Colombia Enactus 2016 – Through connections made by Enactus, we were granted the amazing opportunity to collectively put our efforts toward a project that would change lives for the better. We worked as a team to create a manual for the IMPACT project in order to help dairy farmers in Colombia. This manual was created to aid with the economic and ecologic sustainability practices on the farms.
Before even considering the trip to Colombia, simply working on this project provided us with amazing learning experiences that we wouldn’t have been able to get any other way. Working with our consultant Alexandra Orozco was an unforgettable experience. She was passionate, intelligent, and completely devoted to helping us throughout our journey. She connected us with amazing contacts, aided with research, and was always there to lend a helping hand. We truly wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.
Leading up to our departure, there were certainly some concerns that came along with traveling to Colombia; my safety being the main one. Thanks to my “worry wart” parents, it made the preparations for our trip super stressful, and certainly instilled some second thoughts on even wanting to follow through with the trip. Thankfully I went with my gut and stuck with my decision to go, and I’m certainly glad that I did.
After five months of hard work, it was finally time for our journey to begin-
The anticipation grew as we jumped from plane to plane on our journey to South America. Traveling from Halifax, to Philadelphia, to Miami, to Bogota made for a very lengthy trip, but it was well worth it. Over our nine-day visit, from February 18 to February 27, I completely fell in love. Bogota is a breathtaking city filled with amazing views and new experiences. The primary purpose of our trip may have been presenting our research findings to The CCA (Canadian Coop Association) and Gestando, but both Sean and I ended up getting so much more out of our trip than initially expected.
Colombia was an experience of a lifetime. It was the first time I have ever left North America and this will certainly leave me with a different outlook on life. From the amazing mountains, to the beautiful brick buildings, the city has so much to offer. Bogota’s streets were constantly filled with cars, bikes and people rushing to different parts of the city (we were told traffic was always an acceptable reason to be late).
Traveling to South America was the first time I have been able to understand what it’s like to be the minority, which was an amazing experience in itself. It finally gave me a stronger appreciation for what it’s like to be on the other side of the language barrier, and I was able to discover how different it is when you’re not what’s considered the “norm” anymore.
The two highlights of my trip would definitely have to highest and lowest points of Colombia that we visited: the amazing view at the top of Monserrate, and our journey down the mountain to the farming coop in small town called Nilo.
Monserrate was absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough to have Nico show Zoran, Sean, and I around for the day as he knew the ins and outs of Bogota. He took us to the shuttle, that quickly scoots you up to the top of the mountain. It went so quick our ears popped, but the view was well worth it. When we finally walked up to the top of the mountain, the view was incredible, to the right were green mountain tops, and on the left was one of the most amazing cityscapes I have ever seen. Being at the top of the mountain really took you away from reality, and put everything into perspective.
Visiting the Farm was completely different from what I was initially expecting. I on our three-hour journey down the mountain, I was expecting to see a typical farm with crops in a row making it easy for maintenance and harvesting, but I was entirely wrong. This farm was incredible. It was essentially jungle filled with all different types of trees and plants, but their crops were just mixed throughout the forested area. Their farm produced cacao, coffee, papaya, bananas, guanabana, plantains, and more. It was absolutely amazing, and we had the pleasure of receiving a tour from one of the extremely welcoming farmers. I have never felt so welcomed into a home as I did on this day. The farmers welcomed us with open arms and were more than accommodating for all of our needs.
All in all, I believe this trip has really helped me grow as a person. It gave me so many amazing memories that I can now carry with me for the many journeys to come. I thank everyone for making this trip possible, as it is an experience that I will never forget, and has given me the courage to travel to more unknown places with an open mind.
Student, Business Administration
NSCC Waterfront Campus