Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Welcome to Ecuador: Land, People, and Education

riobamba, Ecuador punjammies AAUW NCCWSL
yoga, ecuador, fashion blogger, ethical fashion
fashion blogger, travel, ethical fashion, ecuador, aauw
punjammies, international princess project, ipp
riobamba ecuador
riobamba, ecuador, punjammies, fashion,
The Perfect Roadtrip Outfit:
Loose LayeringTop | Hand- me down
Sustainably created and consciously created with respect to their workers. Spring and Summer lines released.
PUNJAMMIES Cute Cotton Pajama Loungewear | c/o International Princess Project
Employing survivors of sex slavery in 4 sewing centers in India and providing them with an empowering work environment and above fair trade wages. Each PUNJAMMIES™ is named after one of the women who sew the pants. 


It has been just a few days since I have arrived to Ecuador, yet it feels like I have been here a month! So many things happen every day that at the end of the day I feel like I squeezed four days into one. I have seen the city, attended a Catholic and Evangelical church, met many many people, climbed a mountain, exercised in nature, attended a walk-a-thon, seen parades, heard the music-playing garbage truck (note to self: not an ice cream truck), visited ruins, and celebrated a birthday! I am doing this all with my friend Michelle, whom I met at at the American Association of University Women's National Conference for College Women Student Leaders!

Thanks to AAUW Buffalo  and Brave Life, I had the opportunity to travel to Riobamba, Ecuador, where I am now. While I am here I am working with Agua Viva, an organization which implements water purification and distribution systems and by provides health and hygiene education, dental care, while promoting gender empowerment. 

Michelle and I are volunteering for Agua Viva and partnering with an Indigenous community outside of the city. Our project is education based. This particular community wants the opportunity for their children to attend college. Currently, the lack of resources(courses on technology), English courses(college entry exams are in English), and level of education (behind schools in the cities) make it immensely difficult for their children to successfully enter and graduate from college. With our university knowledge on program and project creation, Michelle and I are structuring a support and motivational program for students who want to attend college. As we were conversing with a community leader, I asked if the majority of the community's children wanted to follow the careers of their parents(tending to the land and raising animals). I was told that they want to become dentists, and doctors, and other things that bring a higher income and an easier life (this was referring to the more steady income among other things). I was also told that this is not the case in all Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous communities in the mountain areas speak Quechua, a language of the Andes region. Some people in this community are bilingual (Quechua / Spanish), but not all. People in the cities(below the mountains) speak Spanish and some of them are bilingual (Spanish / English), but it is not common to be trilingual (Spanish / English / Quechua) unless a person is from the Indigenous community or has individually learned the language. This creates a communication barrier. 

When I realized this, I reflected and asked myself the Christine question, "What do I have that can help them? God gave me talents, so let me see what talent I have that can spread God's love and bring positive change!"  Thanks to help from my awesome BFF and advisers, I won grants to travel and teach photojournalism workshops. It was not until I came, and spoke with the community and organization leader that I realized the needs of photography and the capacity that I would be teaching at. And so... here I am. The workshop series I am creating will teach basic photography of people, buildings, and landscapes. I will also teach them how to document change. As confirmed by the community leader and our Agua Viva leader, photography will help the community to better communicate their accomplishments, needs, and change. :) We shall see what happens! 

Keep us in your prayers please!

Michelle and I speaking with one of the community members in charge of educational development.
viva agua, ecuador, volunteer
viva agua, riobamba, ecuador, volunteer, education
I brought my polaroid with me which was a perfect tool!  I was able to give a photo to the community's educational development leader the same day we met her so that she could tell the community more about us through word and photo (and begin to build a trust relationship)! 
Built by the Spaniards, this is the first Catholic church in Ecuador! It dates back to 1534, and is still preserved! WHAT?!
quito, riobamba, ecuador

Using my talents to further God's Kingdom... Merry Christmas,

Join my journey on InstagramYoutubeand Facebook! ;)

1 comment:

  1. Have a very merry holiday! Love this post. So fun!


Thank you for the lovely comment. God bless & stay Be-you-tiful!