I wasn't sure what to expect with this program, as it was my first volunteer experience abroad. The program was to be dedicated to volunteering in sustainable organic agriculture, yoga, meditation, and hiking. Of course it delivered these things, but what sets Operation Groundswell apart is its dedication to meaningful learning and integration with the local culture. To elaborate, over 2 years later, the activities and discussions in which we partook still resonate with me. The delivery, combined with 2 INCREDIBLE group leaders (Gordon and Meg, you two are the bees' knees!!!), are exceptionally important to create a profound experience that you will take with you back into your own community, and future backpacktivism.
This program is not something that will be handed to you in a nice little package, but rather an invitation to engage with a new environment, new people, a new culture. OG goes to great lengths to ensure you truly have the opportunity to integrate with local communities, with the goal of great impact on both parties.
While the physical labour we offered the farm was certainly helpful for their progress, equally important was our understanding the challenges they face, especially in engaging their own community with their goals. Be prepared to be fully unplugged and immersed during this process!
In addition to volunteering, you will be signing up for some great adventuring - we climbed many a'mountain, with some yoga and meditation along the way! Overall, I must say the personal growth opportunity is exceptional in this program, and I am confident that OG has done an outstanding job structuring their trips to benefit everyone involved.
If you are considering becoming a backpacktivist, rest assured that OG is the right organization to take you on that journey!