Category Archives: Events

Ecuador’s Amazon: What’s Happening

Posted by in Events,Typical Ecuador | November 22, 2013
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8x10 Drill HereIf you have seen us out and about lately, you’ve probably heard that we have teamed up with The Virabrations Project and Off the Mat Into the World in efforts to support indigenous and environmental rights in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Whew. That was a mouthful.

What it really means to us is a chance to support the country that so warmly hosts us and our groups each year in a struggle that is both pressing and international in scope. There are hundreds of articles describing the challenges and there’s just no way to summarize it all in one neat little package but I wanted to share some of the main points:



  • Ecuador was the first country IN THE WORLD to grant constitutional rights to the environment. Wow.
  • Indigenous populations in the Ecuadorian rainforest have been incredibly powerful over the past two decades, specifically in their efforts to encourage unprecedented unity amongst not only their own communities, but have inspired sweeping unity throughout the Andes and Coastal regions of Ecuador as well. This unity and passion is what led to the inclusion of nature’s constitutional rights and many other progressive, positive movements in the Ecuadorian government.

IMG_2305 IMG_5423 IMG_5540 IMG_5689



  • “While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. To save money, Texaco chose to use environmental practices that were obsolete, did not meet industry standards, and were illegal in Ecuador and the United States.” -Chevron Toxico Campaign
  • Chevron continues to fight against being held accountable. Their strategy seems to be to keep their competition in court long enough to exhaust the financial resources of those who support the rainforests & communities who call it their home.
  • The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, made an unsuccessful plea to the international community to share responsibility in protecting the pristine areas of Ecuador’s rainforest from oil drilling. He promised that if we all could raise only HALF of what the oil is worth, he could & would prevent the drilling. Unfortunately, this plea came in the midst of economic collapses and hardships all over the world. The international community did not even come close to meeting the goal.

Ecuador Oil Spill Hands Dripping with Oil Oil Spill on Hand Toxic Dump



While communities in Ecuador have taken unprecedented strides to enact change, the government has included rights in the constitution for the environment, and there has been much hope, unfortunately Ecuador is still a developing nation and their greatest asset happens to be billions of gallons of oil tucked peacefully away beneath one of the most bio-diverse places on our planet.


  • Simply by being aware of these challenges, you are supporting positive change.
  • Take a moment each day to take five deep breaths and know that one of every five breaths we take is thanks to the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Know about the devastating effects of oil drilling and exploration…and be mindful of your oil consumption
  • Share your knowledge with others. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know EVERYTHING about a situation to feel passionate about the cause. Just choose a couple of points that really pull your heartstrings and get to spreading the word.
  • Grow your knowledge by visiting sites such as Amazon Watch
  • Donate with us or to other organizations supporting the areas you’re most passionate about (for a list of who specifically we’re donating to, you can visit the Partners & Projects page on the Virabrations Project website)

THANKS for reading, for your caring spirit, your curiosity, and for the 5 minutes you just spent reading my ramblings! If you want more info, feel free to ask…we could talk about this all day.

Inti Raymi Festival: a weekend of danger, complexities, excitement, dancing and more

Posted by in Cotocachi,Events | July 11, 2012
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June 22-24….Erika and I headed North to Otavalo and Cotacachi to witness the annual celebration of Inti Raymi. We were lucky to be so close to the Imbabura Province of Ecuador which, along with Cuzco, is one of the two core communities who keep this tradition alive. Celebrations last about a month but two days was enough to catch a quick glimpse.

 First, a little background:

Celebrations of Inti Raymi began in the Ecuadorian Andes with the spread of the Incan empire and merged with existing celebrations which later also merged with Catholic festivities/beliefs during the period of Spanish colonization. That said, the festival today is an exciting mix of traditions that would take much longer than a weekend for me to sort out so bear with my brief synopsis!

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Otavalo Saturday and Animal Market

Posted by in Events,Otavalo,Places | July 9, 2012
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(Guest Post by Erika Anton about a weekend at the famous Otavalo Saturday Market)

For anyone who has not made this connection, people like going out of town on the weekends if possible. It is no exception for Quiteños, so plan on spending some time in lines and on buses if you ever leave Friday night to make the trip up to the giant, famous Saturday market in Otavalo. I was grateful to be with Nicole so at least one of us knew where we were going/what we were doing.

When we arrived at Carcelen, one of the northern bus terminals in Quito, there were two main lines of people extending from the ticket counter at one end of the terminal out the front gates. We ended up waiting in line for about an hour for tickets, but we also made an English speaking friend from Germany who was meeting his friends up in Otavalo for the celebrations. We may have helped him cut in line.

The two hour night bus ride had a movie playing very loudly in Spanish, which Nicole and I were not interested in. If you want to sleep on the bus on evening trips, I suggest bringing some music to listen to or an awesome set of ear plugs. I had both, but if you make friends at the bus station or have a travel partner in crime, the time you spend on the bus flies by.

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Wedding in Cocotog

Posted by in Events,Typical Ecuador | June 4, 2012
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IMG_0025Creative drivingA Dusty Road in CocotogThe Party TentGreg's first bowl of ChichaA Platter of DeliciousHow PoliteOur HostChicken!Let's DanceSharing
New FriendsVictor and his daughter
Giant BeersExhaustionChichaSecond Course

Wedding in Cocotog, a set on Flickr.

Here is the photo journal of the weekend of festivities in Cocotog, Ecuador. Many thanks to the newlyweds, Jimmy and Lorena for including us in their special weekend and to the community for the warm welcome, great company, good times and amazing food! We hope to see you again soon!

A wedding in Cocotog, Ecuador

Posted by in Events,Typical Ecuador | June 3, 2012
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Within our first week here, Greg and I met up with an old  friend of his, Victor, who G hadn’t seen in 6 years. After about 2 minutes of catching up, Victor extended an invitation to a weekend-long wedding extravaganza in his small community of Cocotog, just north of Quito in the country or “El Campo” as folks around here call the more remote areas. Victor not only invited us into his community but also offered to host us overnight in his home to hang out with his family. Amazing. Of course we accepted and I looked forward to getting out of the city for the first time and meeting a different group of locals.

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