Bienvenidos, Ecuador!!

sweet girlsIn the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit I’ve already been to Ecuador, my finale country in this year of travel for Heifer. But because with 12 x 12 I’m going to places nobody ever goes (the farms in poor, remote valleys and small fishing villages in risky ports on the coast), I’m actually seeing every country for the very first time– whether I’ve been there before or not.working fields

Ecuador is an awe-inspiring country in a whole bunch of ways. Although it’s rather small by South American standards, it’s one of 17 countries that biologists like to call “mega-diverse” (and how much do you love that phrase?)

The gigante petrino tree -- cousin to the mighty ceiba!

The gigante petrino tree — cousin to the mighty ceiba!

In fact, it’s got the most biodiversity per square mile of any country on earth – including these parrots.parrot

Ecuador is on the equator (duhhh!) but because it’s in the Andes and has the world’s highest active volcanoes (Cotopaxi is rumored to be due for a new blow-out), it’s not really sweaty-hot tropical. Cotapaxi

But it is one of the biggest producers of tropical crops – specifically shrimp, cocoa, sugar cane, coffee, and yes, bananas.banana plantation

Ecuador has a handsome, youngish President Rafael Correa who is progressive in the mold of Latin America’s dynamic new crop of politicians who are bringing courage, cajones and change to their people…. and that gives me cause for great optimism, despite the challenges of poverty and hunger in the rural provinces.girl in hammock

Quito, a beautiful colonial city that I remember as being rather run-down, is now hip, urbane and downright on a hill

It’s amazing to come back 15 years later and see so much changed. However, the real glory of Ecuador, to my mind, is the charm of its people – particularly the indigenous people who live in La Sierra (as opposed to La Costa or La Amazonia)… although in truth, all Ecuadorians are pretty & magenta

I’ve got such stories to tell about what I saw (and ate)! Stay tuned ..

Categories: Ecuador, Environment, Heifer International, Photography, Poverty, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Bienvenidos, Ecuador!!

  1. Somehow these rural folk are living far more “real” lives than I feel I do …

  2. Susan

    Betty – like a broken record – these pictures are really beautiful – such diversity in the photos!
    I want that parrot. Take care,

  3. Martha Radatz

    “… a beautiful colonial city that I remember as being rather run-down” —-that’s exactly how I remember Quito from our visit in the mid 80s. We only paid a brief visit to the city itself and of course The Equator, and I always regretted we didn’t see more of the country. Now, thanks to you, I will. Looking forward to it!

  4. I bet you are able to see the changes after 15 years–some bad some good for sure. Ecuador with the Andes and the equator offers much diversity as you capture well in your photos.

    Sorry that I have been absent of late and missed your latest travels, but congrats to you for your work and the compelling stories that you tell here Betty.

  5. Beautiful and thank you!

  6. Tammy Packie

    Ecuador is very special to me too! tip

  7. Michelle

    Hi Betty- it’s so great to see your first post about Ecuador! And your photos are stunning! I’m glad you mentioned that Rafael Correa is a hottie- this is Correa’s page on that website I was telling you about that ranks heads of state! 🙂 big hugs from Arantza and me!

  8. You know how to get our attention! This is such a great introduction to the little country, I can’t wait to read more…

    Your photos are brilliant. Love the top portrait of the kids 🙂

    Is the white capped mountain a photo of the active volcano Cotopaxi?

  9. Maddox, Janet

    Love this post. Can’t wait Tim read more. I know ending the year is bittersweet but it must be a relief. You have done a great job of shining light in dark and interesting spots. Thank you.

    Janet Maddox
    Sent from my iPad

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