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Edu tours

EduTours is a vehicle for you to observe the actions of non profits  working to reduce hunger and malnutrition in at risk populations. Travel with End World Hunger Foundation  to explore how innovative nonprofits support family farmers.

RWANDA Edutour 

Welcome to the Rwanda Edu Tour 2024

Our previous Edu Tour in 2019 was a huge success, thanks to the partnership of the End World Hunger Foundation and Bon Marche Thrift Store.

 

Our EduTours are designed to provide a unique travel experience that allows participants to engage with a nonprofit organization working with the local community to solve serious problems related to hunger or malnutrition in children. During the EduTour 2019, we visited Gardens for Health International in Kigali. This nonprofit organization teaches sustainable farming practices and the prevention of malnutrition in children. Participants had the opportunity to learn about farming, had a cook-off with the local community, and enjoyed a farm-to-table lunch with staff and students. They participated in the tenth anniversary of Gardens Health International. It was a joyous occasion full of fun, food, and friendship.

Participants experienced Rwanda Farmers Market; they attended a class on nutrition for pregnant women, and they visited museums in Kigali and Butare to learn about Rwanda's rich history, traditions, and culture. The visit to the Rwanda Genocidal Memorial was emotionally difficult but necessary to understand Rwanda’s history and Rwanda’s progress over the previous 25 years.

During the tour, participants explored the beautiful volcanic country of Rwanda, met its friendly people, learned its history, and saw its amazing wildlife. They visited the Nyungwe Rainforest in South West Rwanda. They engaged in different activities: bird watching, hiking, and canopy walking over the jungle to view the wildlife like chimpanzees in their habitat. For those who wanted more adventure, optional tours included a safari to Akagera Game Park and a trek to see the Ruhengeri gorillas up close and personal.

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If you're interested in participating in our next trip to Rwanda, don't hesitate to get in touch with Cathy Webber at cathyjwebber@gmail.com or call (707) 939-5016 or Anna Bimenyimana at bonmarchesonoma@gmail.com or call (707) 933-9613 or (707) 548-1377. 

We can't wait to share this amazing experience with you!

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Our upcoming EduTour in 2025 will be even more exciting.

 

We plan on spending a few days working with Gardens for Health families on a project to fight child malnutrition. This project will offer an incredible opportunity to make a difference and learn the tools used to fight child malnutrition and stunting.

Anna Bimenyimana and Cathy Webber will lead our Rwanda EduTour 2025. Anna is a founder of Bon Marche Thrift Store in Sonoma, CA), and Cathy Webber is a veteran international travel leader and End World Hunger Foundation board member.

Guatemala Edutour 

A country with a complex history and many challenges

End World Hunger Foundation (EWHF) is based in Sonoma, California. Its mission is to support nonprofits in creating food security in populations at risk of hunger and child malnutrition. With its global partners, it combats hunger and malnutrition through education, research, and fundraising. Every year, it organizes an EduTour (a mix of education and tourism), a vehicle for its members and donors to observe the actions of nonprofits working to reduce hunger and malnutrition in at-risk populations. It is an opportunity to explore how innovative nonprofits support family farmers in different regions of the World.

 

EWHF was founded on the belief that we can eradicate world hunger by 2030 with a unified effort. EWHF is dedicated to educating and inspiring people to support grassroots projects that work with farmers and farm families to feed themselves and their communities in food-vulnerable countries. 

EWHF Guatemala EduTour 2023 started on February 3, 2023, and ended on February 13, 2023.

 

14 Sonomans participated. The trip had two legs; the first included overnight in Guatemala City in the Spring Hotel, an old-fashioned Spanish heritage hotel, four days in Rabinal, a majority Mayan community, and two days in Antigua. Cathy Webber led it. The second leg included three days in San Juan with boat rides on Lake Atitlan, a visit to San Pedro for a fun and enlightening Mayan cooking class, a morning hike to Sunrise Point with a geologist, a coffee tour at La Voz, and a City tour. Tony Passantino led the second leg.

 

In addition to the tour, conversations, and activities relevant to Edu Tour's educational theme, the participants enjoyed the Guatemalan landscape through hikes and boat rides along Guatemala's mountains and lakes, famed for their beauty.

 

The highlight of the EduTour was the travel to the site of the infamous Rio Negro massacre to work with the men and women of Qachuu Aloom. The EWHF group visited the Qachuu Aloom Mother Earth Association, which oversees seed saving, microlending, nutritional education, and other programs in Rabinal and surrounding communities. With financial support from End World Hunger Foundation, Qachuu Aloom promotes and preserves native vegetable and medicinal seeds, promotes food sovereignty, and improves food security and local economies.

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The Maya Oppression

 

However, despite their cultural significance, the Maya have faced significant oppression over the last four centuries and discrimination after the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, even today. One of the most important examples of this oppression occurred during the country's 36-year civil war, which began in 1960 and ended in 1996. During this time, the government targeted indigenous communities, including the Maya people, as part of a counterinsurgency campaign. Mayan people were seen as a threat to the State; they were labeled terrorists under communist influence. This government-led campaign included massacres like the Rio Negro massacre, forced disappearances, genocide, and other human rights abuses, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 people. Many Mayans were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in the mountains and neighboring countries.

