On Saturday, September 29, I accompanied Los Chillos Rotary Club (Club Rotario Los Chillos) during a visit to a primary school that they sponsor in Calquín. Calquín is a small rural community that belongs to Sasquilí Canton in Cotopaxi Province (Provincia de Cotopaxi). It is located near the town of Zumbahua.
The towns of Chugchilán, Latacunga, Quilotoa, Sasquilí, Sigchos, Zumbahua, among others, comprise what is known as the Quilotoa Loop. It is a popular tourist attraction and offers spectacular views of the Andes. Quilotoa boasts a stunning crater lake. In spite of its popularity, the Quilotoa Loop remains the road less traveled for non-locals. Up until a few years ago, one could only depend on a dirt road and very infrequent bus transportation to make it around the entire loop. In fact, the situation remains much the same today. Kilometer by kilometer the dirt road is being paved in order to facilitate travel for locals and tourists alike. Of course, it is the locals who will benefit the most from this infrastructure project. The local community is mainly comprised of Kichwa-speaking subsistence farmers who depend on local transportation to sell surplus products at local markets in towns with sizable markets like Sasquilí and Zumbahua.
Quichua is the ethnicity of the majority of Calquín’s population as well as that of the majority of Ecuador’s indigenous population. In Calquín the children grow up speaking a mix of Kichwa and Spanish with more emphasis on Kichwa. One of the school’s language learning initiatives is to teach children to separate the two languages in order to learn standard versions of each. This initiative is directly linked to the Ministry of Education’s Intercultural Education Initiative. Please see below photos with captions for more details on the visit.
I’ve been smelling gas in my apartment for the last two weeks and didn’t know why. That is, I didn’t know why until today when a kind Rotarian asked how I was doing following the gas leak next to my apartment building. I assumed that the gas that I was smelling was connected to either the construction site (to the immediate left of my apartment building) or the two gasoline stations (to the immediate right). As a result, I’ve been keeping my windows shut. However, I failed to comprehend the serious nature of the issue due to a number of recent distractions. In fact, I thought all of the bright yellow caution tape around the construction site was due to the untimely death of a construction worker and the pending investigation. I admit that I have a wild imagination. Following the conversation with the Rotarian, I did a quick internet search and found the below article from El Comercio dated September 18, 2012. For me the most interesting part of the article is the last paragraph that announces that nearby residents, including myself and those in my building, were informed by the authorities that they should not use electrical equipment immediately following the detection of the gas leak. I received no such word.
El Comercio (2012, 18 de septiembre). “Una fuga de gasolina se presentó en una construcción en el norte de Quito”. Disponible en http://www.elcomercio.com/quito/fuga-presento-contruccion-norte-Quito_0_776322425.html (visitado 28 septiembre 2012).
Today I met with the members of Quito Bicentenario Rotary Club (Club Rotario Quito Bicentenario). One of the things that I noticed immediately was the young age of the members compared with other local Rotary Clubs. It turns out that Quito Bicentenario RC has worked diligently to recruit younger members in order to lower the average age of Rotarians.
The verano quiteño (Quito summer) comes to an end in the month of September. It’s been wonderful enjoying the warm, sunny days without rain for the last five months; however, there is one issue that perennially plagues the summer season: forest fires. The last two months Quito has quite literally been ablaze with more than 1,990 fires put out by local firefighters in the month of August (El Comercio, 2012, 7 September). It is said that 82% of the Quito Metropolitan Area is susceptible to forest fires (Ibíd.)
A recent article in El Comercio titled “Alarma por los incendios forestales en Quito” (7 September 2012) gives more details on forest fires in the Quito Metropolitan Area.
Another article in El Universo, “4.000 héctareas quemadas en el país por incendios forestales” (12 September 2012), provides information with a national perspective on the forest fire issue.
Also, see this article from El Universo: “Alarma por nuevos incendios en zona de Quito y la Josefina” (13 September 2012).
El Valle de Los Chillos (Los Chillos Valley) is a residential community located on the outskirts of Quito, about a 30-minute drive. It is considered a dormitorio (commuter town) because a large portion of the people who live here work in nearby Quito during the week. There are two Rotary Clubs located in Los Chillos. In December 2011 I met with the Los Chillos Milenio Rotary Club during a special event that united Rotarians and their families as well as Rotary Youth Exchange Program (YEP) students. Today I had the opportunity to visit with the other one, Los Chillos Rotary Club. I first met the current Rotary Club President Juan Veintimilla at a Rotary Club Presidents’ meeting in May 2012. During this meeting he enthusiastically asked me to visit his Rotary Club. I finally had an opportunity to do so the evening of Friday, September 7.
I greatly enjoyed speaking with the individual Rotarians about their personal and professional experiences as well as their roles and responsibilities with respect to Rotary Club activities. Also, I received an overwhelmingly receptive response to my presentation. The Rotary Club members asked very thought-provoking questions following the presentation. I would like to thank President Juan Veintimilla, Vice President Roberto Ávila, and Rotarian Pablo Reyes in particular for making this visit possible as it required additional travel arrangements.
As of July 2012 the Galapagos Islands boast a Rotary Club. The Galapagos Rotary Club (Club Rotario Galápagos) is the first one to be established in this insular region and is based on San Cristóbal Island, approximately 600 miles from mainland Ecuador. The Rotary Club received its constitution letter on July 11, 2012 from Oswaldo Domínguez, 2011-2012 Governor for Rotary District 4400. Its first president is Jonathan Aguas Sánchez.
Following an invitation from Rotary Club President Galo Larrea, earlier this evening I visited with Quito Sur Rotary Club. This Rotary Club sponsors the Fundación Humanitaria Rotary Club Quito Sur (Quito Sur Rotary Club Humanitarian Foundation). Boasting over nine years of activity, the Fundación Humanitaria Rotary Club Quito Sur provides access to quality health care services to medically underserved populations in the Quito metropolitan area and neighboring provinces like Imbabura. Additionally, the foundation provides education and counseling on a variety of health and nutrition issues to adults and children. You can learn more about the programs and projects undertaken by the foundation by clicking on the link provided above. It is also possible to sponsor a child through the Fundación Humanitaria. For more information on how to sponsor a child click here.