Week 2 - Community project - Expedition Leader program

Expedition Leader program - Blog Post #2- June 16th, 2019

Alli Punta (good morning) from Sin Chi Pura
By: The Expedition Leader Program Team

The Expedition Leader Program is truly one of a kind in the world. Not only do we get to experience adventure travel at the international level, but we are also provided with the opportunity to connect with communities along the way in manners that will leave a mutual, long-lasting impact. After meeting in Quito, our group had its first travel day and made its way to Tena, Ecuador. There, we were tasked with preparations for our first community project in the Serena region, but more precisely, in Sin Chi Pura. Many things had to be considered before our departure to the community.

The leaders of our group, John Melson and Chloe Saulnier, were in regular communication with our project coordinator and liaison, Tim. Tim works for an adventure tourism company in Tena and grew up in the Serena region, thus he is quite familiar with the area, its history and the people. Him and his father were able to provide us with a thorough briefing on all of this, but also on what our main tasks during the project would be.

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Serena is a small region of Ecuador that holds about 100 families. Over the last 15 years, mining companies have begun to make their way into the region and are destroying the ecosystems of the area and the indigenous people are the only thing left protecting the land. Unfortunately, their resources are limited and many indigenous communities in the area have already had to sell their land to the mining industry due to this, but the people of Sin Chi Pura have big dreams to develop the tourism industry in their community to help sustain themselves. The land and biodiversity of the area makes it a truly unique place, with great potential for tourism, and existing cabins for tourists are already in place, but a few improvements will help the community turn tourism into a more sustainable source of income.

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Our main contacts in the community were Oswaldo (the president) and Ronaldo (first speaker of the council). They helped guide us throughout the week, teaching us about the community, their history, medicinal properties of the flora, the language (Quechua) and so much more. Most of our work ended up consisting of gardening, painting, replacing the roof of a cabin used for tourism, learning about the culture and designing a long-term vision plan for sustainable tourism. Of course we were unable to accomplish everything the communication dreams of doing in just 5 days, but our hope is that other groups similar to ours, including future ELP groups will continue to support Sin Chi Pura through community service initiatives.

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While the majority of our time with the community was dedicated to the project, we were also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to build real connections with the locals. Our Quechua and Spanish language skills were quite limited, but it did not stop us from really getting to know them. It is truly incredible what body language, a few inside jokes and knowledge of keywords in a foreign language can do for human connection. By the end of our time their the locals had given a few of us funny nicknames and practical jokes were becoming a common occurrence. The people of Sin Chi Pura are some of the hardest working, kindest and most intelligent people we have ever met. They made us feel at home as soon as we stepped foot on their land and provided hospitality that went beyond anything we could’ve ever imagined. We know for a fact that the tourism industry has the ability to thrive in this community and we hope to get the word out there for the world to know. These people deserve to keep their home, culture and traditions. They simply need us to support them through this endeavour.


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22nd July 2019

Ecuador, Galapagos, Ecuador and ...China?! What were both the expectations and the reality of China on our Expedition Leader Program.

19th July 2019

Last week our 2017 AGP Alumni and favourite German, Michel Affkerback, left NZ after almost 2 years with us here in Queenstown. Michel has been accepted into the Arctic Nature Guide program at the University of Norway to further his guiding career even more. It was an absolute pleasure to have Michel around, and to see his gnarly climbing, hiking and ski touring missions whilst he was in NZ. We miss you already Michel, and cant wait to hear all about your next adventures!

18th July 2019

Meet Katherine! She is an alumni from our Adventure Guide Program having completed it in early 2019. Katherine explains what she learnt on the AGP and the skills she now feels equipped with in life. Katherine has also made her home in Queenstown, New Zealand since graduating. Curious as to what you can get out of the Program even if you're not looking to become an Adventure Guide? Check out the video below, or shoot on over to our Instagram for further thoughts from Pure Ex alumni!

15th July 2019

Who wants to hear more about our ELP's experience on the Asangate trek in Peru? We do! 🙋‍♂️ "54 km, 5 days, 3 course meals, spectacular views, alpacas for days, chilly nights, and very dry hot days. This is what the Ausangate trek is all about." ... Link's below, you know what to do!

8th July 2019

"PERU 🇵🇪A definite fav country of mine... we have just completed a volunteer project in the Cusco area helping regenerate native vegetation and then the Ausangate trek, a bitter / sweet reality of climate change. The melting of ice has allowed a trekking route through this volcanic landscape which has to be one of the best 5 day walks I’ve done. Expedition Leader Progamme #pureexploration" - repost from Keri Wingnut, one of our amazing Expedition Leaders for our current ELP.

30th June 2019

"We think real travel isn’t just about box-ticking guidebook recommendations or Instagram shots, it’s about authentic experiences spent with new friends who inspire you to think about the world and yourself in new ways."

