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Our Darling Padrinos & Madrinas

It is time for your annual update, so sit back and relax. I just received all of the ‘school photos’ and wanted to highlight three of them.

Enma, was our first valedictorian in Jul ’10.  She has worked incredibly hard at the Universidad Tecnica de Cotopaxi and is in her final year - working on her thesis in Environmental Studies. She is an ‘old maid’ as she is childless and not married at age 25!  However, that is about to change as her wedding is scheduled for Feb ’16.  My mom sponsored her education.  I am so proud and emotional about her many successes and example for our students that I could just burst

Carmelina had her first child at age 18.  She is now the mother of 5.  She dropped out of our Colegio several years ago and I am SO proud to see that at age 28 she has enrolled in 8th grade.  I’ve got my fingers crossed. She is married to Pedro, one of the two boys who rescued me in Apr ‘03 – yes, 13 yrs ago!  I am the official godmother of their first child, Nataly Viviana.

Maria Norma is also starting 8th grade.  She has had the benefit of a fully staffed elementary school unlike Enma & Carmelina.  Hopefully things will be much easier for her.

I would like to remind you that your annual donation is most appreciated & every penny is carefully allocated.  All of your donation goes to helping with education and/or the specific project that you have designated.  We would not exist without your help.  There are two ways to make a tax-deductible donation:  check written to Centro Educativo La Minga, Inc. or click Donate Now from our website:

VOSH Colorado in Malingua Pamba

Thank you; 900 people have been reached with vision consultation............... more info

Greenhouse Pilot - Malingua, Guantugloma & Tunguiche

Thank you Sansur Ferreteria in Latacunga, McGuckin Hardware in Boulder & Lake Valley Seed in Boulder for your Great Contribution in this Project.

History about CELM

Alex Saldana
Alex Saldana
Alex Saldana

End of Year Update on Activities in Ecuador

Centro Educativo La Minga, Inc. (CELM) 

Also 2015 scheduled trips in bold italic.


Alex Saldaña just completed his second year as our Multi-Media Especialista.  He recently posted a youtube video that he created of ‘My Story’. Avobe  ( plus many other updates both on webpage and Facebook.  He is also doing the educational presentations for the various projects that you will read about below.  In addition to that, he was a valued team member on the Aug ’14 Guantugloma Potable Water Trip.


In June ‘14, Eden Recor (with help from his side-kick pam) won a Rotary Global Grant. Eden working with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) will do a huge implementation trip which is scheduled for spring (Apr or May).  We could use helping hands especially if you have drip irrigation experience and/or Spanish skills.


The entire Global Grant as well as just a summary are posted on our web page under Rotary .


Kellie Thompson – Networking Rules.  In Aug ’13, I had the opportunity to meet her and was immediately impressed by this young woman and continue to be so.  She is quickly becoming my “right hand woman”.  With three days notice, in early Sep ’14 she jumped on a plane to EC to do some Pre-Global Grant research plus wrap up some loose ends from her Peace Corp service &  KSU (volunteer) Liasion. She is pictured with our beloved Latacunga Rotary.


Greenhouse  Trip Jan. 16 – 24.  Alex Saldana is the lead.  There will be three pilot greenhouses – one at each of our 3 main communities which are at 9,500 ft, 10,500 ft, and 12,000 ft.  In addition to the added variety of plants and their produce we have hopes to improve nutrition and inspire micro-businesses.  If you are interested we have one opening on this trip and expect to do others.  


Amy Miller, one of CELM’s Board Members, was motivated to coordinate a vision clinic.  At first I had so many things on my plate that when Amy mentioned this idea, I internally rolled my eyes.  The very next day when I was volunteering at the Master Gardener Help Desk, my co-worker was a VOSH volunteer.  Serendipity.  We connected with VOSH ( and Kara has motivated 6 optometrists, 1 ophthalmologist, a pharmacist & 4 opticians.  WOW!  Can you imagine it – the Gift of Sight!  This trip is mid-April and is FULL (unless you are fluent in Spanish and could help us translate.)  (At right, Kellie is taking head measurements for VOSH.)


We invite you to periodically check our website and/or Facebook – plus click ‘like’ .  Feel free to contact me with any suggestions, ideas, or desire to help out on a trip!

Abracitos,  pam ; 303-543-8223 

Global Grant

Objectives are:

• Improvement/expansion of the existing MP-QT Potable Water System 

• Initiation of Phase 2 of Irrigation; including exploration of use of drip   watering, erosion control around tanks, using     native  plant seedlings  grown by the Colegio (high school) students

• Construction of  community sized composting toilet near new elementary school. Reclamation of two other                      community  composting toilets. 

• Pilot program of several designs of  family-sized toilets including composting; training in how to build and properly        use.

• Improve availability of modified Rocket Mass Stoves with labor and  percent of costs provided by household; training      in how  to build  and properly use.

• Make available of  family-sized hothouses (aka greenhouse) with labor and percent of costs provided by household;        training   in how  to build and properly use.

• Organic farming training on Crops to grow in hothouses.

• Nutrition course on preparation of new foods grown from the organic farm training.

• Educational Field Trip, for community economic development, to Salinas de Guaranda which has been developing          micro- businesses  since 1970 

Guantugloma water system-EWB


Students News from Our Colegio in Malingua Pamba

Graduation Class of 2014 Colegio

La Minga, Malingua Pamba, EC

Centro Educativo La Minga, Inc.



This is our fifth (5th!) graduating class – first one was in 2010.  The girl in the black vest, Monique was the valedictorian.  This is a particularly noteworthy accomplishment as she has a one year old daughter.  She is married to the older brother of the boy on the right.  Speaking of Patricio, he just completed an eight-month class to be a professional driver.  In latino countries, if you can drive a vehicle, and in specific a truck, you have the potential to have a very comfortable (and interesting – since you get to get around the county) life.

Apr ‘03  Pam Gilbert, recently retired math teacher from Boulder, CO got lost in the Andes. Two indigenous (Quechua) boys who were walking home (2 hrs) from their Saturday high school lessons, went 1.5 hrs out of their way to help her.  She was touched by their gracious help and their passion when they spoke about the importance of education.  She didn’t realize that the gentle yet strong Kichwa (Quechua) spirit was about to change the direction of her life.

Oct ‘03 After dreaming about the boys and feeling the passion which radiated from their eyes when they spoke about their desire for a secondary education, Pam returns to Ecuador to try to help them.  She discovered that their community only provided a very mediocre elementary education in a classic one-room school with one teacher for all 6 grades.  The president of the community suggested building a classroom.  The labor will be provided through mingas – “volunteer labor” for which the Quechua are famous.  She agrees to return and provide funding for the materials ($1,000). Meanwhile, Pam’s friends got inspired by the chain of events and sent an unsolicited $4,000 in their Christmas cards.​ keep reading............

Geoff Elliot - Water Colector in Malingua Pamba

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