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Hola and welcome to the travel/monitoring blog for my February 2013 sabbatical trip to Malinguapamba (MP) in the highlands Ecuador south of Quito. The project area is in Cotopaxi Province, in the general area known as the “Cotopaxi Loop,” a popular trekking destination characterized by steep volcanic terrain, warm friendly people, and lots of chicken soup. Project coordinates are 00.82336° South and 78.86495° West at 3,300 to 3,800 meters (10,700 to 12,500 feet) elevation.
The core week of my trip was spent in and around MP (Blogs 9-20) studying local geology, ecology, and water-collection strategies for the communities of MP, Tunguiche, Pucara’, and Guantugloma. The first 3 communities have benefited from a series of education/potable water/irrigation/hygiene/erosion control projects over the last 10 years completed by local “Mingas” (community work days) in collaboration with the Centro Educativo La Minga (CELM), Engineers without Borders (EWB) Denver Professional Club, Rotary International District 5450 (Rotary), and the ERM Foundation (sorry if I missed anybody, there has been so much support).
Rotary, EWB, and CELM are gearing up to work with the Guantugloma community to the southeast in an expanded effort over the next 3 years to build on local success and replicate lessons learned in MP. I was on site between larger team efforts last October and next April, in order to monitor progress, facilitate upcoming grant proposals, and offer vocational training to local workers. Along the way I had a chance to hone my Spanish , work on a low-tech low-maintenance water-intake design, and work with CELM and kids on a watershed-focused coloring book (fun!).