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Author: Anna Cunningham

South America

Orientation in Cusco

Here are a few things you learn your first few days in Cusco:

1) Walking uphill is terrible, especially at 3500m above sea level.

2) Peruvian food is delicious (potatoes and rice? Okay!), and Peruvian liquor is even better (I’m not sure if they sell Pisco in North America but I intend to find out).

3) The temperature drop at nighttime is no joke. You will need the Alpaca wool sweater, mittens, and toque that Gordon and Meg suggested you buy.

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South Asia

Pitching in at the Golden Temple

During the late summer India: Gender and Religion program, participants visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Here, two participants reflect on their experiences pitching in on the temple’s daily tasks.

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South America

Cultural Exchange

Cultural exchange allows tourists to connect with their native host in a significant and meaningful way. Exploring Peru and its multiple cultures has been both challenging and rewarding. As an observant Jew, keeping kosher in Peru has been challenging.

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South Asia

Orientation in Delhi

On the day of my arrival in India, Christophe picked me up at the airport. As I walked out and felt the stickiness in the air, I knew something untamed and wild would be coming. I just didn’t know when. We rode the metro all the way from the airport to our stop in New Delhi, and began to climb the mountain of steps which eventually led to the street where we would begin a half mile walk to our hotel.

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Southeast Asia

Sustainable Farming with Ockenden

The first stop we made in Cambodia was to volunteer with Ockenden, a non-governmental organization focused on promoting permaculture and sustainable farming practices. On July 16, after our last night with mattresses for a while, we headed to our home stay to drop off our bags. Perhaps the most rural part of our adventure, our home stay consisted of bamboo mats to sleep on, bucket showers, and plenty of red Cambodian mud.

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South America

The Coffee in Your Cup

You drink coffee. Or the person sitting next to you in the cafe does. Maybe it’s a morning ritual, maybe it accompanies your dessert, maybe you’re in college and it’s essential to your sanity.

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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia in Photos

Two of the participants on our Southeast Asia: Animal Conservation program are working towards displaying their photography in an exhibit and fundraiser once they’re back in Toronto. When we asked if they’d like to contribute to the Operation Groundswell blog, they enthusiastically replied that they would love to share some of their photography work.

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Southeast Asia

Cast Your Stone

It’s hard to say what I expected as I planned my departure for six weeks in Southeast Asia. I had many hopes, expectations, goals, and fears. The anticipation of the upcoming trip had my mind busy with things I looked forward to, and ultimately, how I wanted to learn and grow from all these new experiences to come. Because of this, these thoughts partly sheltered my mind from the realities of the cultures I would be experiencing.

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Circle

“Remember, sharing is completely up to you. If you’d like to pass, that’s completely okay,” Steph whispered. She paused for a moment before asking her thought-provoking question: What goals and fears do we have coming into Peru? She then gently placed the carved stick into the hands of the group member to her right, folded her own together and sat quietly.

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South Asia

Sweat and Humanity in Delhi

It’s hard to capture what New Delhi was like for us as newcomers to a country, continent, and culture so different (yet so similar in many ways) from our own. The first few days seemed like whirlwind (without a lot of wind) of heat, excitement, apprehension, awe, fear, and appreciation…

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Hubs

Operation Groundswell’s Hub in San Juan – Tackling Guatemala’s Problems One Small Plot of Land at a Time

Spearheaded by Ben and now run by the wonderful Christine, the OG Hub in Guatemala is a small space in which large ideas take root. Thinking of the many issues in Guatemala, the Hub seeks to help show locals – not just tell them – different ways to tackle some of the many problems the country currently faces. More than that, the Hub seeks to learn from the local people; to create an environment of cross-cultural exchange and healing “un poco, un poco” at a time.

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Hubs

The Rights and Resistance of Guatemala in Photos

Jake Borg was a participant on this year’s inaugural Rights and Resistance program. He beautifully captured his experience in Guatemala in a series of photos, below, which we’ve put together chronologically as a photo essay. You can find more from Jake on his Instagram.

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