This post will be a little bit different than the others in my blog, since I’m going to talk about why I was in Circasia, instead of what are the touristy things to see and do there.
Circasia wouldn’t normally be on the tourist path, but we went there to volunteer with an amazing NGO called Futuro con Futuro, which is committed to create safe and alternative opportunity for people living in a rural area of the Quindio region called Barcelona Alta.
Besides teaching English for a couple of hours in the morning, we were involved in several environmental projects that really helped the local community.
The most rewarding project we took part in, was the building of a playground and community vegetable garden for people in the area. To do so, we collected some large discarded materials, including chains, old tyres, broken chairs and doors and any other plastic or wooden pieces that had been thrown away.
I focused on building the vegetable garden, by putting together large guaduas pieces – a plant very similar to bamboo, but much more resistant – and then planting several vegetables, tomatoes and carrots in particular.
Eoghan, instead, did most of the hard work, and helped with the construction of the playground. It was hard and tiring, and it was a very rainy day, so it wasn’t nice being outside. All the efforts were repaid when the kids finally got access to it and were so happy about being finally able to play and use all the facilities. They even said it was the best day of their life!
Other projects we helped with was the construction of a recycling oasis and of a rubbish collection point, as well as other recycling creative workshops in the school.
We didn’t just work here! In the evenings, we would gather with the other, in Casa Nuestra, the accommodation that was built for international volunteers, and where there were also some animal friends. We had three dogs, Negro, Lucas and Dana, two cats, Andes and Pepe and a lot of very cute ducks and chickens.
Here we would cook together, learn new songs or learn how to make bracelets, bags and belt in the traditional way or simply talk.
We even helped in the organisation and took part in a demonstration again a multinational trying to implement open sky coal mining, in Armenia, another town in the coffee region, quite close to Salento and Circasia.
Unless you are backpacking for an undetermined period of time, it is hard to find time to volunteer long-term during a simple holiday. But if you get to spend a long time in Colombia, pay a visit to this amazing community and these amazing people.
Find out more about what they do here: www.futuroconfuturo.org.
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