After two days of normal class schedule in Quito, we wound our way through the mountains to the northwest region of the Pichincha province where we explored the cloud forest. With historical and indigenous peoples contexts in the back of our minds from these past weeks, we transitioned this week into an ecology/sustainability learning focus. And, after a couple of intense weeks we tried to build in some good moments of rejuvenation.
Silvia Spanish Class
Loli Spanish Class
María Teresa Spanish Class
Our routine snack and coffee break during morning spanish class times. Dulce de Leche has become a favorite, yum!
We found friends! Some of the Cofan children who live with families at the foundation came out to play.
Monday afternoon we enjoyed a presentation from our visiting professor Natalia Sierra from the Universidad Catolica. Natalia was our 3rd lecturer in our history series, providing context to Ecuadorian political and economic state of affairs of the last 40+ years.
Busing to Casa Goshen on Tuesday afternoon
Casa Goshen discussion and processing Tuesday
Wednesday morning was free time for students to pack, do homework or rest before meeting at the Foundation around lunch time to leave for our Mindo trip.
Klever Guevara, our in-country SST colleague is a partner in a sustainable coffee farm community initiative (Cloud Coffees) close to the town of Nanegalito in the Alambi reserve. Beyond selling coffee as a final product, the idea is help local farmers begin to cultivate coffee plants on their own deforested mountainsides as a sustainable income and land use instead of continue with cattle grazing.
Klever gave us a tour of the farm project, describing the process of cultivating the plants from seedlings, to the harvest, drying, roasting and tasting!
Hannah with coffee beans in the drying process.
The time we’ve all been waiting for!
HA! Well…. we did load Gretta up for this photo, but it’s true that some folks back home might be getting a nice treat in a couple months.
Thursday morning breakfast at our hostal Casa de Cecilia in the small town of Mindo.
As a way to contribute back to the community hosting us these days and also specifically thinking about our carbon impact that we contribute to in running and participating in our SST program here, Thursday morning we worked with the Mindo local government in a project called La CHAKRA.
One of the big initiatives that LA CHAKRA is working on is community composting. Started up during the pandemic, the project brings in organic waste from community members during trash pick-up days and over 90 day process converts it to high quality compost. When we were there, government officials from Tumbaco were visiting to understand how they might implement a similar project in their city.
Ready to work!
Wes, Diego and Tanner getting a good shoulder workout digging holes for new trees.
A group helping to dig a drainage ditch away from the greenhouse.
Good work Anna!
Mary and Haley working hard!
Alena and Linda a permanent volunteer from Germany.
Kat, Cade and Cadence working on weeding a bed
Hannah and Gretta working on a compost pile
Thursday afternoon Diego Chulde, a reseacher from Quito who has been living in Mindo this year, shared with us some greater context and history to deforestation in Ecuador.
Friday morning breakfast
Friday morning we took advantage of the sunshine to spend some time at the Mariposario, the butterfly garden.
Grace and Ruby
Team Joel y las rubias…. (Joel and the blondies)
Team Titantic…. ut oh
Friday afternoon we enjoyed a Chocolate tasting and tour. Producing chocolate has a surprising amount of similarities to coffee and was interesting to hear and learn about the process.
Dinner at the hostal
Caminonetas were a primary method of travel for us these last days
Students zipping along the cable car across the gorge to begin our waterfall hike on Saturday morning.
Gretta, Saige, Cade, Lydia, Hannah and Grace
Ruby, Anna, Gretta, Tanner, Alena, and Hannah
Cadence, Noelani and Nina
Saige, Hannah and Grace
We couldn’t miss the chance to get Venezuelan arepas from one of our favorite road side stands in all of Ecuador!
Our lunch chefs