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Jan 2011

Inca Amazon Venture 81. 1st Blog.

Posted by / in South America /

2 weeks down, 13 to go! I feel that with such bright beginnings, this is promising to be a fantastic Venture.

We started with a very chilled weekend in Otavalo; browsing the colourful pre-Inca market, hiking to a remote waterfall, playing jenga and lounging in hammocks enjoying the beautiful surrounding countryside. Then it was time for Spanish school in Quito. This group is really dedicated to the cause, and learning really quickly which is wonderful and will serve them well on the rest of the trip. They’ve even acted out stories in Spanish with Oscar winning gusto.

There are 11 venturers representing 5 continents and they are a lovely, diverse bunch; the ideal combination of being both laid back and up for an adventure. Speaking of adventure, last weekend we went to Cotopaxi National Park and hiked up to the refuge at 4810m at the foot of the snow-capped volcano. 5 venturers got up at midnight to climb it; the girls succeeded in getting to the summit and the boys got impressively close.

There have been a couple of nights out on the town, a few Disney film screenings, salsa and cooking classes, games aplenty and the group has had their first taste of practicing their Spanish at a school near Quito, reading to the kids which they really enjoyed, so they’re now ready and confident about the Book Bus project coming up in the Amazon.

If all that isn’t enough, yesterday we went in a cable car high up above Quito with panoramic views and here’s a dare devil photo of the two leaders, Wilson and I, demonstrating our bravery and acrobatic tendencies Wilson saved my life……What do you mean it looks fake?! OK it’s a bit of fun, and there’ll be plenty more of that to come, so stay tuned for the next instalment! (Am off to play football at altitude now! Spanish teachers Vs students. Tis a hard life.)

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Apr 2010

Spotlight on volunteering in Ecuador

Posted by / in South America /

You might say we know Ecuador pretty well….over a decade ago VentureCo Worldwide began in the back streets of Quito and now we have quite a collection of projects here…

We are proud to add to this our new Manta Ray project on the Pacific Coast…. one of our most exciting projects yet…..

Manta Rays are one of our ocean’s most charismatic residents. Their huge, easily recognisable shape inspires awe in divers and other water users, and no diver can ever forget the first time they saw a manta underwater. They appear as mysterious to divers as they do to science. Little is known about their lives, and their ghostly, enormous yet silent appearance along the world’s tropical and temperate reef systems have inspired generations of people. This project was developed to find out more about the migratory population of Manta birostris that visits the coast of Ecuador each summer.
For more details on this project check out the volunteer projects page

Don’t forget our other volunteer projects in Ecuador….
Our fantasticly remote Galapagos Conservation project would make a change from most peoples daily routine. Do something a bit less ordinary this year and grab a machete and get hacking!

The Book Bus in Ecuador also launched in 2010 to great success and we hope to continue this throughout the year. Climb aboard and become a story-teller!

Get involved in 2010 and give Ecuador a go…

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Mar 2010

Inca & Amazon 76 – Book Bus in Tena

Posted by / in South America /

The following entry is from Daisy Bard:

Monday March 15th 2010

Today we had the pleasure of attending a press conference at the site of Bajo Ongota (the first school we had visited, so this was our second time there). Amongst the dignitaries present were journalists, the minister of education, the mayor of Tena, a famous children´s writer and the British Ambassador to Ecuador. We worked with the kids for two hours (my group read and acted out parts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, drawing the grotesque characters and penning new culinary inventions), and put some of their art up around the classrooms. Next came the speeches and in typical Latin Amerian style, everyone had something to say! The award-winning writer had written something for the chidren which she read aloud, all about the Ventureco explorers and their treasure trove (the Book Bus) of smiles, fantasy and excitement. The main focus of the speeches (apart from thanking the communities for their support and welcome) seemed to be the fundamental importance of reading in education. Afterwards, each school we had visited presented a song or dance. They had all come to Bajo Ongota and there were ten performances, including a traditional dance with water pots, spears and plants as props. Finally, we all got up and had a little dancey with all of them, and refreshments commenced (a long-awaited treat in such a scorching and humid climate). Our lunch, which Bajo Ongota provided, was an exotic mix of whole barbecued fish, cocoa beans, yuca and palm hearts. After some football, clapping games and general frolicking, we were back in our beloved book bus (and Dave even had to eject some strangers who´d mistaken it for a public one).

Tuesday March 16th

Jacob´s birthday celebration; the whole group cross-dressed for the night. This would be a longer entry but it´s not for the tender eyes of our naive parents. Good fun was had by all, and little remembered the next morning!

Wednesday March 17th

We visited the school of Shandia, where they make Kallari chocolate; the plan was to have lunch and then go swimming in the river (an exciting cocktail of non-recommended activity), but the torrential rain was verging on a monsoon and quashed our ambitions. The lunch was nonetheless delicious, as was the company.

Thursday 18th March

We´ve officially been here a month. After the book bus session we headed off in a canoe to rural Ahuano, where a nice German-Ecuadorian couple looked after us, with their pet snake, whom we named Diego. The group took a trip to the little beach (again in their caneo), and most of them got stuck on a rock they´d insistently swum to despite the currents. They had to be ferried back. In the meantime, those less foolhardy descaled some freshly-caught fish, and became true Amazonians in the process.

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