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New Project Support – Conciencia Amazónica

New Project Support – Conciencia Amazónica

Apologies for the radio silence from Friends of Ecuador. We’ve been using our Facebook page for regular news updates, and the coronavirus has made it challenging for us to be as active.

We have a new project to support from RPCV David Goucher, who served in Omnibus 94. Conciencia Amazónica is a new organization Dave is working with in the province of Morona Santiago to support an “Eco-Club.” You can donate on the link below and use the dropdown menu to specify Conciencia Amazónica. Your donations are tax deductible as FOE is a 501c3.

Conciencia Amazónica
Conciencia Amazónica was inaugurated on February 29, 2020, with the mission of working with local institutions to promote scientific education and artistic development across the Ecuadorian Amazon region.  While a Peace Corps Volunteer, the current president founded the EcoClub Siete Iglesias, which led to the establishment of Eco-tourism trails, scholarships for local valedictorians, and gave the necessary momentum to local authorities to establish a municipal ecological reserve.  Scholarship recipients have since graduated from national Universities, and now are professional biologists, schoolteachers, and play an active role as the new generation of community leaders and role models.

As a team comprised of a biologist, an environmental engineer, a cultural promoter, and a Dance Studio manager and expressive artist, Conciencia Amazónica now wants to promote the “Jungle as a Classroom” in the local schools and rural communities across the Ecuadorian Amazon, exploring the rich biodiversity with national and international scientists and artists, involving local leaders and school children alike, to educate environmental awareness and protection. 

We aim to empower local youth with knowledge of their surroundings, exploring from the microscopic level to the interaction of species across the ecosystem, providing unique opportunities for learning and artistic expression.  The flora and fauna from the rain forest will be the inspiration for painting, sculpture, theater, dance, and photography and other artistic means to teach the importance of conservation.  Promoting such activities will lead to income generating activities such as guided tours, eco-designs and artisan development, as well as employment in all ecotourism related activities, activating a new environmental consciousness, while respecting local traditions and customs.

Their Need

Lucinda Duy Quishpilema’s report on her Mexico Amaranth trip

Lucinda Duy Quishpilema’s report on her Mexico Amaranth trip

This is a guest post from Lucinda Duy Quishpilema on her trip to Mexico supported by FOE. More details in English from our last post from Alan Adams.



Informe: Participación Primer Congreso Mundial de Amaranto

Proyecto: “Niños saludables Futuro saludable”

Beneficiaria: Lucinda Duy Quishpilema

Pueblo: Kichwa Cañari Región sur del Ecuador

Organización: Asociación de Productores de Semillas y Alimentos Nutricionales Andinos Mushuk Yuyay

Financiamiento: Friends of Ecuador

Lugar del evento: Puebla-Mexico

Fecha: 10, 11, 12 de octubre de 2018

Cañar 05 de noviembre de 2018

CAÑAR-ECUADORI. Introducción

En la región sur de Ecuador, los que habitan en el territorio del pueblo kichwa cañari y cañarense, según los investigadores de la ciencia andina y occidental consideran que culturalmente fueron y aún siguen siendo graneros, es decir el sistema de producción y/o la agricultura familiar cañari en cada ecosistema fue y aún practican la asociación, rotación y la diversificación de la producción tomando muy en cuenta el tiempo y el espacio.

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FOE Support for Mushak Yuyay Participation in Amaranth Congress pt. 1

FOE Support for Mushak Yuyay Participation in Amaranth Congress pt. 1

This is a guest post from Alan Adams on FOE Support for Lucinda Duy Quishpilema’s participation in an amaranth conference in Mexico. The next post will have Lucinda’s report. 

What Lucinda learned in Mexico she is already putting into practice. Last week she harvested 7 quintales of her own amaranth with her family. They separated about 50 lbs of the best for seed. Now Lucinda is preparing the products she learned about in Mexico. This is just the beginning. Before the Congreso opened, Mushuk Yuyay received a gift of 3 varieties of amaranth seed from Oaxaca, Mexico and 4 varieties from Guatemala. This will probably be planted next month, weather permitting.

Getting Lucinda to Mexico for the Primer Congreso Munial de Amaranto was a coordinated group effort on very short notice. We were not going to let this wonderful opportunity slip by. Besides the contribution from Friends of Ecuador, others gave to cover bus fare and other transportation costs, meals, and more expenses. Alana Mockler, mentioned in the report, is a former Global Citizen Year participant who was hosted by Lucinda and her family while she served in Ecuador. She helped raise money. When Lucinda arrived in Mexico DF, she was met by Slyler Narotsky, another former Global Citizen volunteer and member of Mushuk Yuyay, and by Juana Chuma who is a member of the the Cañari community. Both are students in Mexico City. They put Lucinda on the bus to Puebla.

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Hey Cotopaxi is active again!

Hey Cotopaxi is active again!

In August, Cotopaxi started jetting smoke and ash for the first time in 70 years, leading the country to declare a state of emergency, with the possible evacuation of hundreds of thousands.

Here is what it’s like living nearby in Latacunga, which was destroyed in a mudflow in the last major eruption in the 1870s.

