Tropic Journeys in Nature and the Foundation Conservation in Action, which work directly with the Huaorani on community-based eco-tourism and conservation, are open to receiving letters of interest from individuals interested in either volunteering or doing an internship with Tropic and the Huaorani.As Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country, a reasonable grasp of the language is essential. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guy is involved in some really interesting projects in South America. He writes an influential blog on climate change in South America and works at an eco-lodge in the Eduadorian Amazon. Check out what he's up to lately!
Tropic Journeys in Nature and the Foundation Conservation in Action, which work directly with the Huaorani on community-based eco-tourism and conservation, are open to receiving letters of interest from individuals interested in either volunteering or doing an internship with Tropic and the Huaorani.
As Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country, a reasonable grasp of the language is essential. For more information contact: email@example.com.
I worked as one of two resident managers at the Huaorani Ecolodge located deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Ecolodge is owned and co-managed by the indigenous people, the Huaorani. The job involves spending roughly 15 days at the Ecolodge with the Huaorani and our guests, and a further 5 days in the office in Quito.
I have been very lucky to work for the Huaorani and their ecotourism partner, Tropic Journeys in Nature, on this award-winning project. The options available to the Huaorani are pretty bleak given the destructive tendencies of oil and logging development, which has ravaged so much of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This project, on the contrary, is dedicated to conserving the Huaoranis' homeland and cultural integrity through community tourism. The Huaorani are an incredible people to spend time with, and their culture, which includes hunting with spears and blowguns and making beautiful and intricate handicrafts, is breathtaking. Their ancestral territory where the Ecolodge is located is brimming with wildlife from jaguars to caimans, which makes working there a surreal http://www.huaorani.com/" rel="nofollow">experience.
When back in Quito, I edit a http://www.intercambioclimatico.com/" rel="nofollow">blog on Latin America and climate change. I am very interested in research and policy-making so the blog is an ideal outlet to try to promote the issues and share news and ideas. I have started a research project with Brown University on a similar topic so I hope to be getting more involved on this pressing issue.
A typical day at the Ecolodge basically involves checking that all the areas are ready and organised for our guests to give them the best experience possible. Spending time with the guests is always fun to hear about what wild experience they might have had that day on one of the jungle treks for example. Working alongside the Huaorani is also one of the highlights. As it is their Ecolodge there is a real sense of pride and commitment to making it work and sharing their culture with the guests. The administrative duties can at times be a little tedious but remembering to think about the bigger picture helps the time to fly by.
The fact that the 'office' is the Amazon jungle also helps no end! We are currently involved in a Rainforest Alliance project to implement 'good practices' which will hopefully lead to the Ecolodge obtaining the prestigious Smart Voyager Certificate. Reviewing every minor detail in the running of the lodge to make it as efficient and effective as possible is an enjoyable challenge.
I previously worked for the thinktank, the Overseas Development Institute and the consultancy River Path Associates. Both contracts together lasted about 1 and a half years. The jobs were short-term contracts working on research on issues such as climate change, forests and cities. Working for both organisations was a great introduction to how thinktanks and consultancies operate.
In 2003 I spent 6 months travelling around South and Central America with a group of friends. I had a copy of a rather polemical book entitled 'Open Veins of Latin America' by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. Reading vivid passages about the 500 years of the exploitation of the continent while driving past Bolivian mines with the miners trying not to glance up at the cemetery placed literally next to the entrance shaft left a strange impression.
Once I got back it occurred to me that although Greeks and Romans were cool and all, perhaps a different degree might have been a better move. Doing an MA in Latin American studies was definitely an improvement. During my second year at university in 2004, I made the decision to do an MA in Latin America studies because I wanted to work in Latin America. I wasn't dreaming of what I am doing now at all but simply getting a job here first and then seeing what might be available later on.
I managed to fund the bulk of the initial part of the job such as flights, equipment and injections from my savings. Any costs once I arrived in Ecuador were either assumed by my employer or paid for with my salary.
In terms of the timing, I was very lucky. All the work dates fell perfectly into place. With no wife and kids yet or a mortage, it was also relatively easy to move over to Ecuador straight away.
The planning stage and the costs were perhaps the hardest part. Luckily though I had enough cash saved from my last job. Working alongside the Huaorani has been an incredible experience. I have been immensely fortunate to have had this opportunity.
Although the work was tough and the ecolodge rather isolated, being allowed into the world of an indigenous group and learn about the outside world through their eyes was fantastic.
One of my old teachers told me that to get ahead these days we need to have something that distinguishes us from the pile. In the international development and environmental job sectors a large number of people these days have a master's degree so having that extra detail on your CV which no one else has really helps.
Opportunities to work in Latin America are hard to come by. This is partially because Latin America is on the periphery in terms of UK interests. Although there are a handful of UK organisations working in the region, there are on the other hand simply thousands of Latin American organisations from NGOs to businesses who might be looking for people. It might be worth searching in the region directly.
If someone is contemplating moving overseas to work it would seem practical to start saving in the likelihood that you find something. Many NGOs or small business in developing countries might struggle to pay for their new employee's international flights or train fare to Glasgow to say goodbye to their grandmother so best to have some reserves ready just in case.
The work culture and bureaucracy in other countries can be very different. That's not to say the UK is void of any comparable pitfalls but best to do as much research before leaving on legal or financial matters such as visas, taxes, bank accounts, local customs etc. If you have a contact out in the country who knows you are coming that can be very helpful as well.
And last but not least: if you are leaving around Christmas time try and get in contact with the UK embassy in your new host country. Christmas carols, for instance, at the Ambassador's residence may not seem like a dope night out but all the ex-pats usually go so a great opportunity for networking!