After what felt like banging my head against a brick wall for the last few weeks, I am really, really excited. It’s funny how things seem to be going slow, but then take a massive leap.
Exciting Project Developments:
Banging my head against a brick wall is an exaggeration. Things have actually been coming along really well. Slowly but surely, I am learning what needs to be learnt and doing what needs to be done. My friend Ana Teresa has helped a huge amount, she works for an Environmental Advocacy group over here, so has some great ideas and great connections; also she has the benefit of actually speaking Spanish… It was Ana Teresa who invited me to the ‘Collectivo’ meeting (the leaders of a bunch of Peruvian NGO’s come together to discuss stuff). I made a little presentation in Spanish, just to let them know what I was planning; a couple of really cool opportunities have come back from it. The first being that a few of my photos from the Marañón trip will be in a Peruvian 2015 Calendar, the calendars will try to bring attention to environmental issues. I have an invite to the launch of the photo exhibition in Lima. Not sure if I will go though, I really want to spend some more time on the rivers, the city is making me grey.
Second and most exciting came from getting in contact with a Peruvian group called Conservamos por Naturaleza. These guys do some seriously cool conservation and advocacy work, their organisation is based around the ethos of getting young people out on trips into the wild, to create new experiences, ideas, relationships and chances to connect. They make some beautiful videos, great website site and stunning publications. When I saw what they are doing, I thought the Paddling with Purpose project and these guys were a match made in heaven. I just finished a preliminary chat with one of the guys running the organisation, and am really super excited by what has come out of it. They love the idea and are willing to help in any way they can, publicity, legalities and working with the young people to create the best possible outcomes. It’s still very early days, but I put forward the idea of giving them this project, so that I can volunteer/work for them in order to run it; they were very receptive to this! This will add so much legitimacy and so many new opportunities to the project and its participants. It’s all shaping up better than I ever could have imagined. I even have the offer of an office to work in if I want it, how legit is that! Looking forward to seeing where this new development will go.
Project as it is shaping up:
On the project in general, this is what Ana Teresa and I have worked out in the last few weeks: It has developed so that we are offering 6 participants the opportunity to work/volunteer on a Rio Marañón advocacy project. We will advertise these positions throughout Universities and community groups in Peru, using a range of media (including a promotional video like what I have put together below). People will apply for these positions (in the process of which they will learn at least a bit about Rio Maranon and its environmental issues), we will then shortlist, interview and select who we need for a freaking awesome team of young advocates. These guys will get busy learning about everything environmental, Marañón and dam related; positioning themselves to advocate the issues in the future. They will give a few hours each week to the project and its goals. In July 2015 we will go on a 2-3 week expedition down the river with the ideas in mind of seeing the issues first hand, documenting the places, developing relationships with the locals and creating publicity. Slowly but surely it is all coming together. I am glad of the slowness at times, because if it was rushed I think I would have missed so many of these opportunities that I am only now coming into contact with.
Check out this video, something like this will be used to promote the project to the young people of Peru and hopefully get them to apply, for now its just useful o have something to show people so they know what I am talking about when I try to explain the project to them.Give me some feedback, let me know if it makes you wanna join up and come on a massive adventure!