The Ultimate Gap Year in South America? We think so!
Phase 1: Spanish Language Training
To help you get the most out of your time on the project, the team begins this expedition with a three week intensive Spanish course at our dedicated institute in Sucre, Bolivia. Four hours per day, Monday to Friday tuition in groups of 2-3, will give you the opportunity to either get an excellent grounding in the language, or if you already speak some, the chance to perfect your skills.
Phase 2: Inti Wara Yassi – rescued wildlife conservation
Since 2002, Quest has been working to support the Inti Wara Yassi wild animal refuges in the Bolivian Amazon. These refuges exist to give a home to animals rescued from captivity in circuses or for sale as pets, returning them to their natural habitat with a quality of life that they deserve. The majority of the animals cannot be released as they could no longer survive in the wild, so thanks to the efforts of our teams we are helping to buy up more land and construct the infrastructure in which to house them, as well as giving them the daily care they need.
Your team’s role is twofold, helping to construct enclosures for new arrivals, as well as supporting the local staff in the daily care of the animals already in the refuge. The construction of a 40m x 40m puma enclosure for example is tough work, carrying rocks, sand, cement and fencing into the middle of the jungle. Without your help though, these centres will not be able to reach out to the many animals still in serious need of a home.
Alongside this, each member of the team will be given responsibility for the care of one animal in the park, anything from a monkey to a hawk, or an ocelot to a puma. While some animals are being prepared for release into the wild, many just need care and attention to help them settle into their new home. Building a bond with a wild animal is something words cannot describe.
Phase 3: Expedition
Following your project, head off for three weeks on a breath taking expedition through Bolivia and into Peru. Go sandboarding down the dunes of Huacachina, sea-kayak across the highest navigable lake in the world and complete a hidden route into (and out of!) the famous Colca Canyon.
Phase 4: Villa Maria Project – Community support and outreach
Quest has been working in the shanty town of Villa Maria on the outskirts of Lima since 1997. What started out as a simple programme of games and activities over the Peruvian summer holidays (Jan-Mar) has now grown into a year round project, with schools, house construction and community outreach all being supported by our teams and local project staff.
With a population of over 750,000, Villa Maria is a text book example of rural urban migration. Communities from all over Peru have settled here, often without any support from the government, building their homes with anything they could get their hands on. With parents often both working long hours throughout the week, children are left to fend for themselves, with the risk of falling into bad habits such as drugs, gangs and crime a real and present one. Our aim here is a simple one, to help give the younger kids a focus for their time – sport, art, dance, music – so that when they do grow up, the risk of being led astray is reduced.
Our gap year team is in Villa Maria in the Peruvian Spring, what better time to build a vulnerable family a new house. We can think of no bigger impact we can achieve in 10 days that providing a struggling family with 4 strong falls and a reliable roof. Mix this with entertaining hundreds of children left to the streets: Sports tournaments, stages shows and children’s fetes are just some of the things that can this a time they will never forget. Be a human climbing frame, a clown, dress up as Mickey Mouse and arrange a 50-a-side tug-o-war all in the same day! Living in the heart of Villa Maria, you will become part of the community and experience a life so far removed from your own. At the same time, you will be giving genuine support to the children in the district.
Phase 5: Expedition
Head north from the project up to the famous glaciers of the Huayhuash circuit, Huaraz, try surfing on the steady waves of the Pacific ocean, white water raft through the Andean valleys and finish it all off with the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – an assault on the senses!