As for the first time the Impact Week is happening outside of Africa we have a new place with its own originalities and unique challenges to discover. After a successful first week in Bogotá completing the Train the Trainer program and preparing for the Impact Week to work with students at UTADEO we have taken the weekend to explore a little more of the country that has experienced great turmoil throughout the last decades.
To understand more of the country and the people we are working with during the Impact Week, the team went on a weekend trip to escape the busy city of Bogotá and explore the countryside. Being one of the megadiverse places in the world with an astounding biodiversity our trip took us to Villa de Leyva. The colonial village within a dry dessert-like climate a couple of hours north of Bogotá seems to be frozen in time. After a little browse around town, along cobblestone roads and white house facades that impress through its provincial charm, the group decided for some fun team-building activities. While half of the group went horse back riding through the desert along cacti and aloe plants, the rest had a blast cruising around on quads before heading out for a collective dinner and some salsa dancing.
Getting up to a bright and sunny sunday in Villa de Leyva we started the next day with a little bit of souvenir shopping before we were headed back towards Bogotá. Yet not without another stop at one of the most famous places in Bogotá – Andrés Carne de Res. The restaurant infamous for its funky restaurant experience, incredibly detailed interior and most importantly amazing Colombian food was originally started as a small family business that grew through its unique setting as well as the circumstances. We learned about the history of the place and what it had to do with a number of unusual laws that were introduced by the then mayor of the city Antanas Mockus, a philosopher and mathematician. He became mayor of Bogotá in 1995 and showed an attitude of inventiveness turning the Colombian capital into a social experiment in order to tackle major issues like extensive violence and corruption. One scheme aiming to reduce crime rates was to ban partying and drinking within the city of Bogotá. As a result the people of Bogotá travelled to the outskirts of the city to party and it developed a lively restaurant and bar scene outside of the capital, which Andres Carne de Res is the most famous example of.
After a great weekend of team building and diving into the Colombian culture we have returned to Bogotá, the capital that despite its reputation as a drug/peddling dangerous place in reality is an inspiring city with diverse people with a hopeful and deeply endearing character. Now we are ready to finally start the impact week working in our 5 track topics education, regional development, public policy, fair trade and tourism with around 75 students from UTADEO during the next 4 days. We look forward to a week filled with inspiration, impactful ideas and a lot of fun.