Well things got really busy once we hit Week 3 and began official filming. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for planning, filming, getting from one part of Ecuador to another, reviewing footage, taking pictures, sitting down to eat once or twice a day, and, well, you get the idea.
When shooting week wrapped the editors were already hard at work. The rest of the crew shifted gears to translations, finding media, and interview selects.
Many awesome cuisines were had in the last week as well.
And then a fine lunch…
And a fine dinner at La Cucharra Magica…
Everything came together for one final evening gathering at a fine cafe on the river Tomebamba known as Republica Sur.
You can ask the crew members about that wild swing day that didn’t quite fit into this post.
Missing a flight internationally may seem like a nightmare. One has to make new arrangements for air transportation, ground transportation, and secure shelter. Thankfully these arrangements were made and we stayed the night in a hotel in Quito, but this experience has made me think. What if we didn’t have these options? What if we had no where to stay? What would we do? This is the reality of some people in the world who’s daily thoughts include securing shelter for the night. Afterall, all men want at all costs to achieve the oldest ideal of the human race: a roof which would protect from the rain.
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.
One of the production teams will make a documentary about TECHO in Cuenca, an organization began building houses in impoverished Chilean communities in 1997. Two great challenges presented themselves over time – firstly, that building houses was not enough to build up a community. Secondly, that for college age locals in the areas where TECHO works, volunteering as an act to spit on – worse than playing video games at home is giving your time away for free. It would be better to waste it on self indulgence than give it away to others.
Over time TECHO has developed more and more programs to aid communities as a whole – helping locals with loans, helping them establish micro-enterprises within their community, teaching classes on how to use a bank account, and more. All aiming to build a community up to where they can support themselves, and still beginning with building houses. As Un Techo Para Mi Pais became more of a community-focused organization they rebranded themselves Techo.
For the second problem – convincing college age locals to volunteer, TECHO has had great success where other organizations have failed. Across Latin America this organization has successfully pulled together local university students and others to build houses, help communities and run local TECHO offices.In Cuenca it will be your task to produce a documentary that explores why it is worth volunteering; why TECHO volunteers do what they do.
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.