Dear Fellow Adventurers,

Although things remain relatively quiet with us, the same cannot be said of our partner charities, who are doing amazing things all around the world. But first, I wish to share a very kindly story from a little closer to home:

UK YellowWood clients Malcolm & Jill met Negussie when they visited his farm on our first origin of coffee tour in Ethiopia in January 2020:

"We were impressed by Negussie’s organic approach to farming and his ability to feed his family as well as produce high quality cash crops, especially his great coffee! Not only was he an excellent grower it was clear he had a vision for developing his farm and a realism about his financial planning.

During our conversation he made an offhand remark about how useful a motorcycle would be in reducing the time it takes him to reach the nearest town. We decided to try and help him with this so Malcolm gave some bookbinding tuition and Jill some evening gardening talks and we raised £500 towards his motorbike. The only advice we gave him was "make sure it has good tyres and brakes!"

Many of you will have seen the terrible reports in the press regarding the situation in Tigray in Northern Ethiopia. Whilst we have been able to send desperately needed funds to our YellowWood guide there to keep him and his family safe, there are thousands of families who are not so fortunate, and WeForest is raising money to buy enough seeds and material for over 110,000 people so they can plant in May, harvest in November and feed their families for at least a year. 

Click Here to watch WeForest's video on this fantastic initiative.

In Lebanon we invite our clients to visit the amazing work being done by Maya Terro (pictured) and her 'Hunger Heroes' (hence the T-shirt) at Foodblessed, a local hunger-relief charity that works with businesses and the civil society to reduce the number of people going hungry in Lebanon. 

I wrote an article on Lebanon for National Geographic magazine last year in which I interviewed Maya among many other locals battling to help the country after the terrible blast in the Port of Beirut on the 4th August 2020; the work they continue to do is nothing short of inspiring, and we cannot wait to return! 

In Romania we partner with Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) who have carved out 65,000 hectares of hunting free zone, with 25,400 hectares saved for full protection, in which 2,900,000 trees have been planted in 11 years of forest conservation. 

Since 2019, funded by the European Commission's LIFE programme and the Endangered Landscapes Programme, FCC began a comprehensive initiative to reintroduce bison in the Făgăraș Mountains, after a gap of more than 200 years - and a calf has already been born here in the wild! 

In Northern Spain's Picos de Europa Mountains where I have been based for the past eight months, I have been working with FAPAS Fund for the Protection of Wild Animals

On a project funded by Spanish supermarket Alimerka, they have bought a section of disused farmland in the mountains which they are clearing to plant 3,200 fruit trees including pear, apple and cherry, which will become a natural food source for the 300 wild brown bears in the region. They are a wonderful team and I am very grateful that they let me tag along sometimes! 

I am sure that many of you will groan and roll your eyes when I tell you I'm re-reading Wilfred Thesiger's Arabian Sands, which documents his epic journeys across Saudi Arabia's Rub' al-Khali [الرُبْع الخالي Empty Quarter] with the Bedouin, published in 1959. 

As adventure travel goes, it is probably the most obvious book choice one can make, but it is famous for a reason - and it gives you that 'punch in the stomach' feeling of excitement every time like so few others can. 

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

( Photo taken in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan )