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Guyana to gain from city man's brain
When Greg Fry started telling friends he was off to South America to spend six months volunteering, most people assumed he’d be building schools.
The reality is a little different.
“I have an office job, oddly enough,” Fry, a mortgage broker at Invis, told KTW a few days before he hopped a plane out of the country.
For the next six months, Fry will be working behind a desk in Georgetown, Guyana, putting his skills in financial planning to work on behalf of a host of non-profit organizations.
He left Kamloops on Sunday, June 23, and won’t return north of the equator until December.
Fry will officially work for CUSO International, a volunteer organization that connects skilled professionals with charitable and community organizations around the globe.
It’s those smaller organizations, the ones based in South America and the Caribbean, that Fry will be working with.
“I’m trying to help out some of their partners who don’t have say the financial acumen to do some of their projects,” he said.
Fry spent two years researching volunteer opportunities before settling on CUSO, noting his goal was always to give back in a way that made use of his own skills and education.
“It’s not like whoever signs up will go build a school,” he said.
“This is something altogether different.
“This is specific jobs, specific skills they’re looking for.
“The key component is you should be leaving the skill behind, you should be training people so they don’t have to keep replacing you. That’s not helping people in any way.”
While he has travelled to South America before, Fry said Guayana — which sits on Brazil’s northern border and has a population of less than 800,000 — is off the beaten path for the average traveller.
“It’s exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking a bit,” he said.
Fry said his reasons for volunteering are pretty simple — he has skills he can offer others and a lot of good fortune.
“I have the ability to take six months off and do something,” he said.
“So, basically, I couldn’t find a reason not to go.”