Published on November 6th, 2014 | by Emma Hackwood0
How Peru Changed My Life
Looking for a holiday that gives back? Our Travel Consultant Desraie Morris shares her experience visiting sustainable initiatives in Peru created in partnership with G Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation, and how these projects, changed her perspective on travel and life:
I have always wanted to volunteer while travelling and give back to all the places that have given me so much. But like many other Canadians, I only get so many weeks of vacation a year and want to see so many places. So I often spend that time hopping from place to place, (sometimes staying at all-inclusive resorts, sometimes on a tour) but always doing the things I love. On my recent tour with G Adventures in Peru, I found out more about their home stays and the Planeterra Foundation. These two companies helped me find what I was missing from my travels.
In the Scared Valley of Peru, G Adventures works with a community to help develop their textile industry through a womens weaving co-op. They have helped build structures that they can work in during the rainy season and they continue to do so much more each year. Planeterra gives 95% of the money they raise to the community directly, which is such such a huge number and you see how far that money goes.
When meeting this community, each women there has such pride for the work they do. Our small group was given a tour, shown how the wool was made, how the colours are dyes, and how to weave.
I was greeted with hugs, kisses on the cheek and tears by the women of this community. Each person here is so thankful for everything G Adventures has done for them, and they are so thankful for each person that comes to visit them. This experience sincerely touched my heart. I bought a couple of beautiful hats and love knowing that the money goes back to the people directly.
We also had the opportunity to do a home-stays on our tour, which really helps transform you from being a tourist to becoming a traveller. The people in a particular community (selected by G Adventures) takes you in and you get to live their life for a few days. When getting to know more about how the homestay project started, I discovered that the village originally declined the idea when it was first presented to them. They were worried that travellers would not like their standard of living. Once they were convinced to try it out, their lives changed for the better. Seeing these families houses; staying with them, hearing their stories, eating with them, and working with them truly changed my life.
I have a better understanding of what it is to get outside of my North American bubble. It’s not what you do at a home-stay that is important, but rather it is the connections you make with the people you meet on your journey. When I look back at this trip, it’s not seeing Machu Picchu that stands out to me, but instead I remember the pride in the eyes of the women as they showed me around their community.
In the end I am thankful for G Adventures giving me the opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger then me. For giving me an experience that I won’t forget, that will stay in my heart forever. This changed the way I will travel in the future and I’ve come to the most wonderful realization that travelling isn’t just about the places you see, the food you eat, or the things you buy, it’s the people you meet along the way that will leave an impression in your heart.
As Planeterra put it, This is our planet, it needs us!
About Planeterra: Their mission is to reach out to committed travellers, organizations and global citizens to make a donation and invest in specific, sustainable solutions to support the places you love to visit.