Our ucalgarycares program focuses on community-based rural tourism and ethical international engagement. On average, $5 of every $100 spent by a tourist stays in the local community, but we endeavour to more positively impact the communities on Chira Island by supporting local businesses (mainly cooperatives) that both protect the local environment and way of life, and provide employment for local people. Today many of our group members took part in an optional excursion to harvest “pianguas” (a type of shellfish) in the mangroves. This basically involves walking around in knee-deep mud, climbing in, around and over the roots of the mangrove trees, and plunging your hand into the sticky mud while you try to find pianguas. We finished the excursion by sampling the shellfish, prepared as ceviche with onions, cilantro, chile and lime. They were delicious, and the adventure was one of a kind!

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