For the past four years the months’ of February and March have always been the most constructive time for the Karikuy Organization. A time where I find myself in front of a computer for hours either updating the website, running our annual contest, conducting volunteer interviews or working on the day to day administration of the organization. These two months are generally slower for Karikuy Tours Peru as the travel season in the country begins to gain momentum in April and peak in August. February and March give me ample time to put my thinking cap on and really work on the organization and our future projects as a whole. For that reason I want to share our progress with those of you keeping up to date with Karikuy and the work being done on our programs and website.
For the past month I have been updating the website for a sleeker look as well as incorporating social media such as Twitter and Facebook into our tour pages. I hope to have the entire website updated by the end of March. This is a big and tedious project that takes a lot of long nights and Mountain Dew as all the coding work is done with HTML and CSS. Once I have the basic structure down for this new design then it will become easier to update. After all being a travel company means that we have new prices coming out every year so all the pricing on the website must be updated accordingly at least once a year. As a Karikuy Tours customer you might not realize it but one of the reasons that our prices are so low is because we don’t hire anyone to do these updates, instead I do them all myself with a little help from Snickers and Maruchan Instant Noodles.
So what are some new things we are planning for the site? in the next week or so we are going to refine our system for handling donations for the Kawsay and Karikuy-Haugen Fund. Before you had to email us with the amount you wanted to donate and we would send you an invoice. The new system will be automated with a simple form tool so we can get invoices out to you immediately. We also have a wealth of new tours to upload to the website, from Chan Chan to Lake Titicaca, these new tours will have detailed information and pricing and should be uploaded by the start of the busy travel season.
You will be able to see more added content to this blog as well when we begin our volunteer program in May. Our volunteers create the bulk of the content for this blog, they write about their experiences and adventures while travelling in Peru. Since I’m in the office almost all day it is hard for me to fill that hole, in the meantime however you should follow our account on twitter for daily articles regarding Peruvian Culture and News.
The Karikuy Volunteer Program – The Karikuy House
During February of this year we added some simple upgrades to the house where our volunteers work on our Perupedia project. The most significant of which was the entire electrical rewiring of the house. Prior to this the house was lacking in functioning power outlets as well as had several lighting sockets with missing connections. The house which has been in my family for more then 30 years had been unused for some 20 years, since I have returned I have been improving it for our volunteer program. Today the house is fully wired, all electrical outlets work, we’ve also installed new lighting for the entrance and the stairs that lead up to the second floor. Heck we even have a doorbell now and exterior lighting.
Another big issue that was fixed was the shower which had been plagued with bad water pressure. We installed a tank on the roof to fix the problem so there is now a steady stream of hot water. Other small repairs include new windows for all the cracked or broken windows in the house, for those who have stayed at the house you know it’s a very bright and open apartment with a lot of windows, these have all been fixed to keep warmth in during those cold winter days.
Some new upgrades that will be added before the volunteer program begins in May included a new powerful wireless router. This will enable all the rooms to receive a wireless connection, this had been a problem in the past with only some of the room getting a connection due to the thick concrete walls. We will also be adding heaters to both dormitories and perhaps the living room, this will helps for the colder days during the winter. In the past it wasn’t a serious problem as winter in Lima is still mild compared to other cities, this addition is more for comfort for those days when volunteers just want to lay in bed working on their laptops. Before the program ends for the year we might also update some of the furniture for added comfort.
The Karikuy Machu Picchu Contest
Perhaps our small organization is not big enough or does not reach as many graphic designers that I had hoped for as we had to put the latest edition to our contest on hold. This years competition was a t-shirt design contest and we had only three submissions, two of them being after the deadline had passed. A little embarrassing to tell you the truth as we’ve had great success in our previous two contests. However I am glad to say that the show must go on and will be relaunching the contest on March 25th. I am currently researching the best way to go forward with the contest and whether to keep the same format as last year or go with something new. I’m a big soccer (football) fan so I was thinking as having something similar to a World Cup group stage and playoff but either involving twitter or Facebook. Regardless of what format I choose the competition will relaunch on March 25th so keep checking back to our contest page for more information.
The Kawsay Humanitarian Program & The Karikuy-Haugen Fund
As I mentioned above we are working with the website to improve our capacity to receive donations. But most importantly in 2011 both of these program will be put into action and documented to help promote them. We’ve been slowly raising funds for both programs and as of now it looks like the Karikuy-Haugen Fund will be the first to take place some time in June. We have raised enough money to send two Inca Trail porters to Machu Picchu with only $50 more to send a third. We are also working with a past volunteer to help raise our goal of $1000 for the Kawsay program, this will enable us to travel to the province of Puno and hand out warm clothing to children in poor communities affected by the changing climate.
Living in Peru I’m always meeting new people and experiencing great new things, especially in Lima. I have no doubts that this year will be any different and that new projects will be subsequently be created. I know that I’ve been putting off our video mini-documentary on the organization and our volunteer program for while now, I hope to have our volunteers working on that this summer. With that said there are many events taking place in Lima this year from the MISTURA food festival to the inauguration of our new national stadium, there will be plenty to write about. I apologize for the lack of blog entries these past 2 months but they will increase dramatically beginning in June when our volunteer program gets underway. I thank you all for reading and keeping up to date, in the meantime please follow us on twitter where you can get all the latest news and read creative blogs from travelers visiting Peru.