Experience a different way to surf with GIVE AND SURF in Bastimentos
Have you ever been sitting at your computer dreaming of living a different life? Doing something completely outside the box? Making a difference in the world? All the while living life in paradise? I think most of us have had these thoughts. Neil Christiansen did, and after a lot of time spent contemplating and planning he left his high stress world and moved to our beautiful archipelago, Bocas Del Toro. The love of surfing brought Neil to a friends place in Bastimentos. He knew he wanted to create a non-profit organization of some sort, but was in the very beginning stages of deciding what the cause might be. And, as so many times before, the magic Bocas universe brought Neil together with Henry and Margret, owners of a jungle lodge in Bahia Honda, a village on the island of Bastimentos very close to Red Frog Beach. Bastimentos is one of the largest islands in the archipelago and has a little bit of everything, beautiful beaches, snorkeling spots, great surfing, tropical jungles and bat caves.
What came out of the meeting between Neil and Henry and Margret was an ecofriendly playground in the indigenous village. Everything blossomed from there, and Give and Surf was born. Give and Surf is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create sustainability within the indigenous community through partnerships and volunteers. The volunteer program is fee based and a good part of the available budget comes from the volunteer program. There are many options for volunteers, including length of stay and varying types of accommodations depending on adventure level. Of course there are several work opportunities available. There is an After-School program, adult English Courses and a baseball team. There are also project based jobs, in the past Give and Surf has created and opened a community playground, made updates and improvements to the water system, school building maintenance and beach cleanups, most recently a new kitchen and dining room. Almost all volunteers will have the chance to spend some time in the pre-school.
Perhaps the biggest and brightest accomplishment of Give and Surf is the Monso Chi Escuelita, Little Kids Preschool. Opened in September 2011, the preschool currently has over 20 students aged 3 through 5 attending daily. The village is very remotely located on the water and the homes are spread far apart. So Neil goes out each morning in his boat to pick up the kids and bring them back to school. They have a full day with lessons and activities that allow them to learn Spanish and English. The students are read to, and do different forms of arts and crafts. They are treated to special performances and get a few field trips. The school is an important addition to the community and will benefit everyone in the village one way or another!
The staff is great, the projects and jobs awesome, but maybe the coolest part and definite bonus is spending time on Bastimentos, and enjoying all the surrounding islands. The activities are for every taste. You can explore our amazing coral reefs while snorkeling or diving, hike through the jungle, tour a crazy bat cave, take a boat tour to Bird Island, take the canopy tour and glide over the jungle or enjoy the nightlife in Bocas town. Of course the biggest activity is surfing, for the experts and the beginners, surf lessons and boards are available to the volunteers. After all it is called Give and Surf. If you would like more information or have questions about the program please check out their website giveandsurf.org.
Give and Surf has plans to work with this village for many years, and great things will be happening, with things getting easier for the people every day. For Neil it is not about acknowledgement, it is about deep relationships between people, it is about empowering a village of 200 individuals to be self sufficient, it is about allowing other people to live, even for a brief time, that dream of changing the world, a little island village at a time. Now it is your turn! Come and experience our wonderful island paradise and be part of Give and Surf’s volunteer project.
If you would like to make a donation please send the check to GIVEANDSURF 361 palm Island Ln- Vero Beach FL 32963
web site www.giveandsurf.org
contact to: email@example.com