 

The Maya people still face many challenges today, including discrimination and poverty. Many live in rural areas and lack access to essential services such as healthcare and education. Additionally, they often face barriers to political participation and representation. But they did not disappear; they still constitute a considerable percentage of the Guatemalan population.

 

Economic and Political Difficulties

 

Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The country also has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the World, with the wealthiest 10% of the population holding over 40% of the country's wealth. This inequality is reflected in access to education and healthcare, with many Guatemalans lacking these essential services. The country's economy heavily depends on agriculture, with coffee being the most important export crop. Guatemala is one of the World's largest producers of sugar, coffee, and bananas; agriculture represents over 30% of their economy. Yet, it has the fourth highest rate of malnourished children in the World and the highest in Central America because most of its crops are exported to developed countries. Guatemala also contains an incredibly diverse landscape and ecology ranging from the tropical jungle to temperate highlands, with some of the most active volcanoes in the World. Unfortunately, agriculture and development increasingly encroach on forests as Guatemala strives to develop its economy to keep up with the international World. The country has struggled to diversify its economy and reduce its agricultural dependence.

 

Guatemala’s political system is characterized by corruption and instability. Political parties are often linked to powerful business interests, and numerous high-level corruption scandals have occurred in recent years. Corruption is widespread in all levels of government and has harmed the country's economic development. The government is struggling to address issues related to poverty and inequality. The country's justice system is also weak, with high impunity for murder and human rights abuses.

 

Despite these challenges, many organizations are working to address them. The End World Hunger Foundation is one such organization working to fund projects that improve access to clean water and other essential services in rural communities. In Rabinal, it worked with a local team on a project funded by End World Hunger Foundation, a Sand Dam to capture rainwater and bring clean water to the local community. The dams are critical to keeping farming viable in these remote towns.

Hope for the Future

As Guatemala continues to navigate its complex history and present challenges, it is important to recognize its strengths and struggles. Despite these challenges, many organizations are working to improve the lives of Guatemalans and promote economic development in the country. With continued support and investment, there is hope that Guatemala can overcome its difficulties and build a brighter future for its people.

The EWHF Guatemala EduTour 2023 was a 10-day immersion tour from the rural farmlands to the mountain highlands of Guatemala. This program was an intensive tour with a service opportunity to engage with Guatemala's culture, food, lifestyle, agriculture, and human and environmental health.

 

During this program, participants visited some of the incredible work being done by locals and international groups impacting food production, the environment, and the people of Guatemala

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Where is Guatemala located?

Guatemala is in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, and El Salvador to the southeast. Throughout its history, Guatemala has faced significant economic and political challenges.

 

Composition of Guatemala's Population

 

Guatemala is diverse, with a population of approximately 17 million people and various ethnic groups, including the Maya, who make up around 41% of the population. The rest of the population comprises people of European, African, and Asian descent. The Maya people are the largest indigenous group in Guatemala. Their rich cultural heritage dates back thousands of years and is still evident in the country's traditions, food, and language. The Maya civilization was one of the most advanced in the World, with a rich culture and a highly developed writing, mathematics, and astronomy system. 

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Solutions for Guatemala

 

Tourism is one of the promising solutions for Guatemala, with visitors visiting the country's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Tourism, including EduTour tourism, can also play a role in fostering understanding and supporting local communities. One example is the Guatemala EduTour 2023, organized by the End World Hunger Foundation. The tour included visits to various parts of the country, including Guatemala City, Rabinal, Antigua, and Lake Atitlan, providing participants with an opportunity to learn about Guatemala's history and culture firsthand.

 

HIKE HALF DOME

Join Sonoma Ecology Center Education program manager and backpacking trainer on a 2 night, 3-day expedition up the cables of half dome. The group will meet up on June 6th at the famous "Yosemite Bug" rustic mountain resort just outside of the park for a pre-trip meeting and orientation to the 6-person group. The next morning after a hearty breakfast we'll embark on our journey up the first section from Happy Isles into Little Yosemite Valley for a light day of hiking and early to bed for a 2 am wake-up call of piping hot coffee and oatmeal to get the blood flowing for a night hike up to the base of Half Dome and sunrise ascent along the cables to the granite peak. We'll hike back down to our cars and make for a late afternoon departure with an option to stop and celebrate our victory at a local brewery.  Tony brings with him a naturalist background, wilderness first responder training, and years of backpacking guiding. Don't have your own equipment? Don't worry, equipment can be provided upon request.

This trip is intended to “Hike and Help.” through what we call Impact Tourism. 100% of the proceeds go to support Larson Parks newly revitalized Community Garden project in partnership with Spings Hall, End World Hunger Foundation, and Sonoma Ecology Center. The funding from the event will help to restore over 20 garden plots for the local Boyes Hot Springs community. This community was identified in Blueprint of Sonoma County as one of the most underserved areas of our county and considered a "Food Desert", lacking fresh and healthy local food sources. 

We have scholarship opportunities. Please let us know if you are interested in a scholarship or want to donate to our scholarship fund!

For more information on the next trip please email Tony at tonypassantino@gmail.com 

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