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During the first months of the academy we sought out local entrepreneurs who could support our Agents by giving them grants to cover the cost of our trip to mainland Ecuador in exchange of our participants going through internships with their companies. Bryan’s sponsor was Juan Manuel Salcedo a local tourism operator and owner of a boat called Samba that specializes in wildlife observation cruises around the archipelago. His internship consisting on going on board Samba with Juan Manuel, one of the best naturalists guides in the Galapagos, and learn as much as possible about the natural history of the islands. This was the first time that Bryan had the opportunity of visiting the archipelago and of watching some of our most emblematic endemic species.
After a week on board Samba I went to the main dock of Puerto Ayora to welcome Bryan back home. He got off from the dingy looking relaxed, wearing a slightly oversized t-shirt that was giving to him as a present by another passenger from the United States, and looking like he had seen the 7 wonders. He rambled on about all the snorkeling he had done with sea lions, about going to Fernandina, one of the most pristine islands in the world, how he had woken up early in the morning to see whales swim by the boat. He also told me how he had seen in certain islands trash being washed up on to the shore. He was impressed by it and didn’t like it at all. He came back from the cruise knowing that he would like to do something about it and that his initiative should be related some how with waste management. Little by little he went on developing his idea until it grew into what he presented on the 21 of July to our local community.
Robert Balfour, Program Coordinator – Academy of Agents of Change