Friday, August 31, 2007

Volunteer With Kids In Medellin, Colombia

Anyone interested in doing something postitive in their lives by helping others who are in need of assistance? Well, here's your oppurtunity to make a difference in the world today. "How?" you ask. Visit www.idealist.org and discover how you can contribute by changing someone's life. What a great way to discover Medellin, Colombia by volunteering today.

The following is a brief description about the "Volunteer With Kids Colombia" program.

The Colombia Kids project is based on a farm high in the Andes mountain range near the vibrant city of Medellin.

The project includes an outreach programme for the street children, free education, day centres and the farm provides a safe retreat away from the many temptations of the city.

The children are provided with English classes, lessons in Spanish, arts, music, sports and various vocational training. We support a health programme, psychologist as well as providing all the nutritional needs of the children.

The project focuses on the young and vulnerable to assist them in finding a way out of the trap of poverty and to train them in vocational skills so that they can become contributing members to their families and society.

Globalteer Farm - Provides a safe place for the children to live, learn and play. The farm houses up to 120 children as well as staff and volunteers. The farm sits at an altitude of 2000 metres in the Andes affording fantastic views of the valley below. The children are taught various subjects at the farm as well as being able to learn skills for their future such as carpentry, cooking and animal husbandry. There is also a sports field where the children can play in safety, and learn to be part of a team.
Volunteers - Assist the local staff and teach in Spanish or English. Play sports, arts and fun activities. Assist in the running of the farm and teach the children vocational skills.

Adventures like these last a lifetime filled with many incredible memories. Why not volunteer today? As they say, "Life Is Too Short.

I for one, can't wait for my return to Medellin in September!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to Sell Colombia Now

Here's an interesting article regarding traveling to Colombia that I thought some of you may find interesting, especially for those travelers who have been thinking about exploring Colombia, hopefully soon.

American Airlines To Hold 1st Annual
Colombia TrAAvel Exchange
In Medellin, Colombia December 4 - 8, 2007

“Now is the time to promote this beautiful country and its wonderful tourism destinations and products!” Peter J. Dolara, Senior Vice President - American Airlines

American Airlines expects over 200 Travel Agents from the United States and Canada, and 75 Suppliers from all of Colombia to participate in the first annual Colombia TrAAvel Exchange in Medellin December 4-8, 2007, at the Plaza Major Convention Center in Medellin.

The American Airlines Colombia TrAAvel Exchange format will include detailed seminar presentations about Colombia travel destinations, “How to Sell Colombia Now” workshops, a Travel Exposition featuring pre-scheduled meetings between Travel Agents and Colombia Exhibitors/Suppliers, site inspections of participating host hotels, sponsored food and social functions, and Medellin city tours.

Colombia Supplier Registration Fees are $795 including one (1) delegate, one 2m X 3m stand with a table, 4 chairs, lights, sign, and pre-scheduled meetings with travel agents. Additional Supplier delegates will pay $165.

American Airlines is offering registered Travel Agents special discounted air fares of $100 from USA and Canada; fares do not include taxes and fees.

Peter J. Dolara, American Airlines Senior Vice President – Miami, Caribbean, Latin America said: “Medellin is an important part of our American Airlines service to Colombia, and we think this is the right time to help promote this beautiful country by focusing attention on this very special destination. We believe this Colombia TrAAvel Exchange can have a significant impact on increasing North America tourism business to Colombia, and we are proud to be working with our Colombia Travel Industry Partners to make it a success.”


This is the type of program that will help promote the positive side of Colombia. Especially from the Colombia Americans have come to know, because this is not the Colombia we have seen too often depicted in the "MOVIES."

COLOMBIA is changing, "From Fear To Hope."

Check out the video "Vive Colombia!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Locating Medellin, Colombia on a map



Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina contestant steals The Miss Teen USA with an eloquent and lucid answer to a very difficult question.

Question: Why 20% of Americans can't locate US on a map?

