Rafting with Street Children. A great experience for everyone
Having a business without helping people is not fair, it wouldn’t be a responsible business practice.
Last friday (June 20th, 2008) Barefoot Expeditions contacted a group of volunteers that help street kids. We met 30 kids that work in the streets of Quito selling candy, shining shoes, blowing fire….
In this meeting, the people from Barefoot Expeditions showed some videos and talked about whitewater rafting. Something absolutely unknown for the kids. At the end of the meeting, Barefoot Expeditions, the volunteers, the bus owner and the kids decided to do a rafting trip to the Baba river.
It was such a great experience for the kids and for the guides as well. The guides are used to go on trips with foreigners, mostly americans or europeans, and very seldom with wealthy ecuadorian families. The guides create the perfect vacation for the clients with no stress about food, money, etc. But this trip changed the way they see these trips.
On the other hand, the scars on the faces and arms of some of the kids showed us how difficult their life is. But we are happy that they remembered how to be kids and throughly enjoyed the adventure. They were very curious about the river, the birds, the plants and everything else. The kids were trying to help whenever help was needed and all of them were really into it.
At lunch time they were so excited that some of them were eating our traditional burritos as if there were not going to eat ever again. It was very intense, fun and a little heartbreaking to know that they would have to back to into the streets.
The best part of the trip was at the end when the kids thanked everybody. They said that usually they feel that people do not care about them. Now they feel kind of important because they went rafting and they know that many people in Quito –like those they shine shoes for– will never go.
I know that this experience may not change the kids’ hard lives. They still have to shine shoes and sell candy in the streets. But I am glad that with the help of a group of caring people, these kids were able to remember how is to be a kid, at least for a day. And that some of us learned something from the kids.
The group went to the Baba river, close to Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. It is a class II-III river in the western slopes of the Andes, they all had a great time. Check some pictures of the trip below.
If you want to help us help the kids please contact us through this form. You are welcome to sponsor more rafting trips for the kids if you like. You can also send toys, food or clothes. Truly, one of the things the kids need the most is education and shelter but they can’t afford it. If you think you can help us make the kids’ lives better please do not hesitate to contact us. we would be glad to collaborate with you.