Estero del Platano

It has been roughly a week since I last posted and a lot of exciting things have gone on since then. On Monday and Tuesday, I spent my time at Yanapuma headquarters getting great interviews with Andy, the director, and Amelia, an intern at Yanapuma. From my interview with Andy, I got a good understanding of the reasoning behind the Foundation and the direction he hopes to take the Foundation in the future. During my interview with Amelia, I got the chance to hear how the Foundation has implemented projects in the small coastal community of Estero del Platano.

Finally it was time to head nine hours outside of Quito to Estero, a town of 600 who have been involved with Yanapuma since its founding in 2004. I took a night bus to Esmeraldas and then a 3 hour ride down the coast to Estero. At Estero, I met Jamie, an intern who is spending a year living in Estero, as well as Sonia, the mother of the home I homestayed in for a few nights. Sonia lived in a simple home with her husband, Afrain and her four children. They spoke very little english so communication was a challenge but we figured it out.

I spent my first morning helping Afrain with some gardening work and then spent the afternoon working with Jamie to get to know the town and help her with getting the word out to the community about a health care meeting that was taking place the next day. That night I got a tour of Yanapuma’s projects including a library, and most notably a water treatment facility that supplied the community with 20 liters of water for 25 cent. I got a taste of “pueblo” life when I crossed the river to head to Sonia’s for an evening conversation about the differences in our education system.

The next day was packed full of interviews with community members. I got to hear their opinion on Yanapuma, the work they were doing and what they wanted to see in the future. I really got a good taste of what the community saw as positive sustainable development and what they saw as an NGO pushing their own agenda. It was so interesting to see the discrepancies in how sustainable development is viewed and the importance placed on community oriented development.

Unfortunately, Jamie had to head to Quito so I was not able to do more interviews the next day and decided to head back to Quito with her. I will now spend the next few days finishing up my look at Yanapuma and then I am off to Singapore and Malaysia for the next leg of my trip. Finally, enjoy the pictures!

From Ecuador 1

A view of Quito

From Ecuador 1

Estero del Platano

From Ecuador 1

Part of my homestay family