fancy

From swimming to soup
March 29, 2012

This green sea turtle was taken from his home on the Ecuadorian coast to be sold at the Cuencan Feria Libre market. Illegal trafficking of exotic animals for human pleasure is a huge problem throughout Ecuador and South America. Sea Turtles are desired as a delicacy, for their incredible shells, and for their blood that is believed to hold many powers. Luckily this turtle was discovered in time and was healthy enough to return to the coast the day it was found.

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

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

A River in the Road
March 26, 2012

The bus slows down, the doors open, and the bus driver wishes me “buena suerte” (good luck) as I jump off the bus into a calf-deep river pretending to be my main street. Ecuador has been experiencing devastating rainfalls and floods all over the country. People are paddling through the streets. Many have lost their houses. Crops have drowned, and staple produce items have more than doubled in price. (more...)

tags: Culture, Homestays/Family Life

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Back to Childhood
March 10, 2012

Three gringas huddle excitedly inside the cage, waiting for the ride to begin. One was lost due to the intensity of the double duty ferris wheel. We have stumbled upon an old but incredibly colorful theme park in Gualaceo. Kids fill the park after Sunday church, carnival music blasts, and rides cost a dollar or less The dragon boat begins to sway, and it’s no joke. My friends hold on for their lives as they are swung side-to-side, and shaken mercilessly without seatbelts.

tags: Culture, Streetlife/Graffiti

location: Gualaceo, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Glass Frog
February 8, 2012

Glass Frogs are a recently discovered amphibian specie, endemic to Ecuadorian forests. Frogs are abundant and diverse in Ecuador; at least 447 different species have been identified. However, frogs are currently facing huge problems. Currently more than 32% of frog species are threatened with extinction. Frogs are pertinent bio-indicators for ecosystems. They breath through their skin so they are more susceptible to environmental changes. (more...)

tags: Environment

location: Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador

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Birds of paradise
February 7, 2012

Birds of paradise are only one of the amazing flowers to be found in Ecuador’s forests. Ecuador’s five very different ecosystems host over 16,000 species of plants.

tags: Environment

location: Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador

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fancy

Saraguro
February 4, 2012

The small, quaint and beautifully designed town of Saraguro is located just south of Cuenca. Today, the indigenous Saraguro speak both Quichua and Spanish. Strong cultural traditions and rules are practiced by all members of the community. Every person is required to attend school, choose a specialization in college, and work for one year in the community. Many people believe that the Saraguro descend from indigenous groups forcefully relocated from Peru. (more...)

tags: Indigenous Groups

location: San Felipe de Oña, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Spectacled Bear
January 23, 2012

An Andean Bear takes a sun nap in his spacious habitat provided by the Amaru Zoo in the hills outside of Cuenca. Andean bears are nicknamed "spectacled bears" because each has unique markings around his/her eyes. Andean bears, the only type that reside here, are native to South America. They thrive in cloud forests and mountain forests, both of which are disappearing rapidly. Small and nimble, these bears are great tree climbers and walk up to 40km a day.

tags: Environment

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Rivers
January 23, 2012

There are four main rivers in Cuenca that most of the students on our program have fallen in love with. They nicely break up the busy city. Although they run near busy streets, and there is still a lot of traffic nearby, they provide a green space to chill or exercise. We are here during the wet season so the rivers rush with plentiful water. Many of us walk or run along the rivers daily, and there is always a variety of interesting things happening. (more...)

tags:

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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panaderia
January 22, 2012

They say that the national food of Ecuador is “cuy” (guinea pig), but I’m pretty sure it’s pan (bread). Pan is a staple in every household, business, and school, and it’s a disaster when people run out. It is eaten for breakfast, for dinner, for snacks, and during coffee and tea time, with cheese, jelly, chocolate, and caramel. Pan probably makes up about half of people’s diets here, and a wonderful half it is. Panaderias are everywhere. (more...)

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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fancy

Mindu Hummingbirds
January 10, 2012

After traveling through the enormous and bustling city of Quito, we ventured to Mindo in the mountains beyond Quito. The two are only about an hour apart but are polar opposites. Mindo is in a cloud forest. Not only were we living in the clouds, we stayed at a hummingbird and butterfly reserve called Mariposaria. We were also surrounded by an array of brightly colored, aromatic, tropical flowers including a variety of orchids. (more...)

tags: Environment

location: Calacali, Pichincha, Ecuador

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