Those of you that follow me on social media know that I went on a couple trips recently. It started with Nicaragua, then onto Envision Fest in Costa Rica, over to Oahu, Hawaii, and lastly a tour of the Sunshine and Gold Coasts of Australia. Whenever I travel I make a conscience effort to be as open minded as possible. I try not to let previous experiences or prejudices influence my opinion of a place. Often what you have been led to believe about a place or told via the numerous know-it-all’s out there is wrong.
Before going to Nicaragua all anyone could tell me was how dangerous it was and how careful I had to be. Knowing that they all had good intentions and only told me because they cared I smiled and told them I would be careful, and we were. I was lucky enough to be traveling with my best friend who has also been to less developed countries and is a savvy traveler. We took all the precautions that any traveler traveling anywhere should take. Not flashing around money, not walking around after dark in unlit, unpopulated areas, keeping extra copies of our passports etc. We didn’t have any trouble at all. I mean sure we probably got ripped off a few times since we were obviously Americans. Then when we noticed the big brown eyed, diaper clad little boy hiding in the back of the shop, which is obviously where the family home is also located, suddenly we realized it wasn’t a big deal losing a few extra dollars on souvenir Nicaragua T-shirt.
The thing that touched me the most about the entire whirl wind adventure was the poverty in Nicaragua. I knew it was a third world country, I knew it would be poor and dirty, but I think I was still unprepared for the amount of trash. Even in Granada which is a fairly touristy and well-visited city was filthy. There is a very primitive system for waste disposal which we observed while we were staying in Playa Maderas, 15 minute bus ride outside of San Juan del Sur. Basically it was an unconstrained dump. For half a mile in either direction there was trash and litter of all kind. The dump was a giant field manned by a single man who created small fires here and there in an attempt to destroy some of it, and flocks of vultures.
When I got home that image of the dump, the lone man and the vultures stayed with me. What can we do for countries with little to no infrastructure? How can we help them grow their own community without coming in and dumping money hoping it goes into the right programs? I came across the company GlobeIn with a mission to do just that:
GlobeIn is dedicated to supporting artisans from all walks of life with an emphasis on artisans in the developing world where, after agriculture, artisan goods are the second largest source of employment. GlobeIn is dedicated to reducing poverty by giving these artisans, and subsequently their communities, a global audience.
In addition each month, they select one exceptional artisan or artisan collective and ask the community to help crowd-fund a special project. This month I was able to receive the Refresh Box in addition to amazing fair-trade, handmande, artisan products I received an informational brochure that explained where all of them came from. You can find out even more detailed descriptions on their website.
Sometimes it can be really hard knowing there are places like Nicaragua that need a helping hand and I’m so limited in my ability to make an impact. Sure my tourism helped, buying little souvenirs, but that’s nothing grand scale. I have to remind myself that
“The man who moves a mountain, starts by carrying away small stones”.
I feel that GlobeIn has the same concept. Promoting greater social conscious and making us aware of the cultures, lifestyles, and hardships of different people and communities around the world. It’s a small step that could lead to a greater global connection. So if you’re looking for a way to give back and find some truly amazing and unique products along the way go check out GlobeIn.