A few months ago I met up with a lovely lady called Kelly and we had a long chat about the organisation she runs, Andaman Discoveries.
A bit of history - Andaman Discoveries was born from the work of NATR (North Andaman Tsunami Relief) which was an independent, non-profit, non-religious organisation set up by a man called Bodhi Garrett after he lost everything when the tsunami hit the Andaman Coast in 2004. NATR worked with the villagers in the worst affected areas and together they managed to implement over 120 different projects all aimed at proving long-term, sustainable income to the region that will not have an adverse affect on either their environment or traditional way of life. One of the main opportunities identified was in the field of community-based tourism and when NATR closed it's doors Andaman Discoveries stepped in. You can now visit the area (Last year the lovely JJ visited and you can read about her experiences here), stay with a Thai family in their home and experience their way of life whilst learning about their culture and the environment in which they live.
JJ had such an amazing trip that Carolyn and I decided that we would organise a BWG Welfare Trip so tomorrow 11 of us will be getting up at the crack of dawn to start our adventure on the Andaman Coast.
I am so excited!!! We are going to be staying in two different villages, planting orchids in the jungle, taking part in a workshop run by the Tsunami Batik Co-operative, learning how to make roti pancakes, weaving Nipa palm roofing, taking part in a workshop run by the Tsunami Soap Co-operative and helping with the restoration of the Mangroves. I think it's going to be rather amazing!! (although I have to admit that I am not looking forward to spending four days sitting on the floor and having to use a squat for a toilet - still.....it's all character building isn't it!!)