Written By Grace & Saffron
After a stunning bus ride up and around and through the mountains, we found ourselves in the small town of Pucara at Finca La Fe. Pucara is located on the western slope of the Andes in the Intag/cloudy forest region. This region is known for ecological diversity and being suspended in cloud vapor the majority of time. During out time at Fina La Fe we slept in tents and had the pleasure of eating nourishing food from the farm. There, we continued exploring alternatives for a more sustainable future including organic agriculture, agro forestry, detriments of mono cropping and questioning where our food come from. We also had the opportunity to learn about the history of mining in the Intag region and relate it to the current political situation in Ecuador. We also explored the community’s alternative money making options (other than mining) such as Flora del Choco, a women’s collective that utilizes cabuya fiber from the native Pinka plant to make bags and other woven products for market. We visited a local coffee cooperative and learned how this crop serves as an important source of revenue for families.
We also partook in a day of volunteering where some of helped with a local construction project while others collected humus from the jungle. Another group fed pig poop to the biodiegester and harvested tilapia, tomatoes and bananas. On our final day, we embarked on a day hike into the forest. We passed waterfall, various swimming holes and enjoyed some volcanic thermal baths.
Our second location of the week was in Junín, at a slightly lower elevation, where we stayed in a bamboo treehouse. Here we examined further our role as consumers and ultimately discussed looking for ways to recalibrate our collective consciousness to a more sustainable long-term vision. We ventured on another day hike beginning at the Proyecto Llurimagua exploratory mining operation. While we hiked by numerous waterfalls and observed the beauty fo the region, we also learning about the harmful implications and potential long-term effects of the mining operation.
Finally, at our third location of the week, we stayed in luxurious bungalows at the Mindo Sacha Urco primary forest reserve in the Pinchincha province. We discussed the philosophy of permaculture and its designs and principles. Finally, we had a challenging hike up and down a mountain to work on a reforestation project in an effort to offset some of the carbon footprint of our trip.
All in all this week marked the halfway point of this journey; we have all learned so much!
Muchas gracias Ecuador y hasta pronto Peru!