Note: Your backpack/luggage stored in the hold of the bus and/or on top of the bus are typically safe. It is your day pack (with camera, passport, etc.) that should be safeguarded. Do NOT put this on overhead rack nor on floor of bus (these people are small and can get under seats – opening zipper and/or using knife to get into day pack.) Best to keep passport and ALL money except money needed for the day in a money belt under your clothing.
If traveling with a larger group, so economy of scale, I would recommend hiring Marcelo Araqui who has a Land Cruiser. He will drive up to Quito and transport you safely to Malingua Pamba. Travel time: 5 hrs without stops. If you wanted to stop at a grocery store (there is a MegaMaxi/SuperMaxi located not far off the route) and get some “comfort food”, he willing makes whatever stops you would like.
Marcelo Araqui Work: 011-593-3 271-9524 (This is how to dial from USA. He does not speak English.).
Mobile: 098-698-125 (You can dial this from one of the Telephone Cabins in Ecuador.)
What Volunteers Can Expect (or at least some of it!)
The Quechua (Kichwa) are very gentle people. It is my understanding that they don’t try to organize or direct the volunteers – you get to find/make your own way. Below, I have tried to give you the lay of the land so that you can get up to speed and help you make your own way with the least amount of frustration. Feel free to give me feedback/constructive criticism to improve this information blog.
Just follow your heart and you will have a marvelous, loving, rewarding time!.
Climate and such
Altitude: 10,500 ft/3300 m
Expect pleasant temperature at midday with very cool nights (but not freezing). There are two rainy seasons and one windy, dry season.
Pack rain jacket and warm clothing layers.
Bus from Latacunga Terminal to Malingua Pamba: 1:30 p.m. arrives by 4 p.m. (Second to last stop – last stop is Salado.) Daily bus out of Malingua Pamba – departure times vary; also buses leaving from Isinliví – 15 km/9 miles away.
Quechua which they spell as Kichwa. Religion is predominately Catholic. There is a small church in the community. Mass is said there when the Padre makes his rounds. Babies are baptized (quite a ceremony). Nearby, 15 km/9 miles – 2.5-3 hr by foot, is the town of Isinliví where the current padre lives. Italian missionaries (Don Gabriel & family) have rebuilt the church there; they also run a wood-working school for boys. A traveling Sunday school for children is held regularly at different communities.
The Quechua in the Andes are mainly farmers. Main crops are: potato, lentil, wheat, corn, lupine seeds, quinoa, beans, and garlic; Animals for production and eating: sheep, goat, pig, chicken, cow, rabbit, and guinea pig. It is not uncommon for men to “go to town” to do casual labor to earn extra money. Women know how to knit and crochet, mainly to serve the needs of their own family.
Population demographics as of 2008:
Population: 220 people of which 50% are 18 yrs old or younger. Kindergarten: 2 community coordinators for 25 kids under 5 yrs of age
Pre-School: 1 teacher for 30 kids ages 5-6. Elementary School: 1 teacher for 55 students from ages 5 – 12.
Colegio/Secondary School: 5 teachers for 70 students ages 11 and up.
The feeder communities for the Colegio, walking distances and
number of students for the 2006-07 school year:
Current as of September, 2008
Typically, flights from USA arrive in the evening, so first night would be in Quito. I recommend using a travel guide, such as Lonely Planet, Ecuador to choose accommodations. Bus travel typically costs about $1/hour. My preferred public transportation route to Malingua Pamba including timetable:
By 9 a.m.
Taxi from Quito to Terminal Terrestre – bus terminal in the south end of Quito. This is a very bustling terminal. (Carefully watch your gear, especially your day pack.)
$2-3/taxi (not per person); 15-20 min. depending on traffic and departure point in Quito
Elementary and Colegio lunch programs are run separately and mainly coordinated by a “rotating volunteer mom” system.
Population demographics as of 2006
Location: 1000 ft/300 m lower than Malingua Pamba predominately bordering the Rio Toachi; about 2 miles by foot from Malingua Pamba
Population: 333 people
Elementary School: 3-4 teachers with a division of grades
Colegio/Secondary School: The students walk up to Malingua Pamba. Secondary School in Malingua Pamba Also known as: El Colegio La Minga
– name used mainly by the locals. Centro Educativo La Minga - name given by Pam Gilbert, CEO/Founder of non-profit 501(c)3 Foundation
Unidad Educativa a Distancia de Cotopaxi; Extensión: Malinguapamba - formal / official Ecuadorian name
As of September, 2008, we have Octavos, Novenos, Decimos, 1st bachillerato, and 2nd bachillerato for a total of approximately 100 students hopefully with 5 teachers.
