Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 3


Here are a few pictures of the third day of our trip where we had a nice tour in the morning, a miscommunication in the afternoon, an evening of trying to communicate, and a night of rejoicing due to the resolution of aforementioned miscommunication. Here are some pictures. That night, everyone conversed about the difficulties of community service ITSª.

Roxana, a guide that we hope to take on the job of giving tours, is showing the nursery to the alumni. She is explaining the process of insertions for the plants. Below is a picture of a grafted plant which is used to propogate good plant genes. Ok, I don´t know much about the topic, but you can see pictures of the process at the bottom of this web page

Here are some bags that are ready to receive the sorted cacao beans. There are the BIG beans, mediums, smalls, and things that aren´t really beans.

Here we are in our new hotel, along the river with a beautiful view..

And tarantulas in the rooms. Haha. We moved hotels to get away from the large insects and here we are with spiders the size of your palms (and bigger) next to our beds. PS Alison totally got a baby tarantula in her skirt. It was amazing. She lived.

Eberhard, Shahla, and Alison (with her spider skirt) looking over the view of the hotel.

Yutzos was a great place to hang out. Which was lucky since Adam, Brooke, and Anna ran through the streets of Tena trying to find a taxi to take them to a meeting with Carlos. We found one, had our meeting, cleared up our miscommunications (is there a tour.. not a tour? Why did all the Kichwa go in another truck and not with us, PS what´s the dealio?), and the returned to a bunch of patient alumni. They were all worrying about the delicate and new relationship between MIT and Kallari that had just been cultivated.

It turns out Kallari thought our tourism bus driver was racist, Brooke misunderstood that the canoe ride was three hours, and based off of the lack of clear conversations, Kallari did not have the chance to finish their tour.

Which reminds me a lot about the themes of the Peruvian half of our trip.

Here we are in Manco Cápac and Señor de Luren, trying to complete our documentary. We have a mere ten days left in our trip, and themes of post-disaster communication are swirling through our heads. We are trying to send a message to communities and reconstruction NGOs with our movie while involving the community in taking shots, making editing choices, and shaping the voice of the documentary.

It´s been a very long process. We just showed the community our second draft documentary outside of a community store located between the two little pueblos. We started late, it got cold, and a lot of people ended up leaving. We can´t be sure why. It seemed that they all enjoyed seeing their community on a big screen, their harvests being made more ¨hollywood,¨ and even calling out the names of their neighbors.

But communication isn´t easy.

We stressed six themes in our documentary, topics that I think applied strongly to a lot of the work that we did in Ecuador.

1. Trust between NGOs and communities so that NGOs understand the true needs of the people while also creating moments of exchange of imformation so that the relationship is two-ways

2. Sustainability through investment by the community that is beyond just participation.

3. Clear, honest, and transparent communication that informs communities of how and why decisions are being made.

4. Passionate leadership from the NGO that expresses determination and dedication. Someone who applies the talents and skills of their volunteers in a way that meets their community´s short and long-term needs.

5. Collaboration between NGOs, and government (as well as with communities) to ensure that work is being done in a consistent, high-quality manner with even distributions of aid.

6. Channels for communication that are accessible by communities to express their needs, concerns, and questions to the NGO.

Of course these things aren´t easy. And we´re finding out even more difficulties about this work as we continue editing our documentary.... but more later.


  1. um, ecuador just got taken off my list of places i want to go. tarantulas? no thanks.

  2. I was there in 2009, I went with Judy Logback though, so communication was not an issue. We stayed in Rumi Yaku for part of the visit and in jatun sacha right outside of Tena. It was such an amazing trip, I would do anything to go back. The tarantulas aren't that bad, they never really bite unless they feel threatened. and we had bug nets around our beds so that offered a lot of security.