What the Nature Provides

Table is served

Table is served


As all the fellow travelers and global citizens know, sharing a traditional dish with locals is definitely one of the best ways to experience one's culture. On Wednesday, we took the idea one step further by organizing the most Amazonian dinner one could imagine - every single ingredient was straight from the forest farm of our amazing host Clemente.

Forest farm, also known as Chakra, uses agroforestry as a farming method. These farms integrate a variety of products that contribute both to rural livelihoods and biodiversity conservation including medicinal plants, fruit trees, staple crops and timber species. By growing these species in close association with one another, farmers have developed a system that makes use of natural stand dynamics that minimize labor costs and ensure agricultural production.  The same land tile requires minimum input from the farmer, while providing the family all the products needed.

You know cacao is a fruit, right? And a delicious one!

You know cacao is a fruit, right? And a delicious one!

At first, Clemente gave us a tour on his farm, explaining all the fruit trees, edible crops and medicinal plants he grows in what seemed just a wild, thick jungle to us. He showed where the ferns, herbs, yuccas, fruits and frogs we're about to consume were found, whilst letting us harvest our own dessert.

Little Sophia as a tour guide

Little Sophia as a tour guide

Then the dinner itself: how does a jungle farm feed 15 hungry people? Tremendously well, we realized, as we thankfully left the farm, rolling, since everyone was so full from all the food we were served.


The menu included:

- Maito de Sapo (frog grilled in a banana leaf)

-Maito de Bagre (catfish grilled in a banana leaf)

-Palmito (heart of palm)

-Grilled Chontakuros ( Palm weevil larvae, tastes like bacon! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhynchophorus_ferrugineus)

-4 different bean varieties, cooked with jungle spinach (absolutely delicious)

-Cooked chonta ( peach palm fruit, tastes like sweet potato & packed with nutrients. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactris_gasipaes)

- Cooked papa china ( a species of yam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_trifida)

- Roasted snails

- Cooked bamboo

-Sacha Inchi ( Inka peanut, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plukenetia_volubilis)

-Fried fiddleheads (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlehead_fern)

-a fruit salad with chocolate sauce (Cacao beans from the backyard, obviously)

-Homemade wine



Heart of Palm

Heart of Palm

If you are traveling in Ecuador and want to experience something different, the Amazonian dinner will definitely make your Tuesday evening a bit more exciting! Clemente and his family are always happy to have visitors, and the luckiest ones might get a sample of his band playing traditional Kichwa-beats during the experience.


If you are interested in Forest Foraging -dinner and chakra tour, contact Andy at andy@amazonlearning.org or +593-988396997.



Funding your internship pt.2.

Update to the previous post, more possible scholarships:

  • Intern Service Award – Amount: $1,000. Deadline: Dec. 31st annually. Open to all interns at non-profit organizations. Apply to Asia Times.
  • Women’s Leadership Scholarship – Amount: $1,000. Deadline: March 31st annually. Offered to high-achieving women, working as an intern in a non-profit. Apply to AirSafe Research.
  • EU International Intern Scholarship – Amount: $1,000. Deadline: Dec. 31st annually. Open to U.S. and international students, working as interns at a non-profit. Apply to EU Business.
  • Minority College Scholarship – Amount: $1,000. Deadline: March 15th annually. Available to minority students with GPA above 3.0, interning at a non-profit organization. Apply to PakTribune.


Funding Your Internship

Finding financial support for your long-term stay abroad can be, politely speaking, quite challenging sometimes. However, money should never be the reason to skip the invaluable experience of working and learning in the Amazon rainforest. Here you can find possible ways to fund your internship overseas!



Many universities are offering aid or grants for internships. Speak with you study counselor about different possibilities for funding your trip!



Sometimes there are governmental aids for studying / doing an internship abroad. Check the website of Ministry of Education of your home country AND of your destination country.




Anne E. Borghesani Memorial Prize

Deadline: 24.02.2017

Requirements: GPA over 2.8, U.S. Citizens preferred


Borewn Scholarship

Requirements: Only U.S. Citizens.


Christianson Grant

Requirements : Only U.S. Citizens between the ages of 18 and 28.


Community Impact Grant

Requirements: Only U.S. Citizens


Go Overseas Study or Intern Abroad Scholarship

Amount: $500

Requirements: You have to be enrolled in an American institution.



Amount: $500

Every month, LIVFund awards two scolarships for students interested interning or volunteering in Latin America.


Whitaker international program

Requirements: Only U.S. Citizens, Be in the field of biomedical engineering/bioengineering or a closely-related field.


In addition, to keep you busy for the rest of the evening, here are a few scholarship search engines with thousands of scholarships to apply for:



IIE Passport

Mach25 Scholarship Search

Scholarship Portal


Crowd Funding platforms to fund anything you can possible imagine:




Best of luck!

Matti Laukkanen