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:
1:00 p.m. – once daily departure
Latacunga Main Terminal (not a very large terminal); look for bus company called Cooperativo 14 de Octubre which will probably have “El Salado” (the last stop) listed.
~2.5 hrs to M.P.;
M.P. is the second to last stop.
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 Araque 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 company Cooperativo 14 de Octubre from Latacunga Terminal Terrestre to Malingua Pamba: leaves 1:00 p.m. arrives around 3:30 p.m. (Malingua Pamba is the second to last stop. FYI: Bus driver sleeps at last stop which is El Salado and runs the return route to Latacunga in the morning.)
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.
Pre-School: 1 teacher with volunteer moms for 30 kids ages 3-5.
Elementary School: 6 teachers for 55 students from ages 5 – 15.
Colegio/Secondary School: 5 teachers for 70 students ages 11 and up.
Our students walk from communities up to 2 hours away
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
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.
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.
Aula de Compu (Computer Lab)
As of November, 2011, the government of Ecuador is providing satellite internet to our school. In April, 2012, the government donated 6 computers. There are also several functional donated computers. There is a ceiling mounted digital projector (which they call an 'Infocus').
As of October, 2012, the colegio meets on Saturdays and Sundays in an attempt to comply with the curriculum requirements.
Elementary School in Malingua Pamba
The elementary school meets Monday through Friday starting in mid-September to mid-July. If you are planning on working with the students, check the Ecuadorian holiday schedule (i.e. El Dia de los Difuntos (Nov. 1), Carnival, Semana Santa, etc.).
Lodging and Meals
Paulino (ex-President of M.P.) and his wife, Elvia 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 clean 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.
There are 2 working showers ; one in Paulino’s house and the other in the teacher’s apartment in the colegio. Bring shower sandals, soap, and towel.
I would like to recommend that you use the composting toilet (as an example to the students). Paulino has two flush toilets - one on each level of his house/hostal.
Paulino bought Elvia a washing machine which she permits volunteers to use for a modest fee. Bring a clothesline to dry your clothes.
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.
In April, 2008 we installed a ceramic water purifier for the home/hostal of Paulino & Elvia. In April, 2013, we replaced both filters. You can fill your water bottle from this source. If there is a problem with the filter, Elvia can boil the water (5 minutes) or you can buy bottled water from Alcides' tienda.
In Isinliví, 15 km/9 miles or 2.5 hrs by foot, there is a Subcentro de Salud. As of April, 2013, it is staffed with a doctor and a dentist. There are two hospitals - both ~1.5 hrs away. One is in Latacunga and the other In Zumbahua (Claudio Benati Hospital which was built by a group of Italians).
Communications and Support People
Claro cell phones work here. Various people in Malingua have a cell phone including Paulino Sacatoro. Their contact information is at the end of this info sheet.
Person / Hostal
E-mail / Misc Info
President of Malingua Pamba
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
Toilet, Medical & Misc
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
(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)
pepper & your favorite spice
A few photos of your family
Specialized Travel Checkoff