Bolivia, Minus One Week And Counting

On October 22nd of this year, I will be travelling to Bolivia as a volunteer for CUSO-VSO, a Development Aid NGO (Non Governmental Organization), for five weeks.

As one of seven, two-person teams of experienced Photographers & Journalists that have been posted around the world, our objectives are to photograph and write frontline stories related to various projects in which CUSO-VSO volunteers are currently involved.

The material we gather will be used to help recruit future Volunteers, and for fundraising efforts to collect much needed Donations. But I’m not fooling anybody; this is going to be an amazing trip, in more ways than one.

CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas) celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year, and much has changed around the world, since 1961. Whereas CUSO initially sent volunteer students to developing countries, whereby they could gain valuable work experience, while contributing to local aid projects, the average age of today’s volunteer is around 43.

CUSO-VSO distinguishes itself from other NGOs by sending volunteers with valuable experience, not money. By placing teachers, nurses, engineers, agronomists, IT Specialists etc. the local communities gain the knowledge and experience that might be more difficult if not impossible to acquire locally.

Although, volunteers working overseas, donate their time and experience, there are, none-the-less, costs associated with sending each volunteer, ranging from a week of Pre-Departure training in Ottawa, to vaccines, to air and land transportation, food and lodging and insurance, as well as other project related expenses.

As volunteers, we are asked to help defer the cost of future postings by undertaking Fund Raising, and that is where you come in. By sending people rather than money, to areas of the world in need of assistance, you always know how your donation is being spent and where its going. Furthermore, no one can hijack, warehouse and resell your goodwill.

If you believe in magic, then any donation you can make, however small it may seem, will grow nine fold. For every dollar donated to CUSO-VSO, the Government of Canada, through CIDA, will match your generosity to the tune of 9:1. That means that every dollar you donate will magically turn into Ten Dollars. With your well-meaning help, I am confident that we, you and I, can quickly raise the funds necessary to send the next volunteer overseas on our behalf.

Since you’re reading this message, donating couldn’t be any easier. In the sidebar that runs down the right of this Blog Posting, you’ll find a Donate button. That is linked directly to my Fund Raising Page on the CUSO-VSO website. See, I told you it couldn’t be any easier.

Regardless of whether or not you can donate to CUSO-VSO, I hope you will Subscribe to receive an E-mail notice, each time I publish a Post, or sign up for the RSS feed, and you’ll have a front row seat to some of the photographs I’ll be producing as well as personal musings.

In preparing for this assignment, I’ve subjected myself to a cocktail of vaccines, gathered together all the necessary paperwork and whittled my baggage down, to the bear minimum. Our itinerary is going to keep us busy, moving over rough terrain, and we’re heading into the rainy season, so traveling light will be challenging. Experiences like these are all the more enjoyable when shared, so allow me the honour of doing so, with you.

Hasta Pronto,
Miguel Hortiguela

One Comment

  1. Bev 2011/10/22 at 4:32 pm #

    Safe travels my old friend! My family will be following your travels through your blog and we trully look forward to seeing your pics!!

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