Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I realize that it has been a long time since I have posted an update on community center construction progress on this blog.  This is not because we are without news.  Quite the contrary, actually.  I have decided to post briefer updates on the CCC blog and I would recommend pointing your browsers there for more up-to-date information in the future.  However, even there I have been slacking.

At the end of November I came home for Thanksgiving and to check on a broken finger/finger issue.  As it turns out, my original plan to head back to Ecuador after a month or so of being home, was not possible.  I finally had hand surgery this past Friday, February 15, and I am working on recuperation while I've been substitute teaching in the Madison schools.

Meanwhile, I have been having weekly Skype conversations with Paco and Amy to focus our progression forward to construction, keep momentum going, and better organize ourselves as a very young and small organization.  I learned A LOT while I was living in Ecuador for 6 months, and I have been using that knowledge to re-group, re-focus, and make sure that we truly are working on a bottom-up, community-led initiative.

We held another Zumbathon event on December 3rd, which was awesome!  And I am thankful for individuals that keep stumbling across this page, or talk to one of us and want to help donate to make the center construction possible.  I am extremely happy to report that we have raised just over $8,100.00 for construction, and an additional over $12,000 in materials and labor donated by the local mayor in Ecuador!  Thank you for your generous, continued support!!  As we are hoping to really start construction in early summer, and then are looking for ways to maintain the construction, and work more on the sustainable development, job creation, and programming, your continued support is invaluable.

As usual, if you are interested in hosting a fundraising event, want to volunteer, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me.

Thanks again, you guys are amazing!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mayor donation, online donation, upcoming fundraising events

Thanks to another generous donation made online, we are over the $6000 mark for these efforts- awesome!!  We still need your help!  Look for some upcoming fundraising events in the near future!

We are also celebrating the recent donation of cement and materials made by the local mayor. This is HUGE!  Now we just need to wait for when the material and construction leader will be delivered.  We are hoping this will occur before the rainy season (i.e Dec/Jan), but this is not guaranteed.  Given the generosity of the mayor with so many requests he receives, we really can only wait until the material is delivered.

After a long day of waiting, the mayor receives us with a donation of materials

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Donated bamboo, and moving forward

Poco a poco we continue to move forward, thanks to the goodness of a number of individuals who continue to support our efforts!  The other day, we received a donated electric drill to help in the bamboo curing process, and we continue to work with a wonderful ecological architect who is supporting us in our efforts to move the process forward.
Delivery of bamboo- 1 of 3 shipments

Working during the day on setting up area to let the cured bamboo sit 

We still need your help!  We're talking with the mayor and requesting assistance from him as well as various foundations, individuals, and shop owners in Jama and Pedernales, but you can help as well, by organizing fundraising events, contacting me for information on helping donate materials for the construction, helping with the construction process, or just getting the word out.  Send me an email to find out more.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Updates on construction process

These past few weeks have included several exciting developments in the process of moving along the construction of the community center. Working with the governmental system here has been, by far, one of the more challenging things to moving the center along relatively efficiently. With the help of a local architect and engineer, we now have a “green” center design that will be “officially” signed and approved by an engineer so that we may meet with the mayor and more formally request assistance.

Additionally, we received a very generous donation of bamboo, which will help tremendously in the building costs and construction of the center, as the center will largely be built from local bamboo. The optimal cutting time for the bamboo was this past week, and the bamboo then needs to be cured to ensure it lasts over time. We will be working on this process over the coming week, after the bamboo is delivered to Camarones. This involves drilling small holes at each nodule in the bamboo and injecting water mixed with Borax and a few other things into the small holes. Additionally, the bamboo must be elevated from the ground, with the hole-side up, and protected from any rain.

I will post pictures of the processes as we have them. In the meantime, please feel free to send me any questions or comments you might have. And, as always, if you are interested in organizing a fundraising event, please contact me and I will work on helping with the details!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer newsletter posted, lots of activities going on!

Greetings to all!  I apologize for the lack of updates, but without internet in Camarones and with the multitude of activities going on, time for updates has been extremely limited, though we are sending out a summer newsletter today to individuals who have supported us and for whom we have their email addresses.  Please feel free to email me if you do not receive the newsletter email and/or want to be added to our list.

In addition to raising funds for the community center construction and potable water project, we are still trying to raise funds to get the internet up and running in Camarones.  Please consider helping us reach our goal to make this a possibility.  We have been taking groups of kids to the closest internet cafe (an hour away) to chat with afterschool program participants at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center in Madison, Wisconsin.  When we first started the video conference exchanges, we had 4 kids in Camarones that participated, but the group has grown into a group of about 20 dedicated kids who are practicing their English and asking good questions of their peers in Wisconsin.

 Paco and some of the kids on the back of our transportation to Pedernales
 After using the internet we often head down to the beach with the kids and play soccer, toss around a football that was donated by Meadowood kids, or take funny pictures like this one

One of the days we went to use the internet was "Kid's day" which is just like Father's or Mother's day here, but for kids, so we treated and bought ice cream cones in Pedernales

Look forward to more updates soon, and thanks for the continued support!!  With your help, we recently raised an additional $200!!  As always, if you are interested in helping to organize a fundraising event, want more information, or have a question, please email me!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fundraising for internet for cultural exchanges

While continuing the process of moving forward on construction of the community center in Camarones, I have been volunteering to teach English in the local school.  I have also been working on coordinating "weekly" conversations between youth at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center in Madison, WI and youth in Camarones, Ecuador.  As I have posted about before (and, hence, my lack of posts on here), it is not easy to have access to internet.  We have to travel an hour by truck or bus, then pay a dollar an hour to use the internet (assuming it is up and running in Pedernales, as it is frequently down and not working), then travel an hour back to Camarones.

The youth here and the youth in Madison are extremely excited to continue the conversations we have started through video chat twice now, but we are hoping to make it easier for the youth to be able to participate.  $1000 is all that is needed to install satellite internet in the community, so we need your help!  Please follow this link to donate, or pass along to anyone you think may be interested.

And, per usual, if you are interested in hosting a fundraising event to help with the community center construction, are interested in more information, or want to learn more about Camarones, please send me an email.  Please be patient, as my internet access is currently infrequent.

Thanks for your interest, and help in these efforts!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fundraising success, news, etc!

Thanks to everyone that showed up for the bowling event in California this past weekend!  We raised an additional $600!!  That is wonderful!  Also, please check out some press from the event.

Right now, we are trying to raise money to set up internet so that we can more easily continue the connections with our sister neighborhood center in Madison, i.e. Meadowood Neighborhood Center.  We are trying to skype weekly with the children in Ecuador and Madison, but the closest internet is an hour away, so it is much more difficult right now.

If you are interested in helping us raise money for this project, please email me or stop by the Meadowood Neighborhood center and talk to Kris or Cristine.  Thanks!!