Experiencing Esmeraldas

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Last week Paul went to the Amazon while I visited the beach for our respective Technical Trips. I spent the week on the northern coast of Ecuador in Esmeraldas among fishermen, cacao farmers, students, and current volunteers (Peace Corps and others).

I toured a cloud forest and a cacao plantation, helped with a re-forestation project and two beach clean-ups, swam in the ocean and danced in a waterfall, taught students and played street soccer, ate freshly caught fish and emerged victorious in the cuarenta card game tournament.

To say that it was a spectacular journey is an understatement. Swapping stories with Paul I realized that just as much as I loved the coast, he loved the jungle. So, we’re going to be lucky with whichever site we get in the end.

Returning to the Training Center we were asked to brainstorm and present some ideas for eco-tourism initiatives that might be feasible for communities such as the ones that we visited on our trips. Our group came up with the idea for, “Experiencia Eco-Cacao y Pescado,” a community-based coastal tourism project that would include cacao plantation tours, fishing trips, excursions to waterfalls, and cooking classes. Basically, I had so much fun exploring the northern coast that I’d be willing to pay for it and I bet some other folks out there would too. See above for my logo treatment and some images from the trip.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the video about my Tech Trip to Esmeraldas so you can see just how incredible it is for yourselves.

In just one week we hear about our sites! Regardless of where we are being placed for the next two years of our lives we know that it’s going to be an amazing adventure.

Enjoy, Mari

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