Answer: Transcript...

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us."

POP QUIZ: Can you locate Medellin, Colombia on the map?

Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

To be honest, I must admit the only reason I can locate the United States on a map is because that is what they taught us when I was in grammer school.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Medellin's Mayor promotes change, "from fear to hope."

Medellin's non-conformist mayor, Sergio Fajardo, who attended the University of Wisconsin, is working to change the image of Medellin, Colombia. Fajardo has been aggressively courting foreign governments and businesses to invest in Medellin. It seems to be working as investers have been quick to respond, which has helped nurture Medellin's budding revival. There seems to be new construction and urban development in every neighborhood you visit. One only needs to take a drive around Medellin to witness the building boom that has helped transform this beautiful city into one of South America's greatest treasures.

The transformation of Medellin has attracted travelers from around the world to visit "The City Of Eternal Spring."

Click for more information regarding Sergio Fajardo's philosophy.

Medellin In Transformation

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Traveling To Medellin, Colombia

My first trip, June 2007...

When I booked my first trip to Medellin I did not know what to expect based on all the negative media reports in the US regarding Colombia. It seemed that whenever I informed any of my friends, family and colleagues about my planned trip to Colombia, they all thought I was crazy. My flight was already booked and my hotel room was already reserved, so no turning back now. I was going to Colombia!

I did not come across any kidnappers upon my arrival. But, what I did discover was a wonderful magical world-class metropolitan city in South America. The culture, the food, the music, the warm weather, salsa clubs, vibrant nightlife, lots of modern and interesting architecture throughout the city, amazing views from the metrocable, a much superior metro system compared to the one back home. And a pleasant surprise that was not mentioned in any of the trip reports I read before my departure, an incredible expansive water park to rival anything in the states. I spent a whole day relaxing at "El Parque de Aguas" and found it to be a very enjoyable experience which divided my trip. I had a great time watching the locals spend their weekend running around the park with friends and family enjoying the beautiful weather and experiencing the varies water rides available. There were many families who brought blankets and picnic baskets filled with typical Colombian dishes along with treats for the children to enjoy.

There are parks everywhere were the locals meet to socialize and talk about the daily news as well as current events. Old men sit on park benches snacking on fresh fruit, sharing treats with the birds, which also seem to enjoy mixing with the locals. Young mothers busy taking care of their babies while the older children run around playing. The children are very friendly and love to play games and joke around with friends and tourist alike.

More importantly, what separates Medellin from other travel destinations are the generous and friendly locals known as Paisas (pie-sahs). I traveled to Medellin alone but never felt so much at home due to the fact that the Paisas made me feel like family. Everyone I met was eager to show off their great city. I was constantly being invited to travel across town to see many of the wonderful places a new visitor to Medellin must see during their trip.

One of the most frequently asked questions was, “What part of town does your family live in Medellin?” I told them I did not have any family in Medellin. To which they replied, “Who do you know in Medellin?” I said I did not know anyone. They all thought I was crazy but then responded with a smile, “You now have friends and family in Medellin.”

The only negative comment I have about my incredible experience in Medellin is that I put on a few extra pounds because almost everyone I met invited me to their home for a traditionally home cooked Colombian dinner, which I was always more than happy to accept all invitations. :-) The Paisas are great at making you feel at home in a foreign country.

The first thing I did upon my return to the states was book another trip. I have since been back and already have a third trip planned this year for my return to Medellin, Colombia.

Tip: I would strongly suggest anyone interested in visiting Medellin to brush up on their Spanish because there are not too many Paisas who speak English. No worries, an English program has now been added as part of the student courses. Medellin takes pride and promotes reading in all its educational institutions as part of its transformation into a world class destination for travelers from around the world to visit.

This blog was created to promote the positive side of Medellin. It will be updated with the latest news, articles, information, trip reports and recommendations for those who are interested in traveling to the city of eternal spring.

Vive Colombia! I love Medellin!