How Do Our Volunteers Make The Island A Better Place?
Every week, children from INFA, an organization for vulnerable children similar to Family Services agencies in the United States, come to the Hacienda to hike, horseback ride or play games with the volunteers. At the same time these kids are enjoying the outdoors, they are being instilled with environmental education. This should hopefully manifest in more sustainable habits, livelihoods, and ways of thinking, as the children mature.
Local disabled people also come to the Hacienda to receive free hippo-therapy. We are the only ones certified in hippo-therapy in the Galapagos.
Self and Community-Sustainability
The volunteers maintain their own organic garden, pick their own fruit, milk their own cows, and grow, dry and roast their own coffee. They produce more than they consume, and the excess is donated to INFA.
Before you know it, it’s time to head back to the house to prepare lunch. Everyone is filthy but no one cares. During the rare moments in which you are not laughing with the rest of the crew, you savor your hard earned food that tastes so good after a morning’s worth of honest work. After lunch, you lie down in a hammock with a good book and then close your eyes for a little siesta.
In the afternoon get back to work. You plant native and endemic plants in the place of the invasive you cleared that morning. You, along with future volunteers, will help to nurture these plants until they become old enough to flourish on their own. In a few years, all the hard work will result in a forest of natives and endemics. Galapagos tortoises will be tagged with a GPS tracker, handed over to the National Park and reintroduced into the wild. Mockingbird and finch populations should rebound and spread the seeds of the native and endemic plants, hopefully reclaiming the island from invasives.
After a quick dip in the ocean, you take a stroll down the town’s boardwalk. As you walk along, you see sea lions sprawled out on the public benches, pelicans, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies diving for fish, and lava lizards scampering away from your falling feet. Huge bright red Sally Lightfooted Crabs litter the rocks, and if you’re lucky, a marine iguana or two will amble by.
You practice your Spanish with a few of the locals you have befriended, before meeting the other volunteers for dinner in a local restaurant.
Dinner is delicious and only costs $6.00 for 3 courses and fresh squeezed juice. After the meal, some of the volunteers are going to a local bar, and others are just going to get some ice cream before heading back to the Hacienda and calling it a night.