Posted on May 30, 2016
As you already know few days after the earthquake, we sent three teams to map the affected areas. Since then, we settled in Las Cañas, a neighborhood of 39 families in the village of Tabuga, in the province of Manabí.
In this neighborhood, most of the houses are made of blocks of concrete. They either collapsed or are seriously damaged. On the other hand, the few houses that are made of wood or bamboo suffered less damages.
The villagers have shown a strong desire to overcome this hardship and worked with us right away to build emergency shelters and a water tank to collect rainwater. Thanks to a donation we received, now this water can be filtered and used for human consumption. We also installed some latrines in some shelters in Tabuga –in places with no toilets or where toilets needed to be relocated due to sanitary reasons.
Also, some women from the village decided to start a temporary child care center that we helped to set up. As part of the activities that we have carried out with the kids, we went with them around the village and down to the river to clean the river bank. Waste and plastic is a big problem in the town. So we spoke about waste management and showed them how plastic bottles can turn into handcrafts and toys. We believe that sharing the daily life and such activities with the community is very important to develop strong ties with them. Such bonds will help us to understand their needs, to support their initiatives and ideas, and to work together in future plans.
Right now, the people of Tabuga are living in shelters that accommodate about eight to ten families each. Since all the shelters are full, several families live in emergency tents right next to their homes or next to the shelters. Even though most emergency needs are covered, the living conditions are very harsh. We really need to provide a permanent solution for the families of Las Cañas.
Next Monday, two teams will travel to Santo Domingo and Puerto Quito to start harvesting the bamboo that we will use in the houses that we are planning to build as part of our sustainable and long term project. Each team is made of bamboo-cutters from the affected area and volunteers. Once cut, the bamboo needs to be dried and treated in order to be used as a long-lasting construction material.
Thanks to the very important support of The Cloudbase Foundation, Hombro a hombro team and three members of the community will also attend the Bamboo construction workshop organized by Río Muchacho learning center on June 8th-12th. This workshop is critical to start the construction phase.
Fundraising efforts are also key to achieving our project’s objectives. This is why during these last weeks, the volunteering teams in Quito have participated tirelessly in several events. Last weekend, we had a booth at the Terrasónica music festival and at the Expo Be-Fit, where we presented our project and sold buffs and t-shirts. Last Wednesday, the Pentasiete Art Studio organized a silent auction to help us raise funds. The event featured live music and live painting. The food stalls who were present at the event will donate part of their earnings to Hombro a hombro con Ecuador. We also presented our project at the opening of the EDOC documentary festival that takes place in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta.
The bamboo drying and treatment process requires time and patience. Also, the assessmet of the damaged houses was completed last week by authorities' representatives. This gives us good hope that we will be able to start the construction soon. In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with the families of Las Cañas to improve their current living conditions, support their initiatives and fix the homes that suffered less damages to make them habitable again.
Finally, please remember that you can check the donations registry and financial statement of the project at any time here: http://bit.ly/23QA8daview
Thanks a lot for your support! Stay tuned!