Goodbyes are sometimes hard, and yet, necessary. Tampa is home to many people and places that are important to me but I could not be more excited to embark on this adventure. Working with TECHO in Cuenca will serve as a great opportunity to not only shed light on an organization that helps shelter the people of its country, but also promotes youth volunteerism, an underutilized service in Latin American countries. It is this volunteerism that serves as the foundation for which TECHO provides a roof for its country.
As my excitement for our departure continues to build, I happen to receive an email from the Sierra Club urging me to sign a petition…
I think this coincidental email can serve to remind us — especially as we embark on a documentary-making experience — that all problems that we may become aware of have existed long before we gained awareness. We must educate ourselves about existing initiatives in order to understand how various organizations are attempting to solve problems using different approaches. This can help us to understand and document the unique approach of a particular changemaker.
As I am writing the first of many blog posts, my father is watching the Heat game, my mother is playing Candy Crush on her phone, and I am struggling to type on this tablet my father gave me. It’s not hard, it’s just going to take some getting used to…like being in Ecuador for an entire month! I am super excited because I have never visited outside the United States (except for Puerto Rico, but that doesn’t count since it is a territory) or made a documentary before! Although traveling sometimes stresses me out (I have a habit of forgetting to pack stuff…I was not too bad this time), I cannot wait for this experience! The hardest thing I will have to do tomorrow is not only say goodbye to my family, friends, and boyfriend, but also get up at 5 in the morning. It will all be worth it. Besides, I can always sleep on the plane.
On of the non-profits we’ll be focusing on is Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT). They work in southern Ecuador to preserve local biodiversity and water resources. In a country where the government has been known to abuse nature as well as embrace it, the greater difficulty is working with the private landowners who posess the title to almost half of the lands and resources the Foundation looks to protect.
Working with the indigenous and other communities in the Nudo del Azuay area and in the Sangay National Park, the Foundation has multiple programs to work towards their goal. One of the most ingeneous efforts is a mix between compensating the private landholders directly while educating them on the trade-offs of preserving the land, animals and water in the area. The path of the water can be followed all the way back to the cups of locals in Cuenca itself, one reason that water preservation is so important.
The Foundation also supports scientific research, environmental education in urban and rural schools, and programs to get more locals involved, such as a training program that creates guards who protect the borders of Sangay National Park, educate visitors, and assist visiting scientists.
While most of the program will be spent in Cuenca, at least two short trips will be made to visit an indigenous community in the rural parts of the Nudo del Azuay where you will focus your filming efforts. Connecting the rural to the urban will be a key component of your story.
For more information visit – http://www.cordilleratropical.org/en
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fundaci%C3%B3n-Cordillera-Tropical/166025100123028