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Lindsey's Blog
April 9, 2012

El Río Tomebamba

There are four rivers in Cuenca, although only two cut through the town in a way that has truly shaped the town’s infrastructure. Only one has really impacted Cuenca’s current geograph, as the Tomebamba currently acts as the dividing line between old Cuenca, and new Cuenca. (more...)

tags: Culture, Cultural Encounters: Student Blog

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Another day at the bioparque #3
April 3, 2012

During our last volunteer morning at the Amaru Bioparque, Ernesto and his wife Amanda came tearing up their driveway with a surprise in the back of the truck: a sea turtle. In order to save the creature's life, we had to ride with her in the back all the way to the reptile zoo to get her in water. Sea turtles are illegally sold in Ecuadorian markets for meat and blood, since their blood is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

tags: Environment, Bioqarque (Zoologico Bioparque de Cuenca 'Amaru')

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Gringas in the locker room!
March 28, 2012

During what would be our last Cuencan soccer game at the "estadio," a group of us ladies challenged one another to an autograph competition. After waiting outside of the locker room for the men to stop showering, we were finally given the go ahead to enter. Inside, we followed small children around to all the "best" players. In the end, a couple of us were interviewed by newspaper reporters. (more...)

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Permanent words
March 24, 2012

After the indigenous marches on behalf of "el agua, la vida, y la dignidad" - water rights, life and dignity - passed through Cuenca, various graffiti carried the residue of the words chanted through the streets the day before.

tags: Culture, Streetlife/Graffiti

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Wallpa Kurku: Quichwa for The Pioneer Log
March 21, 2012

Our group of eleven students is split among three different Spanish classes that vary in activity and languge level. However, some of our major projects remain similar; each class had to make a mural of a newspaper, write articles, find photos, and lay out and name the periodical.

tags: Holidays, Rituals, & Traditions, Culture, Class, Politics, & Social Issues

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Another day at Amaru 2...
March 9, 2012

Rain or shine, the animals of the Amaru Zoological Bioparque will always take the fresh fruits and vegetables offered to them by the volunteers. Amaru's director, our biology professor Ernesto fills up his truck bed with the finest fruits and vegetables and chickens at least once a day and feeds all the animals in his huge bioparque on the hill.

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location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Another day at Amaru...
March 9, 2012

A majority of our time is spent with our biology professor, Ernesto Arbelaez, who owns and runs two different zoos within Cuenca. On Fridays, a slew of students act as his assistants, feeding bears, birds and monkeys, scrubbing turtle shells with toothbrushes, shopping for live chickens at the market to feed to the crocodile, or in this case pressure hosing the snapping turtles' pond and shells, since they are too dangerous to scrub with toothbrushes.

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location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Papas, papas, papas, papas, y papas
February 5, 2012

In a market close to the Gates of the City in Loja, Ecuador, people spread out their goods wherever they find space. Decisions are hard to make with dozens of people selling similar foods and multiple kinds of the same food - five types of bananas, seven types of potatoes, three types of grapes, you name it--they've got it.

tags: Culture

location: Loja, Loja, Ecuador

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Jesus y Jesus
February 3, 2012

As a predominately Catholic country, Ecuador has depictions of the Virgin Mary and Jesus scattered throughout shops, family mantels, and of course churches. In the storage room of a church in Susudel, we found paintings and various figures of Jesus Christ leaning against the wall, no longer in use. I was struck by the range of representations, from the bloody cruxification to the plump happy baby.

tags: Holidays, Rituals, & Traditions

location: Progreso, Azuay, Ecuador

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Cuy en el campo
January 23, 2012

Cuy (guinea pig) as described by my abuelito (grandfather) would be a silly and boring pet. Cuy is a delicacy, a medicine, and a method of diagnosis in healing. As far as I know, the most expensive meal my mother has prepared so far has been cuy - $30 for five of them. A typical lunch of juice, soup, main dish and dessert is rarely more than $3, emphasizing the importance of the cuy. (more...)

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Crafty baby bjorn
January 20, 2012

The women around Cuenca, in order to keep their hands free, will tie their babies around their back. Usually all you see are tiny little feet bouncing against the woman's hips as she walks. There is no crying, no stopping for feeding, just little baby feet sticking out as the mother works or walks about.  Children up to the age of 3 are carried this way.

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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