Yemenity2010's Blog

Exploring Ecuador – A Journey Back in Time, Chapter 2

Posted in Blog Entry in English, Tema: Latinamerika by yemenity2010 on 03/01/2013

Better late than never… I hope. Roughly a month ago I started retracing some steps I took 20 years ago, when I first had the chance to visit Ecuador. In the fall of 1992, I spent four months there as a part of a church-related voluntary program. During this time, me and another youngster (well, we were young-ish then) were invited to help out with musical activities in different places, specifically congregations belonging to the Pacto Church in that country.

kyrka-chaco-sept92kompr

Here’s one of these churches, which has since been reconstructed and looks quite differently. Maybe I will follow up with more recent pictures of the building later on. The community is called El Chaco, and is now probably populated by a few thousand people. It’s situated in the eastern part of the country, where the Amazonian rainforest starts feeling closer, even we’re not strictly speaking of the Jungle with a capital J. The climate and temperature differs distinctly from the Sierra, or the Andean region from where you are most likely to come when you first get here. The capital Quito is located in the mountains, approaching three kilometers above sea level. Traveling east, the altitude shifts radically, you find yourself descending further and further into a more humid, rainforest-ish region with an impressive display of green and generally colourful vegetation. You are probably getting there on some not so impressive roads… Well, wait a minute – now I am recollecting the way it used to be. The roads have been paved and improved significantly since 1992. Although mudslides during heavy rains can still cause severe communication problems. Anyway, it’s an area you are not likely to forget once you’ve been there. In the fall of 2005 when I was working in Ecuador, El Chaco and its surroundings were hosting the World Rafting Championship, but that’s another story.

reventador2-sept92kompr

Who is this kid? I have no idea anymore. What’s the name of the species of that bug he’s holding? Forgot that too, if I ever knew the answer. I am pretty sure, though, that the photo was taken in the the village Reventador, bearing the same name as one of Ecuador’s more unpredictably behaving volcanoes, and located somewhat further east, maybe 20 kilometers and two and a half hours drive from the capital – the latter estimation obviously depending on weather conditions and unforeseen events.

papegoja-sept92kompr

Colours. Wildlife. Did I mention any of that before? This parrot seems peacefully awaiting something, patiently positioned on a pole in a place I am pretty convinced is called Santa Rosa, a few kilometers east of El Chaco. Once it was hosting a radio station called HCRI, or Radio Interoceánica, run by the Pacto Church and founded with some Swedish support. About a decade ago HCRI moved further south in the Amazon region to the municipality of Shell, near Puyo, the capital of Pastaza province. Shell? Yes, the way I heard it is that when oil explorers (many of them from abroad) first came to Ecuador more or less a half-century ago they started investitating this area, but didn’t come across any black gold worth mentioning just there. In other places, they surely did, and the oil has been a source of revenues, disputes, controversies and environmental concerns ever since. Blessing or curse? Or both? Yeah, that topic could be debated endlessly when we talk about Ecuador. Anyway, the municipality is still called Shell. I never got there in 1992, but I went there quite frequently when I worked in the country several years later, but more on that some other time. Hopefully.

Well. That’s it, for now. Until the next chapter… Love, Peace and Ecuality for all!

Related story: an Ecuadorean friend just recently put up this link on a fairly well-known and frequented social media forum. Ecuador is getting all sorts of press globally, especially when it comes to its government and the controversial left-leaning president Rafael Correa. Sometimes he gets credit for making mor of his citizens believe in their country, while other times he gets criticized for his handling of issues like free press and media in general. This clip seems to focus on the positive aspects, where different voices speak out in favour of Correa’s government. The segment is presented in Spanish, but with several comments in English from people as diverse as linguist/author Noam Chomsky, French presidential candidade Jean-Luc Mélenchon and actress Bo Derek! Topics range from the economy in general to health care, environmental concerns and infrastructure.

See: Ecuador desde Afuera – Nuevas Miradas

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