“The city just went crazy,” Mauricio says. “We kicked opened our doors and we took what we could and we just ran. We were not prepared with masks or first aid kits. It was mayhem.”

And sadly, it looks like a lot of people have left the area:

“A fifth of the community has left,” claims Mauricio. “Some forever, some temporarily. The little tourism we had is gone because most people come to see or climb Cotopaxi and the national park is closed. And now because people don’t know what’s going to happen, they’re holding on to their money to wait and see what happens. They’re scared.”

Here is some pre-activity before the eruption this summer

RPCV Women: Participate in Malaria Study

RPCV Women: Participate in Malaria Study

Mary Brady has written up the details about a new study that female RPCVs have been asked to participate in.


Baylor College of Medicine is studying a possible link between the decreased risk of cancers and medications taken during Peace Corps service. Author Kara McArthur provides full details in the WorldView Summer 2014 edition of the National Peace Corps Association magazine. Read More »

Speaking of Quinoa: A recipe for Quinoa soup

Speaking of Quinoa: A recipe for Quinoa soup

In addition to the New York Times recipes for quinoa this month, FOE Treasurer Mary Weick-Brady comes to us again with another fantastic quinoa soup recipe (see her prior contributions for peanut sauce, herbs, and hot chocolate).

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NPCA: Next Step Travel to Thailand, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala

NPCA: Next Step Travel to Thailand, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala

NPCA’s Next Step Travel program provides respectful hyper-local immersion in developing countries:  360-degree “anti-tour” itineraries that combine unparalleled local access, cultural immersion, non-extreme adventure, and hands-on volunteer opportunities that open pathways for connection with local people.

The chance to get a close-up view of volunteer service is a unique feature of Next Step Travel.  In-country staff make it a point to seek out local craftspeople, small businesses and cooperatives, so that your money goes directly into the hands of those who need it most.  Each trip (a maximum of 20 travelers) is all-inclusive, freeing you to fully experience every minute of your trip. Read More »

Peace Corps Connect June 19-21- Nashville

Peace Corps Connect June 19-21- Nashville

Join the National Peace Corps Association and our local hosts, the Tennessee Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, on June 19-21, 2014 in Nashville. We are very excited for you to reconnect with the Peace Corps community and re-energize your Peace Corps spirit!

Last year, hundreds of attendees came away from Peace Corps Connect – Boston energized and renewed. This year’s program is even bigger and better, with lots of networking and inspiring presenters (maybe even you…?).

Come tell your story, learn from others and have fun!

Learn more and register! Special rates for NPCA members, seniors, and recently returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

Early bird registration ends on April 21, 2014. Register today!

New Ecuador Travel Ad

New Ecuador Travel Ad

Makes you want to a book trip, no?

Las Mercedes Health Center: Now Open!

Las Mercedes Health Center: Now Open!

Friends of Ecuador helped at the beginning stages of this RPCV-supported health project before it had its own tax-exempt status. We’re happy to report that the health center, long in the making, is now open in the coastal town of Huaquillas. From the Las Mercedes Project blog:

In June of 2011, we broke ground on the Las Mercedes Health Center.  After completing construction in the fall of 2012, we waited patiently for resources to arrive from the Ministry of Health in order to equip and staff the health center.  For almost two years, the building just sat empty reminding everyone in the community just how forgotten Las Mercedes had become.

At times, the wait was painful.  We pestered every person we possibly could from the Mayor of Huaquillas to the Vice Minister of Health to the seemingly endless stream of regional health directors that were here one day and gone another.   We were almost always frustrated and sometimes we simply felt defeated.   But we never gave up and this past week our dream finally came true as the doors of the Las Mercedes Health Center were opened by the Ministry of Health!

On behalf of the residents of Las Mercedes, we would like to say “Thank you” to every single one of our supporters.  But more important, we want to say “thank you for believing in us and being a part of our community.”

Together, in solidarity, we were able to turn a simple idea into a reality. Several years ago, we set out to solve the infectious disease problem in Las Mercedes.  The building of a fully functioning health center was a key element of our plan.But, we still have work to do.With the health center up and running, the final piece of the puzzle will be put in place this summer through the installation of a fully functioning sewage system in collaboration with Engineers without Borders, the Mayor’s office, and the residents of Las Mercedes.

To complete this project, we need your help.  We need to raise $20,000 before May 1st, 2014 in order to purchase the materials for the sewage project and to reach our goal we still need a little more than $6,000.  Please help us reach our goal by making a donation.  Donating is easy, simply click on the link.

Just like the donations for the health center, every single dollar goes directly to the sewage project since we are 100% volunteer-based organization.

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy the pictures!

The Mayor’s office, in collaboration with the local residents, recently completed the beautiful brick entrance to the health center.

The front of the health center looks great but we still need to replace the tree that a goat ate a while back.

A few workers from the Ministry of Health setting up information boards at the front entrance of the health center.

A well stocked pharmacy thanks to the Ministry of Health!

The medical personnel from the Ministry of Health setting up one of the consultation rooms.

More picture to come!