In second story,,,
La Biblioteca (Library)
Spanish readers, textbooks, some DVDs & educational CDs, school supplies (pens, pencils, paper, scissors, glue, etc.), foam cushions, perhaps a sewing machine or two and photo albums from each of Pam Gilbert’s visits documenting changes in the community. (Five sewing machines have been brought to M.P.; one never knows where to find them and who is using them. They are suppose to be in the colegio available for the students under supervison. Note: Luis Gabriel Chusin was my first (and successful) Microfinance Loan and he makes clothing.)
Aula de Compu (Computer Lab)
Seven – 10 working computers, 1-2 working printers, stereo zoom microscope, digital projector and “screen” on wall to project DVDs or to use as computer teaching aid. Note: no internet.
Colegio only meets on Saturdays due to teachers’ schedules as well as the need for students to work the fields, etc. mid-week. As we have only 3 classrooms in the colegio building, one of the other classes will be held in the elementary (which doesn’t meet on Saturdays). The 5th class might be meeting in the old elementary building.
Elementary School in Malingua Pamba
Meets M – F with one teacher, Rosa Paez. (Note: there seem to be a lot of school holidays in Ecuador.) Classes are held in the new (inaugurated in April, 2007) two- classroom elementary building. The other classroom is currently being used by the kindergarten.
Lodging and Meals
Paulino (President of M.P.) and his wife, Elvia Sacatoro’s Aqua have built a second story above their home. There are 4 bedrooms with several mattresses in each including some bunk beds. They provide blankets and are starting to get a good supply of sheets. They do not provide towels nor basic toiletries. Three ample meals a day will be provided. The price for housing and food should be discussed with Elvia. Oftentimes volunteers have chosen to sleep down in their “great room”.
There are 2 working showers in Paulino’s house and in the teacher’s apartment in the colegio. The door on the later shower opens to the outside so that all can use it. Bring shower sandals, soap, and towel.
Composting toilet. Bring some rolls of toilet paper.
The locals use the pila (concrete sink – don’t get soapy water in the middle area) or can use the sink in the teacher’s apartment attached to the colegio.
Owned and run by the family of the older brother of Paulino Sacatoro, Alcides. When I arrived in 2003, they sold about 7 things: candy (lollipops), oil, rice, canned tuna, pop, propane, and beer. Each year they seem to add a few items. Of special note, is that they now sell bottled water.
In April, 2008 we installed a ceramic water purifier for the home/hostal of Paulino & Elvia. If that is still working, fill your water bottle from this source. Otherwise, I would recommend that you ask Elvia to boil the water for at least 5 minutes or buy the bottled water from the tienda.
In Isinliví, 15 km/9 miles or 2.5 hrs by foot, there is a Subcentro de Salud. This tends to be the headquarters of a “traveling nurse/doctor”, so it is uncertain as to whether someone would be present to attend to your needs. This could be found out by placing a call to someone in Isinliví and have them check on the current status. In Zumbahua, there is the Claudio Benati Hospital. This was built by a group of Italians. At last report, there are 35 beds, outpatient clinic and staffed by 3-4 full-time doctors, 2 dentists, and 6-8 nurses.
Communications and Support People
Claro cell phones work here. Various people in Malingua have a cell phone including Paulino Sacatoro (president of M.P.) and Rosa Paez (Elementary School teacher). In Isinliví , the managers of Hostal Llullu Llama (Katrien, a Dutch woman and Jose Luis, an Ecuadorian) are invaluable sources of information and support. Their contact information is at the end of this info sheet. Nearest internet in Isinliví or Latacunga.
Pam’s Packing List for Ecuador
visa/ATM card (I bring two)
money belt with
copy of passport
cash especially $1 bills (no $100 bills)
water bladder & micropur tablets
Ecuador guide book & map
headlamp & extra batteries
(blankets will be provided by your hosts)
sleep sheet - optional
2 pairs of socks
4 pairs of underwear
2 quick drying shirts
long sleeve polypro top
2 quick drying convertible pants
hat (to prevent heat loss and vs sun)
hiking boots or tennis shoes
sandals (for shower & rest from other shoes)
regular toiletry kit
notebook for journal & pens
important phone numbers and addresses
quick drying towel
sun screen & lip balm
power bar or two for emergency
Cipro – antibiotic for diarrhea
Bandaids & antibiotic cream
powdered laundry soap
clothesline and pins
pepper & your favorite spice
A few photos of your family
Toilet, Medical & Misc
Person / Hostal
E-mail / Misc Info
Specialized Travel Checkoff