Tourism is where this pandemic hit first and hit the hardest, and it is the last activity that will recover from it. Therefore the best way to support the participants of the Route to Hope is to start a COVID relief fund, we will channel the funds collected during the lockdown to them for living expenses.
Mobility in Colombia has been halted since March 16, and even though during the last couple of weeks the central government has been issuing guidelines to safely reopen the economy, the tourism activity has not been included in the list of the activities allow to reopen, and will most likely stay out of the list for a long time. Additionally, all the participants in the Route to Hope are either independent or informal workers, meaning that neither of them hold a job contract. We need to make sure the suppliers in the Route to Hope understand that we continue to think about them, and let them know how important they are to us. The current government hasn't held the peace agreement signed by the preceeding president, and so the country has seen how small insurgent groups are born or revived. Ensuring some financial stability for these excombatants is today more relevant than ever!
We hope you enjoy the pictures of some of the spots and activities done during the tour. Keep supporting this beautiful dream. We will be waiting for you in Colombia, to travel the Route to Hope with us and meet the wonderful beings that are part of it!
On December 19 "A Route to Hope" was featured in the video "The Obama Foundation presents: The Year in Hope":https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB3ecWgy2Gg, we are sure this endorsment will propel sales for the project. We want to highlight the training session attended by some of the excomabtants in Cartagena on December 13, they were hosted by a group Zenu Indigenous people who have 3 years of experience in tourism as they run a tour in their workshop teaching to weave cañaflecha, this training was so meaningful because it connected two groups that can empathize greatly as the have lived thru similar experiences in regard to being excluded from the economic trade. The excombatants were treated as tourist so that they could understand what a customer expectation might be, and they were given tips on customer service, they also got to see how this tour offers a whole experience as it set-ups a historic background before going in to the hands on part of the tour.
Our next trial tour will be in March 5-8. We look forward to seeing some of you guys around! Information in email@example.com or http://www.insider.com.co/
For the past month, after we came back from the trial tour, we have been working on the post prouction of our tour. Analyzing what worked and what didn't. Triaing the vendors, changing things around. We have also began edting some audios that will have the purpose of offering context information. Three weeks ago, we went to a fair in a nearby city called Barranquilla, where we officially launched the product #routetohope and #rutadelaesperanza to international travel market for them to sell it abroad. It was a huge success! People in the world are not only curious about Colombia, but about the peace process. And this experience is definitely a way to enjoy a full Colombian story, with contradictions and conflicts, but also with the sociocultural wealth and enjoyment of an exceptional geography.
Our next trial tour will be in Dec 5-8. We look forward to seeing some of you guys around! Information in firstname.lastname@example.org
A route to Hope:
INTERMEDIATE PROJECT REPORT
Mompox, July 19, 2019
ON March 2019, I earned a Davis Project for Peace Award to cover the expenses of implementing a community tourism project as a strategy to encourage excombatants from the Colombian civil war to team up, and works towards building sustainable peace, while giving their visitors an inspiring and moving testimony of resilience and pardon.
This report is a summary of the activities that have been performed from June 14, time when I arrived in Colombia until today.
To encourage participation and a sense of ownership about the project, we selected a group of excombatants to lead the process in each of the stops. These members of the team were chosen on a basis of their involvement and interest in the project.
For San Juan Nepomuceno, the field leader is A Leader of the Victims Movement. For San Carmen de Bolívar, the leader is an excombatant. For Magangué, the leader is also an excombatant and for Mompox, the leader is yet to be defined.
On our side, the design team is made up of an international volunteer, Afghanistan War veteran from Great Britain. Her role is to provide feedback and suggestions that allow us to tap into the British and broader European Market, by managing their expectations and requirements. Being an ex combatant herself, she will contribute to the development of the narrative for the guided tour.
Lastly, the team includes the general manager of FEM who will make sure the final product is within the pricing range for marketting.
We strongly believe in the reincorporation and reintegration process that the Government of Colombia has developed during the last 20 years. By reintegrating illegal army deserters, integrating paramilitary peace process participants, and reincorporating FARC members, their experience in post conflict life reconstructions processes guarantees our success as we implement. Therefore we wanted to team up and work closely with them, to be able to build upon the processes they have been building. Therefore, institutional support makes things a little slower but more sustainable in time. Happily the efforts have had an incredible positive result. A woman excombatant leads the process in the region, and she was authorized to scout the tour with us. In the future, we want to ask the ARN to allow her to share her story during the tour.
2.Logistical scouting and Field visit
We have performed a very exhaustive field visit to allow us to understand the capacities, and need of the excombatants and families that we want to support as providers of services and storytelling for the tour. We have visited the following sites:
San Juan Nepomuceno: 2 restaurants, a petroglyph and forest tour and the city center.
San Jacinto: Weaver’s workshop
Carmen de Bolivar: Alto de la Cansona, lunch in an excombatants house, visit to “Caguancito”, a neighborhood were a few families are living and that is an example of resilience. We also determined a Menu for lunch that allows for Vegans and Gluten Diets. We also scouted 3 hotels to choose the one that best fits the experience.
Magangue: Visit to excombants farm for cow milking and breakfast and small hike, visit to a community pharmacy operated by a former guerrilla nurse, and lunch cooked by a program family. Visit to the Catholic Church infrastructure.
4. Research for script and storytelling
I also visited Bogotá, to watch the photographic exhibition “El Testigo” (The Witness), a summary of the 50 years conflict as seen through the lens of recently awarded national war photographer named Jesus Abad Colorado.
WHAT COMES NEXT
On September 11 -14 we will host the first training/trial tour! We will definitely get back to you on that!
Our trip to Cartagena for project implementation is TOMORROW! We have created a great team of local people to help us develop the program. We have contacted the Public Agency for Reincorporation to help us plan out the trip and we will begin the process officially on July 1st. The team is very excited to be on the track for implementation now! We will hold 3 trial trips in the Fall and Winter, so if you want to attend and help us improve the final product and see for yourself what the hope tour is about, don't doubt it, just email us at email@example.com, and come!
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