“Just over a week ago, I left the academic hub of Colorado State University in the U.S.A., to begin my dissertation research in Peru’s beautiful and mysterious Sacred Valley”, writes David Knight. “The study I am conducting is being funded by Intrepid Travel and will focus on tourism impacts and perceived poverty alleviation in several villages located between the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco and the renowned, runic ruins of magical Machu Picchu.
My initial plan was to blog about my experiences after spending time in each village, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few thoughts and observations about my first few days in Lima and Cuzco via this pre-project post. If you have ever passed this way before, I’d very much welcome your feedback on this or future posts, knowing that our collective attempts to describe the grandeur of this region will do it far more justice than my meager musings ever could on their own!
“Dear Intrepid Team,
Thank YOU for having such a generous impact on Bumi Sehat and our patients. Your group visits have been amazing”, writes Robin Lim, founder of Bumi Sehat, Indonesia. Bumi Sehat provide free maternal and infant health services in Bali and Aceh and The Intrepid Foundation is a proud supporter.
“It’s been a wonderful and challenging month at Bumi Sehat. We had a stillborn baby (no heartbeat at all at birth) 10 days ago, but after 33 minutes of neonatal resuscitation, the baby hung onto life. She is now gaining weight, and is breastfeeding well. Yesterday this baby girl, who I visited at home in Tagalalang, smiled at me – a real miracle!
It will do you as much good as chewing your fingernails – that’s the undeniable truth about rhino horn that our world needs to accept.
Vietnamese citizens are being encouraged to stop buying rhino horn through a series of advertisements developed by TRAFFIC and WWF. This is an extremely important campaign and The Intrepid Foundation is proud to support the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
“There’s been huge demand in recent months for urgent assistance to young boys and girls who have been trafficked, as well as the street kids here in Hanoi, who are having a pretty awful time at the moment” says Michael Brosowski, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation’s Founder and Director.
“There’s no doubt about it: crisis situations are more common and vastly more complex than when we started 10 years ago. Most kids we meet now have left broken families, escaped abuse, or been deceived and trafficked. The kids’ desperate need for money means they may do anything, including selling themselves for sex or committing crimes. Unfortunately, we are seeing more people who devote themselves to preying on kids to exploit their vulnerability,” says Michael. “The situation is desperate.”
Since launching our Carbon Management Plan back in 2007, Intrepid Travel has invested over $1 million in renewable energy projects. For those of you with a head for numbers, that’s 83,613 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions prevented – or the equivalent of taking 9,000+ cars off the road for an entire year!*
At the end of each financial year our Responsible Business gurus get busy measuring the environmental footprint of our offices and trips, introducing energy-saving mechanisms where possible and offsetting those emissions that can’t be avoided through our renewable energy supplier. Frankly, it’s a lot of work. And when the allocated credits have been exhausted we also need to select the project, or projects, that we’ll be supporting for the coming year.
“We need laws to ban people from taking elephants on the roads throughout Thailand” says Soraida Salwala, Founder of Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE).
Elephants may be seen as a symbol of Thailand, but little is being officially done to protect them. Their numbers have declined significantly in recent years particularly with loss of their habitat. Soraida is using the recent 21st anniversary of the founding of FAE as an opportunity to draw attention to the need for much greater protection for these majestic animals.
Ancient cultures sure knew a thing or two about preserving their food. They might not have dried, pickled or cured the tastiest treats by today’s standards, but their clever ways of storing sustenance ensured their survival through very lean times…
North American tribes were the first ones to eat pemmican, a mixture of dried meat and tallow. It was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Arctic and Antarctic explorers, as it is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein.
Founder of Roupa Suja Project, a union of women who work to provide childcare, education, job training and assistance to people living in one of Rio’s largest slum, Marcia Ferreira da Costa is a fitting addition to our series on inspiring women…
“I was born in the favela of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, in the mid 1960s. I was one of four daughters and we, along with my parents, lived in a very very poor house. It was in front of an open ditch. Every time it rained a lot we would lose everything, and this is something I’ll never forget. The ditch would overflow and inundate my house bringing rats and garbage. We needed to sleep in other people’s houses and keep our clothes in bags etc. But despite this hard situation, I also remember we were always happy as a family. We were very close.
“My first ever cup of coffee was in somewhat distinguished circumstances!”, writes Jane Crouch, Intrepid’s Responsible Travel Manager. “It was May 2003 and Timor-Leste (East-Timor) had just celebrated their first anniversary of the restoration of independence, and our Intrepid group was invited for coffee early one Sunday morning to the home of Jose Ramos-Horta – Timor-Leste’s then Foreign Minister.”
“I still recall how spirited I felt all day. Was it the caffeine in that tiny but powerful cup? Or was it the circumstances and the company? No doubt it was the whole combination… and I still feel a tingle down my spine as I recall the day and my anticipation of a brighter future for this emerging independent nation, that had chosen freedom from Indonesian rule and oppression.
From high in the Himalayas, to tea stalls in the Andes and at floating markets in Vietnam, you are never far from someone selling you bottled water – offering you convenience and a promise that it’s safe to drink. You may also not be far from a rubbish dump or a river bank that has plenty of evidence of discarded bottles, making the natural environment less than healthy.
Buying one bottle of water doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when multiplied by the millions, we have one dirty big problem…