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Piggy Portrait
March 24, 2012

Most Ecuadorian mercados (markets) are composed of local vendors selling local produce. Pigs, such as this one, litter the valleys, roadsides, and backyards of Ecuador. After visiting a local animal market in Cañar where mature pigs sell for nearly 500 dollars each, it is apparent that these common animals are a vital source of food and income for many individuals.

tags: Culture

location: El Tambo, Canar, Ecuador

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New Friends
March 24, 2012

Upon arriving in a small community just south of El Tambo, four other students and I were challenged to a soccer game against some local teenagers. After a small wager and some informal introductions, we learned why Latin America is famous in terms of fútbol (soccer). After a good winding, we admitted defeat and handed over the winnings. I now know not to make bets when it comes to Ecuadorian soccer games, even if the opposing team is both half my size and half my age.

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location: Juncal, Canar, Ecuador

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Cañari Curandera
March 20, 2012

An array of tinctures, candles, an ordinary household spray bottle, and a miniature Virgin Mary lay idle just minutes before a traditional Andean limpieza (“cleansing”). The curandera (“healer”) utilizes a monte—a boquet of mountain plants—a raw egg, a candle, and a unique blend of alcohol and herbs which cleanse her numerous daily customers, both mestizo and indigenous. (more...)

tags: Medicine & Traditional Healing, Indigenous Groups

location: Cañar, Canar, Ecuador

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Cañar and Carrots
March 20, 2012

The remnants of a carrot soup served to nearly 200 indigenous people on March 15th, 2012 during their Quito-bound protest march for land and water rights. They utilized the Nuncanchi Wasi (Quichua for “our house”) building located in central Cañar, an old mestizo hospital donated to the indigenous Cañari population, as a resting place.

tags: Culture, Indigenous Groups, Environment

location: Cañar, Canar, Ecuador

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La Vida Ecuatoriana
March 5, 2012

One of hundreds, this sun stained vegetable booth at the Diez de Agosto (10th of August) market in downtown Cuenca represents one of the difficult yet popular ways to make a living in Ecuador. Markets are divided into five sections, which often include meat, vegetables, alternative/natural medicine, fruit and cafeteria vendors, and  “panama hats” (for which Cuenca is internationally known, since their initial exportation in the 1940's). (more...)

tags: Culture

location: Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

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Ayampe
March 5, 2012

A group of students watch the sunset on the shores of Ayampe, a coastal town located on the Pacific Ocean in southern Ecuador. Ayampe and surrounding towns like it survive primarily through tourism and marine products such as fish, shrimp, and calamari (sqid). (more...)

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location: Ayampe, Manabi, Ecuador

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Termite Nest in Zamora
February 8, 2012

What many in the United States would refer to as a common household pest is considered nothing less than a keystone species in the southern end of Ecuador. Like the ants of this area, termites decompose old vegetation, allow new vegetation to begin, and provide essential nitrogen to the forest. Many scientists believe the absence of these crawly creatures would result in the downfall of these forests. (more...)

tags: Culture, Indigenous Groups, Environment

location: Cumbaratza, Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador

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Stranded
February 7, 2012

In the hills of Zamora, a river town located in the southern Oriente of Ecuador, highly saturated soils resulted in an enormous mudslide and a long wait for the debris to be cleared. This frequent occurrence prevents miners, travelers, and locals from commuting to work or simply passing through. The slide happened at midnight, but a lack of cell phone service, nearby landlines, and adequate government assistance resulted in help coming about 10 AM the next morning. (more...)

tags: Environment

location: Zamora, Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador

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El Rio León
February 4, 2012

The Rio León, nestled between the hills of Saraguro and Susudel, is an essential part of el bosque seco (the dry forest). Poorly surveyed in terms of species, land control, and conservation, these grounds are littered with garbage yet rich in both endemic and native species. Some areas such as this forest haven’t been claimed as either public or private land. Who will maintain this forest and chart its diverse species? (more...)

tags: Environment

location: Hacienda Susudel, Azuay, Ecuador

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Dizzy Bricks
February 3, 2012

On the outskirts of Susudel, a small agricultural town, horses slog in a circular path for four hours, mixing a clay paste that will then be formed into bricks and baked in a large horno (oven) for three days. This traditional method is the primary source of income for the town.

tags: Culture

location: Hacienda Susudel, Azuay, Ecuador

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