It is important to both Andy and I that we are not merely tourists on a whistle-stop tour within each country we visit. We want to experience what life in each country is really like; laugh with local people, stuff ourselves with regional foods, get drunk on foreign boozes, become lost in wilderness realms and stumble upon indigenous wildlife. On the same note, we are conscious of it being a one-way arrangement; all take and no give. For this reason, we have decided to team up and work with a few local non-governmental organisations in several of the countries on our 800 days itinerary. Our trip is already a low-cost endeavour so unfortunately any financial support for these charity organisations would be minimal. What we can offer however, is our time and extensive knowledge (well, we have plenty of time). We are willing to help wherever needed and are focusing on community based educational, social and environmental projects. We are hoping to arrange running educational courses or groups in our area or expertise. For myself, I will run short courses on local environment and wildlife (collecting bugs, measuring plants, identifying birds). Andy will run art workshops which could include drawing, painting, textiles, photography, woodwork and sculpture.
We have recently confirmed our first 800 days local project partnership with Emmanuel Children’s Home in Kerala, Southern India http://www.emmanuelchildrenshome.com/ . This project was established in 2000 with 12 children; the home now has 160 residents including orphaned children, vulnerable young women, boys and girls from extremely impoverished single parent families and youngsters with physical disabilities. The home provides shelter, food, education and security for poor and disadvantaged kids irrespective of caste, creed, religion or social and financial status. Children who come from distressed or broken homes are provided with special care for their physical, mental and emotional health, nutritional, developmental and educational needs.
We are looking forward to spending at least a month with all of our 800 days local partners and being able to give a little bit back.