Travel Memories – The Beauty of People

Workshop in Quito, Ecuador (©photocoen)In Quito, Ecuador, Coen and I camped in a car workshop for a couple of weeks. We were surrounded by broken vehicles and mechanics whose overalls were black from grease and dirt, and the noise of a blaring radio. This was not the first time we were camping in a workshop; we had done so before during our then ten-year overland journey in Asia and South America.

You get used to many things when traveling for a longer period of time, but each time I am flabbergasted by the hospitality of people and the confidence they have in us. Continue reading

How Meeting a Stranger Can Be More Than ‘Just’ a Meeting

Meeting a Strangers (©photocoen)Even after more than ten years on the road I can still be surprised how one meeting can lead to all sorts of events, adventures and other meetings. Maybe because I never take them for granted. It is not something you can plan, or find in a guidebook. You can plan a meeting, but you can’t plan all results of such a meeting. And that’s where the charm lies: the unexpected. Continue reading

Slow Living – Inroads to Suriname

Having a Social Life in Suriname (©photocoen)You can travel; you can slow travel; you can stop for a while and stay in a place. We’ve done all three and each have their charms. What I miss about the first two is a social life. Sure, when you slow travel you have more opportunities to meet people than in ‘regular’ travel, and sometimes you do meet kindred spirits, but that is not the same thing as having a social life. Continue reading

Peru’s Best Ice Cream, Produced by Deaf People – Meet Heladería Holanda in Cajamarca

Peru's best ice-cream - Heladería Holanda, Cajamarca (©photocoen)Several travelers and locals had mentioned it to us: Heladería Holanda, an ice cream parlor in Cajamarca. Since the owner is Dutch, and so are Coen and I, it made sense to visit it when in Cajamarca – what is it about wanting to connect with your countrymen when abroad? Continue reading

A Successful Children’s Home in Suriname: Sukh Dhaam

Kids painting Sukh Dhaam's church.

Kids painting Sukh Dhaam’s church.

It is Friday afternoon and it has been a long week of writing and researching. I’m tired.
“I’m going to lie down for a bit and listen to some music,” I tell Coen over lunch.

“After you do the dishes, I’m sure,” he responds, but with a smile. He has done the cooking so the dishes are mine. I’ve never had the discipline to do the dishes right after a meal, why would I do so now? The reason is simple: if I wait another twenty minutes or so, about a zillion ants will have beaten me to it, which is not exactly my idea of a proper dishwasher. Continue reading

Women Empowerment in Bolivia – a Yoghurt Factory

Doña Edelfrida daily walks 5 kms to the yoghurt factory to deliver 40 liters of milk (©Coen Wubbels)

Doña Edelfrida daily walks 5 kms to the yoghurt factory to deliver 40 liters of milk (©Coen Wubbels)

Edited to add Aug 2017: Bevrijde Wereld changed its name and is now called Solidagro.

During Coen’s photography assignment for Bevrijde Wereld (locally called Mundo Nuevo), a Belgian NGO that supports agricultural projects with the emphasis on food safety, we visited a project focusing on women empowerment: a yoghurt factory in Koari, central Bolivia.

INCCA is one of Bevrijde Wereld’s partner organizations in Bolivia and the yoghurt factory was one of their successful projects. Soon after the start of the yoghurt factory, the women were given the opportunity to sell yoghurt to schools in Tiraque (near Cochabamba), where it would be part of the school breakfast, which meant a weekly production of 14,000 bags with 100 mls of yoghurt. How did they manage?

Continue reading

Women’s Opinions Didn’t Count – Planting Trees in Bolivia

During Coen’s photography assignment for Bevrijde Wereld, a Belgian NGO that supports agricultural projects with a focus on food safety, we visited various rural communities in Bolivia. In the village of Kolga Koya each household received six fruit trees and was instructed on how to plant and maintain them.

Planting trees? You dig a hole, put in the tree, close the hole and water the tree, right? Or is it not that simple? Continue reading

An Act of Kindness (Day 11): Opening Your Restaurant When it Isn’t Open Yet

To have internet access we depend on WIFI spots.

This is day 11 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger“. We are staying in Santa Cruz and need WIFI.

We need to get work done on the Land Cruiser, but since our workshop does not have time until tomorrow we decide to have an “online workday”, as we call it. All we need is WIFI.

Right, where can we find that? Continue reading

An Act of Kindness (Day 9): Opening the Women’s Bathroom

This is day 9 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger“. We are camping in Santa Cruz, in eastern Bolivia.

The dogs are pretty much on their own, as are the cats, as is the macaw, as is the caretaker Domingo. We are all doing our own thing in the garden at our own pace, with us mostly sitting behind our laptops as it is an “off-line working day”, as we call it.

When we arrived last night, Domingo informed us that the Private Pilot Club does have toilets but no shower. This didn’t pose a problem as we have a shower bag. It isn’t the grandest shower in the world, but it does what it has to do. Continue reading