On Thursday, September 15, HI Richmond celebrated its one year anniversary, and presented the Richmond Explore the World Scholarships to the winners. If you missed the celebration, check our Facebook page to see a photo album of the evening!
Last month we spoke with two of Richmond’s Explore the World scholarship winners, Rachel and Kevin. This month we spoke to the other two winners - Joshua and Brian.
What motivates you?
Joshua: I am motivated by people around me—people who are visionaries for social justice, tangible change and spiritual growth. I have a tendency to feed off of other people’s passions and invest myself intentionally in those circles.
Brian: I like to learn about people, the world, and everything else so that I can have a better understanding and be capable of creating change.
What’s an especially moving travel experience you’ve had?
Joshua: I have had a chance to travel to Argentina in the past, and witness firsthand, the repercussions of systematic governmental violence against its people. Exploring prisons in Buenos Aires where political prisoners were captured and killed was very moving for me.
Brian: An especially moving travel experience of mine, in which I was able to learn a great deal about people and culture, was a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with the United Methodist Church ‘Voices of Youth’ program in 2011. I traveled to the impoverished town of Cuesta Arena where our mission group helped dig a clean water well and prepare floors in a school. The impact that our work had on the community was unimaginable and our interactions with the people of Cuesta Arena were eye-opening.
Where are you traveling with the CHF scholarship, and why?
Joshua: Back to Argentina! I want to explore “El Norte” again, partnering with a non-profit up there to make a documentary on human trafficking that happens discreetly within indigenous communities there.
Brian: With the help of the CHF Scholarship I traveled to Ecuador during the summer of 2016 for a VCU study abroad program in leadership and engagement. I had the immense pleasure of planting gardens and doing landscaping work for the Christian non-profit organization, Casa Victoria, in the capital city of Quito. I learned about the local community and its leadership structure, and had the pleasure of sharing in the vision of the owners of Casa Victoria for transforming the lives of those served by their non-profit. In addition to my service work there, I was able to explore the central highlands of Ecuador by visiting the Bella Vista Cloud Forest Reserve, Tungurahua Volcano, and participating in white water rafting, canyoning, zip lining, and other adventures in the town of Banos.
What advice would you offer for travelers?
Joshua: Live day by day! Expect that things will work themselves out, give yourself over to having faith and going with the flow as life comes at you…just remember to buy solid walking shoes beforehand!
Brian: The best advice that I could give to travelers is to utilize hostels as they travel. I enjoyed a wonderful stay at a local eco-friendly hostel, Casa Verde, in Banos. The hostel managers had a vast knowledge of the local community and were able to help us plan our adventures, provide us advice and recommendations, communicate effectively in Spanish, and made our stay a welcoming one! You are not as likely to receive such personal and valuable service anywhere else. You also get the chance to learn about the people you are staying with and the interactions you have with them are life changing!