As you have already read in various articles, we support rural tourism, which means for us: supporting our local partners in their participation in the local tourism development. To do this, we hired Léa for three months for a rural tourism training. She did an internship in responsible and rural tourism in two communities.
Lea did a lot of work! She was accepted and respected by the communities, adapted to a lifestyle very different from ours. But above all, she was able to motivate entrepreneurs and guide them in their choice and development.
Article by Léa Maspeyrat – Rural tourism training
On August 1st, 2018, I finished my missions in the communities of Cuispes and Leymebamba in northern Peru.
Before I left France, I was rather worried about having to give meetings (training) to people I did not know and especially in a foreign language. I also dreaded the fact of not being able to coordinate all the missions that had been entrusted to me by Phima Voyages. In the end, despite some difficulties I was able to overcome these apprehensions and took pleasure in animating each of these collective and personal meetings with the inhabitants of the communities.
The implementation of a community rural tourism project is far from obvious.
It takes a lot of patience and pedagogy. As much as possible I followed the instructions of Martina and Philippe so that the progress of this project is realized in a serious and effective way for the inhabitants as well as for the travel agency.
About feelings and what I learned from this experience
In this kind of adventure, and as everywhere else, there are some difficult moments. But as time goes by, these moments make us feel lucky to be there, to live exactly that in exactly this moment. It is normal that initially only a few people are interested in the project. You just have to wait for a person or two to engage in the project and then things progress step by step. The perfect example is the community of Leymebamba, of which I am very proud of their enourmous progress.
As I have said so many times in the past three months, everything must be done “step by step”.
It was a tiring experience, but above all very rewarding. I feel more confident today about my future career choices. I learned a lot, I received a lot from the locals. The most beautiful thing they could have given me is certainly their confidence. It was so magical to feel, that you held them a hand and that they can trust you. I liked every end of our meetings. I could not sleep for a while because I thought too much about the exchange that had just happened, the emotions I had just felt, the excitment of transmitting, showing that we believe in them and that they can trust in us.
I hope with all my heart that they will have learned a few things and that it will motivate them to continue. When I ended the last meetings in both communities, I told them that it was very important that they do their different activities with envy, not obligation. They can improve but must above all stay “themselves” with their ideas and their desires.
This immersion within the local community has been quite strong, both personally and professionally. I felt like family at Cuispes which made the departure quite difficult. I became aware of the living conditions in which some live, it was a real change for me. The first trip I did that disoriented me so much. I think this immersion into the local community has confirmed some values and desires that I already had before coming. In other words, I want to have a profession that makes sense, that can help the other and be useful to him.
Today I realize how difficult it is to work in the fields, to live in the Peruvian countryside when we know our Western way of life. I sometimes mixed personal life with professional life, but that’s what I think is happening in this kind of project that is rural community tourism.
You have to be close to the people, listen to them, try to understand them and work at their own pace with their desires and ideas. I hope to return one day to see them again and the progress they have made.
Every day has been a surprise, a discovery and an enrichment. I had the chance to participate in the first meeting of the Americas on Community Rural Tourism in Moyobamba as representative of PHIMA VOYAGES, then of course to share with Martina this experience in Chiriaco with Awajun communities.
Concerning the Phima Voyages team, I am very happy to have met them all, be it Jhon, Martina or Philippe as well as all the other people met during these three months.
I was very attached to the missions that were entrusted to me and to the people with whom I worked. This is also why I realized each of them with passion and envy.
THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING PHIMA VOYAGES.