various subjects relative to the centre. The woman was proud to show us her vegetable garden and discuss the positive impact on her family resulting from their association with the community centre.

We then spent three days with an indigenous community, breaking into smaller groups, and staying in their individual homes. They also introduced us to their Ecuadorian cuisine.

The Karanki Magdalena group consisted of a number of families located in the Imbabura region of Ecuador. They were well organized and had constructed a school for all the children consisting of about a dozen one story buildings. We were given a grand tour of their school location and shared a snack with the children during their afternoon break.

We spent the next day painting the exterior of all the buildings, including the cafeteria which had been donated by the Collette Foundation. The parents and a number of the children joined us in this endeavor.

The night before we left, the group provided a large outside bon-fire and we were served a tremendous dinner in the Communities “Big House”.

There were so many memorable moments but the faces of the adults and children showing their appreciation of our assistance will stay with us forever. We’ll always remember the glorious Andes Mountains that were the backdrop to our trip with their numerous snowcapped volcanoes rising to the sky.

We felt more energetic than at the end of most holidays. Helping others is really good for the body and soul. We loved the smaller group which provided strong camaraderie. In addition to touring we learned much about the Ecuadorian people and their culture. Hopefully, our presence left behind a positive impact on their lives going forward; it certainly left a positive impact on ours.

When we heard Collette was going to South Africa on the same type tour we signed up immediately. We really enjoyed working with the local people doing our little part to improve their future and would hope to accomplish the same on this future trip.

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