Here in the Galapagos despite the lockdown and early curfew we have been treated exceptionally well by the community and the authorities. I am sure this is the case in many other locations where yachts are stranded in self-isolation. The question we may all be asking is how to give something back to the community. For us, the choice became easy, when news of a radio fundraising marathon reached us.
With the help of our agent, we were able to enlist the support of the deputy mayor, who prepared a special appeal in English so that we could understand a little better what the community needs were.
It is easy to forget when surrounded by such beauty that the local community is devasted by the shutdown. Over 80% of their revenue comes from tourism, the majority of the rest are Government funded jobs. It is reported that about 3000 Government workers have not yet received their monthly salaries as the Government is prioritising health care. In addition, there are some very poor communities, already dependent on food handouts.
With the help of the deputy mayor and a clear fundraising target, a near term deadline, a tiny bit of organisation and use of the local WhatsApp group we have been able to raise $1200 from the few boats that are currently maintaining self-isolation in the Galapagos.
The deputy mayor in Santa Cruz and a deputy in San Chrisobal came directly to each boat to accept the donations and thank us personally. For me, their self-evident gratitude has made this a day to remember.
Meanwhile in this special place life goes on as unusual as always, the relationship between humans and wildlife is as unique as the wildlife is rare.
We are lucky and privileged to have ended up in self-isolation here.