Sometimes I travel to a place and have felt like I encounter incredible poverty. Sometimes, it makes it hard to enjoy myself, when I see the disparity between life on the island and life at the resort or cruise ship. Certainly, bringing your tourism dollars helps! But I also wanted to see if I could really do something else helpful. We discovered "Pack for a Purpose" a few years ago (PfP click here for more info or to find a country where you plan to travel)
What I love about PfP is that the organization curates needs lists from non profits all over the world, and through partner foundations, often the charitable arm of large resorts, PfP encourages travelers to turn extra luggage space into space to carry items needed in those communities. Because each non-profit or NGO requests exactly what it needs, travelers can be sure what they bring will be useful and not a burden to the communities they visit. For instance, whenever I have donated to a charity through PfP I've been requested to remove plastic packaging, since trash removal can be a burden. Most communities will also request you don't bring candy, since most children don't have access to dental care.
I went to PfP's site before I traveled and determined that in Roatan, Familias Saludables (FS) had made a list of school supplies needed for their preschool. These could be left at Bananarama Resort, which partners with FS to connect travelers who want to donate or volunteer at the clinic and school. When I contacted Channin Boddin about a private tour of Roatan, one of the requests I made was that we be able to visit Bananarama with my collected supplies.
I chose to collect school supplies with the help of my local woman's club, the GFWC Marlborough Junior Woman's Club, because we are group with lots of mothers and teachers who would know just what to get! My club rose to the challenge (as they always do!) and I was able to pack to large packing cubes full of crayons, pens, glue sticks, rulers, books, and flash cards requested by FS.
Much to our surprise, Channin delivered us by boat to Bananarama! It was a fun adventure to hop off the beached boat, wade onto the beach and deliver supplies to the manager at Bananarama, who was expecting us that day!
We had other things on our agenda for our first visit to Roatan with Channin Boddin- seeing the culture and scenery of the island and snorkeling on the spectacular Meso American Reef. For more photos of our visit to Roatan, see our whole report of our Rhapsody of the Seas report linked here.