» 2010» May

Archive for May, 2010

Batalla de Pichincha Celebration with the Communities of Napo Province

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

The 24th of May is the day Ecuador celebrates la Batalla de Pichincha, the day when Quito was liberated from the Royalist forces (loyal to Spain), and also the day when the independence of the Ecuadorian Provinces was secured. It is why the Republic of Ecuador exists today. And so it is celebrated in all of the communities and cities, with dancing and football (futbal) and the National Anthem.

I was lucky enough to participate in the festivities Monday, with the school of San Pedro, whom I’m currently working with as an English teacher. It was absolutely hilarious and wonderful, and something I’m never going to forget. The CD our dance was ‘choreographed’ to was forgotten, and the song we ended up using was started and stopped several times, but it didn’t matter, because we all looked brilliant in our brightly colored foam dresses and hats. Pictures follow:

Getting Ready for the Show


Playing Futbol

Video of the Donation to the Pillajo Family in Tena

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

If you are interested in making a donation to this family, or to any of the flood-affected families of Tena, please go to the Arajuno Foundation page for more information on how to send the money.

Below is a video of the donation being received:

Donation by Arajuno Foundation to Flood Disaster Victims in Tena

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

On April 6th, 2010, the Tena River, a tributary of the Napo River, flooded it’s banks and sent waters over 3 meters high into the town of Tena.

Located directly on the bank of the river, Yajaira Pillajo Zuña, a mother of two, lost everything. Water rose to about 2 meters high  inside the house, sweeping away clothes and food and belongings, and causing damage to the building. Yajaira said that if this were to happen again, she would have nowhere to go, nothing left to draw from.

Just a couple days later, her older daughter, Melany Melendres Pillajo, burnt  her upper legs, arms, stomach, and fingers in a kitchen accident.

Melany Melendres Pillajo

This is a family with very little money and means for income, hit with two costly accidents just within days of each other. Yajaira cannot work, because she has to take care of her two children. Luckily, directly following the flood, there has been a wave of donation, of clothing and water and paint for the houses. However, the creams for Melany’s burns run about $20 per small tube. There are the hospitalization costs. And there is still money needed for more reparations, and for future security.

The Pillajo Family and Tom Larson

Melissa Tukey, a retired school teacher and a member of the Arajuno Foundation, generously donated $400 to the hardest hit of the flood family victims. Tom Larson, director of the Foundation, made the decision to help the Pillajo family, who appreciated the money beyond belief. A video of the donation being received is included in the next post.

New Volunteer at the Arajuno Lodge

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Hello there!

Real briefly, my name is Austen Weymueller. I’m a new volunteer at the Arajuno Jungle Lodge, and will be there for the next month, working on various projects both at the lodge and in the surrounding area. Figured I might as well introduce myself, since I’ll be keeping the blog updated for the next while.

This place is stunning, and it’s really quite unbelievable that I wake up every morning in the Amazon, and I eat my breakfast in the company of a monkey (actually, I spend half the time guarding my food from said monkey, rather than eating, but what does that matter when you’re in the Amazon eating with a monkey?).