You all know about the amazing work that happens during team season every year, and we thought that perhaps you might enjoy a little peek at what goes on behind the scenes. As you can imagine, preparing for a few hundred teenagers to arrive into a foreign country is no small task. Not only are there the camps to get ready, there is the food very, very important, all of the project supplies to arrange and of course, quite a lot of interviews and training for all of our support staff both in the communities and here at HQ.

The gorgeous Lis preparing for another delicious dinner in Camp Kuri Kuchu.

 

Preparing dinner for 70+ growing bodies at Camp Amazonia requires much potato peeling.

Back in January Andrea, our Projects coordinator, started meeting with the communities we work with to negotiate priorities for this year. As you can imagine all kinds of fun ideas were thrown around there is always at least one bloke who wants us to build an astro-turf soccer pitch. Which of course would be amazing, but‰ we know, along with the rest of the community, that there are some other things that are perhaps a little more important to be done first. This year we worked on everything from building a new kitchen at the school at Camp Kuri Kuchu to planting 2,500 native trees around Camp Maqui. Then there was the construction of a community house at Camp Amazonia and some serious beach cleaning and school and kinder restoration work down at Camp Costa. On top of that, we also built a traditional ‰temascal‰ for important community ceremonial events at Camp KK, which one of our teams were lucky enough to try out just yesterday. The sports fans at Camp Maqui twisted our arms a little leading to the construction of a 30 meter bleacher stand for the all important ‰Ecuavolley‰ tournaments held in the community. At Maquipacuna our teams built, from scratch, a native orchid discovery trail and were absolutely invaluable in preparing, potting and identifying hundreds of orchids of all types and sizes. Their work will live on for decades in the reserve and help to promote the propagation and reforestation of orchids not just in Maquipacuna but throughout other parts of the cloud forest.

Ecuador is no country for slouches and early on our crew had their work set out for them dealing with some fun little diversions. Little things like planning around all of the road closures during the Pope‰’s visit, making sure we have the quantities and suppliers for all of our food ready to go, picking up out ‰Camp Ecuador‰ t-shirts from the printers and running some fun training sessions with our new camp leaders.

Jime’s face when we told her the government had decided to close the roads in and out of the airport for the Pope. Plan B?

We even did a huge 3-day first aid course up at Camp Maqui with the Ecuadorian Firefighters Association.  You will be relived to know that very little of what we learnt has had to be put into practice. There were no babies in need of CPR, or anyone needing to be correctly strapped onto a gurney stretcher whilst being pulled out from a car wreck (it was serious training). Our most used first aid item, once again, was the old calamine lotion for those nasty no-see-ums at Camp Maqui and some after sun cream for the silly munchkins who forgot to re-apply their sunscreen.

 

Jose, Ella, Xavi and David practicing their skills in taking blood pressure.

Most recently our beautiful Cotopaxi decided to remind us she is very much alive and has only be sleeping since the 1940‰’s. The airport in Quito closed for the night and one of our teams ended up with a ‰bonus‰ night of burgers, good tunes and hot showers. They did say they weren‰’t ready to leave yet :)

 

This is what a cancelled flight looks like at Camp Ecuador. Want to come and join us next year?

Our 2015 camp management teams are now busy finishing and tidying things up in each camp. Some are still working on the final touches of particular projects, others are stacking mattresses and packing away tents.  As I write this, we have one team still working hard in Camp Kuri Kuchu participating in a community minga up at the school to finish off our many projects there  the plant and seed nursery is looking AMAZING and the kitchen is almost complete. One team are on celebration duty in Camp Amazonia with the big opening of the community house. I‰’ve sent Colin to ‰supervise‰ and Jimena to supervise him‰. And our final team to arrive in country are currently wrapping up their expedition in the Galapagos snorkeling with hammerheads, tortoises, sea lions and a funny man in fluro coloured tiger print lycra.

To all of our volunteers, teachers and leaders our most heart-warming thanks and biggest of hugs. Without you none us would be here and we wouldn‰’t be able to do the amazing work we do.

THANK YOU.

PS. It’s not over just yet. Stay tuned for our ‘before and after’ blog post coming soon to a screen near you.

Paola our camp leader in Amazonia on the phone in the community calling HQ

Damo leading some team building activites with our team season crew.

Avocados are still in season and fresh from the trees at Camp Tumbaco.

Everyone’s favourite naughty puppies.

Angel off to check out the jungle trek at Camp Amazonia.

The gorgeous girls in the Amazon preparing for cultural activites.

Almost unrecognisable in proper pants. Making sure there is enough ‘eucalipto’ for the camp fires at KK.

Couldn’t resist this one. Everyone’s favourite Welshman . Love you Colin xx