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KAYA Responsible Travel

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Oct 9th, 2011, 07:16 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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KAYA Responsible Travel

Hello.

I´m in Bolivia at the moment (Cochabamba to be exact), and I´m considering doing some voluntary work whilst I´m here. I was thinking about signing up with a company from Manchester, England (my home town) called Kaya Responsible Travel to make all the arrangements for me - but I´m having serious doubts.

I´ve been speaking to people in on-line forums who have been on volunteer projects with them, and they said their experience was a bit of a disaster.

Some things they mentioned br />
Nobody at the airport to meet them, and having to get their own way to their accommodation - and then, no one at home to let them in.

Projects changed at the last minute, or nothing definite arranged until they arrived.

No contact details for the Project Manager, who they saw only a couple of times during their stay - and actually getting more help from the Project Manager from a different company.

In the accommodation - a bicycle chain wrapped round the fridge to stop volunteers getting to the milk. (!!!)

Dry crackers for breakfast.

And this is the killer punch as far as I see it - children in their accommodation throwing the volunteers things over the balcony into the street !

So, my question - Does anyone have any experience of volunteering with Kaya Responsible Travel, or know anyone who has ?

PLEASE tell me it´s not as bad as I´ve been told !

Thanks. Jillian.
Jill1066 is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2011, 10:54 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,857
You don't say how many people you've talked with online, but I take it it's mutiple individuals. If this is the pattern to what you've been hearing, then I'd be very reluctant to get involved with this organization.

I have no personal experience myself.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2011, 04:11 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Hi Jillian,

I am the Director of Kaya and very concerned to hear these stories. I assure you that our operations in Bolivia are working with great projects and I can put you in touch with past volunteers for you to speak to.

Moreover, if you are already in Cochabamba, we would be very happy for you to come and visit the accommodation and meet our coordinator before you signed up, if that would help.

The have had a couple of incidents at the airport where the flight information we have been provided has been incorrect and the coordinator was there at a different time, but I assure you of the many of volunteer that visit each year, these have been isolated incidents.

We had one homestay family we worked with whose toddler started the get a bit of a handful and did throw some items out of a window one evening. Following that incident, we spoke with the family and agreed that until the child was out of his ‘terrible twos’ and a little older they would not host volunteers.

As for the bike chain....we have certainly received no reports of this (I am going to look into whether this might have been some Bolivian-style child-lock for that same unruly toddler, which is the only possible explanation - I’ll let you know) Food wise, I assure you that Bolivians are so very hospitable that volunteers tend to come away a few pounds heavier from their stays, so I hope you will give us a chance to show you around, as you are already out there, so you can see for yourself before you make up your mind.

Best wishes.
Heilwig
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