fancy

Watching the Traffic
March 30, 2012

Riding in the back of a pickup truck has become a regular experience for me when I volunteer at Amaru Zoológico (the bioparque) in Cuenca, Ecuador. However, this time I was sharing the bed with a mid-sized Green Back Sea Turtle. The moment of excitement of being so close to the beautiful animal was quickly overcome by a force of glum and melancholy. The back of a pick-up truck at 2500 meters above the sea level is not where a marine turtle is supposed to be. (more...)

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

location: Paccha, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Not at the end of the road yet
March 18, 2012

Wondering around the busy Sunday market in the small town of Cañar, I noticed an alleyway full of supplies. The tires here have been remodeled into buckets, baskets, ropes, and even shoes. The creative use of old tires not only prevents the build up of waste but also allows people to get more use out of their limited resources.

tags: Environment

location: Cañar, Canar, Ecuador

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fancy

Ingapirca Restroom Sign
March 17, 2012

On my way to the restroom at the Ingapirca cultural center, I noticed this sign pointing towards the restrooms. When the people of this area look around, they see men wearing ponchos and women wearing polleras (an indigenous style of skirt), so it seems obvious that a representative human being would display this appearance. "Restroom" is written is Spanish, English, and Quichua. (more...)

tags: Indigenous Groups

location: Ingapirca, Canar, Ecuador

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fancy

No mineria
March 13, 2012

Starting March 8th, the march of Water, Life and Dignity of the Peoples left the south of Ecuador and are heading towards the capital Quito(they are expecting to reach Quito on March 22nd). The march is a protest against FTA regulations and against a recent contract that President Correa signed with a mining company. (more...)

tags: Indigenous Groups, Environment

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Machete
February 9, 2012

After arriving in El Tiink, a Shuar village in the Amazon Basin, we were handed machetes by Herman, our Shuar host, to clear the rapidly growing vegetation from the pathway. It gives a strange sense of power to carry the two-foot long blade and slash away plants that are in the way. Carrying the blade also installed a greater sense of respect for the jungle. This jungle is so immense that one needs to enter well-armed.

tags: Indigenous Groups

location: Bomboiza, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador

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fancy

Hanging out to dry
February 7, 2012

Every house in this Shuar village along the Rio Zamora has a long laundry line full of clothing. After a heavy, nonstop downpour that lasted the entire afternoon, I understood why it takes a long time for clothing to dry in the tropical rain-forest. Even when it is not raining the humidity that remains in the air is enough to leave clothes feeling damp at best.

tags: Indigenous Groups

location: Timbara, Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador

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fancy

A Very Hungry Caterpillar
February 4, 2012

Outside of Saraguro, in one of the last remaining primary montane forests, a hatching of caterpillars feasts upon the remnants of leaves. The montane forest is the most endangered in Ecuador; only 3% remains. This forest is home to a high number of endemic species, all of whom are at risk of becoming extinct.

tags: Environment

location: Jimbilla, Loja, Ecuador

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fancy

If I lived to 90...
January 27, 2012

This 90-year-old Galapagos Turtle lives in the Amaru Zoo in Cuenca, Ecuador. She was orginally captured illegally and then rescued from a coastal town. She is blind in one eye, which makes it difflicult for her to eat so she has to be fed by hand. While she moves slowly due to her large, greatly damaged and deformed shell, the smell of this cantaloupe and papaya meal made her scurry close. After a satisfying chomp she smacked her lips and opened up for another bite.

tags: Environment

location: Paccha, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Roof top declaration
January 23, 2012

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World they were determined to convert and thus "save" the people of the Americas. Once a family converted they would place a cross on the top of their roof to indicate their conversion to the missionaries, who would then know that they didn't need to stop at this house. Most of the houses in the older parts of Cuenca are adorned by these crosses. (more...)

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

I hear wedding bells.
January 21, 2012

The wedding bells were just the beginning of this elaborate celebration in Cuenca. The procession poured out of the giant wooden doors and was greeted by a full military band. Hugs and kisses were exchanged beneath a fireworks show. A wooden castillo (decorated windmill-like structure) layered with even more fireworks lit up the scene. White paper lanterns were released into the night, floating quietly above the excitement.

tags: Holidays, Rituals, & Traditions

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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