26th June 2019

So we know the photos from our ELP look amazing, but we're sure you're keen to hear what daily life on the program is really like, right? Luckily for you our team on the ground are keeping busy writing us regular updates and it's our absolute pleasure to be able to share them with you. Enjoy!

24th June 2019

People say the views are always worth the climb here in New Zealand. But at Pure Exploration we think the climb itself is pretty special, the views are just an added bonus. Do you agree? Join us for some pretty phenomenal climbs, views and plenty more this November in Patagonia, we promise it'll be an experience like no other.

20th June 2019

Latest blog from our Expedition Leader Program is now live! Our amazing group (currently in the Galapagos) will be posting every week whilst on the program, and they're doing an incredible job of keeping us updated with their news. The latest blog is specifically about the community project they've recently been involved in - prepare to be truly inspired!

19th June 2019

Squad goals. Our Expedition Leader Program is in full swing as our group swaps rivers for oceans in the Galapagos Islands. We're stoked to see they've mastered the art of the ultimate human pyramid. (Note the helmet on the left - health and safety at its finest). Don't forget to follow us on instagram: @pureexploration to follow their journey.

18th June 2019

Warning: there will be an influx of photos and videos over the next couple of months which may result in you quitting your job and joining us for our next Expedition Leader Program.

11th June 2019

And they're off!! Over the next 12 weeks the students on our Expedition Leader program will be sharing their incredible journey with us..Check out blog #1 written by Chloe from Canada - filling us in on arriving into Ecuador and how things went for orientation week 🔥 https://www.pureexploration.nz/about/news/week-one-orientation-expedition-leader-program/

8th June 2019

Day one of the Expedition Leader program 💥 Instructors Keri & Jess are taking the team through orientation to set everyone up mentally for the next three months of travel and experiential education. The crew range from 18-34yo, hailing from Aus, Canada, the US and Hungary 🙌 📷: Jessica Thomas

5th June 2019

Pure Exploration Instructors Keri & Jess have arrived in Quito, Ecuador - ready to welcome the crew to the start of the Expedition Leader Program in a couple of days..The new students will be learning about adventure travel management, group leadership, logistics, expedition style travel in developing regions, along with trekking in some of the world’s most famous and spectacular mountainous and remote regions. Have the best time guys, we can't wait for updates! 🔥 #expeditionleaderprogram #ELP #Pureexploration

18th April 2019

This exceptional bunch of humans have finished up their time with us on the Adventure Guide Program in NZ. Its been so fun having them join us, alongside their awesome instructor Rosey. Keep in touch guys! 😘

8th April 2019

This is Torres del Paine. No explanation required really. So rad. Is Patagonia on your bucket list yet? Go on... https://bit.ly/2IcDTEb

6th April 2019

Our adventure programs take you to some amazing places around the world. The pic is the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Southern China. If you're a hiker, you need to get here. Learn more about where we travel here https://bit.ly/2I0bmmd

4th April 2019

These guys are busy with their NZOIA assessments this week, the final step in our program to putting all the pieces together as far as skills and experiences go. Go team!

25th March 2019

Time to meet the team! This is John. He is one of our Program Instructors, currently leading a group completing the Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, New Zealand. John grew up enjoying the outdoors of Florida. Having joined the military when he turned 18, he soon began traveling and seeing the world, thus instilling in him a passion for travel. In the military as a JTAC, he was responsible for directing the action of combat aircraft. He received training not only in his core job skills but also navigation, survival, and bushcraft. After the military, he moved to Bend, Oregon to pursue his helicopter pilots license. Climbing in the countless places available to him in Central Oregon, he soon developed a passion for the sport as well as a deeper appreciation for the outdoors. John is a legend with a heart of gold, and an even bigger appetite - for food and for the outdoors! It's awesome having him on our team

24th March 2019

Enjoying the long warm days of Autumn in New Zealand with a week in the glorious surrounds of Mt Cook National Park.

20th March 2019

Adventure Guide Program crew meeting some key adventure tourism industry employers from around New Zealand tonight at our networking event. It's so great to be able to make these connections and get CVs straight into the key recruiters hands.

19th March 2019

Step away from the desk job and join us for a few months of outdoor fun. Go on...

17th March 2019

Orientation week in New Zealand is a chance to settle in, get to know your new team mates and explore this new land which will become home for the next 12 weeks.

14th March 2019

What types of people come on our programs? People from all over the globe join us for adventure travel missions. Generally we see people who are between 19 - 32 years old - taking a break before college, taking a break for getting into the workplace, taking a break from their work desk! It's all about immersing yourself in the outdoors, forgetting the pressures of everyday and enjoying feeling fit, healthy and renews by visiting new places. Join the crew!