Meet Fabian Umenda, Cofán Coordinator for Sinangüe

Fabian Umenda grew up in the Cofán community of Sinangüe, on the banks of the Aguarico River in the lush green foothills of the Andes Mountains. He is married and has three young daughters. Fabian spends his time working in his garden— growing yucca and plantains— hunting, and fishing. In his free time, Fabian likes […]

A Song of Oil in the Amazon

By Mitch Anderson, International Director Lago Agrio, Ecuador — The sprawl of scorched pavement and crumbling cement buildings in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. This city, once a small oil boom town founded by Texaco in the late 1960s (and given, appropriately, the name “Sour Lake” after Texaco’s hometown in Texas) is now a bewildering […]

Meet Hugo Payaguaje, ClearWater Coordinator for the Siona Nationality

Hugo lives in the Siona community of Aboquehuira, close to his aging parents and two of his brothers. He and his wife Flor, of the Kichwa nationality, have six children. Two of their children live and study in Lago Agrio, at a school for youth of the five nationalities of the region. Hugo was a […]

Ocata and Moipa Nihua: Two Generations of Waorani

  Ocata and Moipa are father and son, members of the Waorani Nationality. In many ways they embody the contemporary story of the Waorani: a strong and proud hunting culture that controlled the largest territory of Ecuador’s Amazonian peoples, first contacted by missionaries in 1956, resistant to that contact but eventually succumbing to the inevitable […]

A Trip Up the Pisorie River

By Alex Goff, International Field Coordinator Life flows like a river in the Amazon. One moment things move fast, the energy is intense, electric. The next moment there is a deep calm, time seems to stand still. I was traveling up the Pisorie River with a group of Cofán, transporting materials for rain catchment systems […]

African Palm in Bellavista

By Alex Goff, Field Coordinator Where forest once stood, now there is just palm. Families living in the African palm fields of Bellavista embody the complex issues facing the Secoya nationality at this moment in time. External and internal pressures on the forest environment have made it difficult for many Secoya to live well off […]

Delivering Materials for Rain Catchment Systems in the Amazon

By Alex Goff, Field Coordinator Installing rain catchment systems in indigenous communities in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon occurs in many different phases. Getting the materials used for system construction to the beneficiary families is one of, if not the most, challenging stages in the process. Materials are many and varied: from the galvanized metal tubes […]

Lago Agrio, a Rapidly Changing Landscape

The city of Lago Agrio, Ecuador sprung up overnight. With the discovery of oil in the region by the Texaco-Gulf consortium in 1964, the company’s outpost— named after its hometown of Sour Lake, Texas— quickly attracted settlers: landless peasants, military personnel, oil workers, prostitutes, businesses, and any one else looking to cash in on the […]

Colón and Fanny

Colón Piaguaje and Fanny Payaguaje live in the community of Siekoya Remolino with their three daughters, Maricela, Mildred, and Ñumi Yasü. Colón grew up in a Secoya society negatively impacted by industrial activity, deforestation, and colonization. As a young man wanting to make a difference for his people, Colón left his community to study nursing […]

Salome Chuquitarco: 30 Years in Rumipamba

Unlike the majority of Rumipamba’s founding community members, Salome did not move to the area from one of the Kichwa communities near Tena. She and her husband José and their children moved from the highland city of Latacunga over 30 years ago. The government was offering land at a low price, and for once they […]