World Challenge Expedition
7 reviews from the community
Review of "World Challenge Expedition"
Traveling with $6.00 budget for food - at least that was what the World Challenge kids where telling us at the front desk here in OmetepeI was forced to become an ambulance driver, translator, coordinator and the bridge between the hospital staff in the Ometepe Island, as the ability to be bilingual is critical. The students aren't aware whom they are calling in order to make reservations for transportation, or even whether the people they are contacting are certified to transport tourists. They have to choose between heavily overcrowded, blandly maintained chicken buses - very old converted American School buses - or someone that was recommended to them for a particular transport.
In order to meet their budgets, students have to choose the options available to them and make decisions based on the extremely low daily budget. As a direct result of this, they each eat a huge amount of junk food; the system in place forces them to go the unhealthy way every day.We love having British organized groups here, because of their commitment to education and the leadership skills they develop. The leadership skills could be improved immensely by spending more resources on them. Jamie Oliver would have a heart attack if he were to happen to travel with the students. The entire 30 days process which students undergo is not what it purports to be, and is in fact a relentless pursuit of unhealthy decisions, foisted upon the students by the overly tight budget.
The idea of sustainability is not understood in the communities that you are all visiting, and the amount of trash generated by the groups is intense. Please consider the fact that they are visiting a National Park, live in a conservation area and it is an island, and therefore a natural bottleneck for trash.The ideal situation would be one in which students are making decisions based on their healthy nutritional needs as a top priority, rather than rushing into supermarkets to buy unhealthy food in order to meet the very low food budgets. Fresh produce bought from our road stands, whilst cheap, does not meet the required standards of sanitation, and the same goes with most of most of our restaurants that are serving food for our local population.
Whilst it is ostensibly possible to travel extremely cheaply in Nicaragua, the inevitable result of such obsessive cost-cutting is paying the price either through suffering with illness or a local hospital.From my point of view. The definition of camping is taken to an extreme - it should not be necessary for the students to have to sleep in tents and have to prepare their own food when there is cheap accommodation and healthy food available.
With all the extreme limitations that our poor healthcare system has, it performed flawlessly. The nurses getting them all (five of them) on IV fluids, antibiotics, etc. deserve medals for their outstanding work.In my opinion. The current standards are one sided, and are very sustainable and prosperous for the British tour operators. Nicaragua as a whole is getting the short end of the stick by not attracting tourists that have sufficient funds to survive in Nicaragua, and as result we get people that are getting sick in the county. This negatively affects the image of Nicaragua that is projected by these tourists overseas, which in turn is damaging to our society and our economic development.
I warned of the nascent dangers of the sort of expedition British tour operators are offering in 2006, in a letter to The Independent in London, yet there does not appear to have been much in the way of improvement of the situation.Alvaro Molina
Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
Product Information : World Challenge Expedition
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Listed on Ciao since: 20/02/2008