Ecuador 2015

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  • How an Ecuadorian Prison Radio Show Is Changing Women’s Lives

    {image-1} Inmates at the Center for Social Rehabilitation record Palabra Libre. Photo: Ministry of Justice The anchor’s raspy voice is distinctly Colombian. She pauses for a brief second and continues in Spanish. “In a world where bureaucracy keeps growing and there is an excess of information,

  • Life Under an Active Volcano in Ecuador

    It was June 1877 and summer in the Sierra. The dry, Andean wind carried specks of ash that sprinkled down upon the sprawling haciendas and lush swaths of green pastures as hundreds of farm animals grazed at the foot of Cotopaxi, one of the world's highest active volcanoes. Since

  • Oil and Lava

    On the final day of March 2014, President Rafael Correa was blinking away tears on live television. Extreme close-ups showed the bombastic leader struggling to suppress emotion as he listened to student Daniela Armijo thank him for creating “the hope of a new Ecuador.” But Armijo was not just

  • The Rise of the Trash-Picker Collective, in Latin America and Beyond

    As the sky lightens from pink to blue in this gritty oil boomtown on the border with Colombia, vendors at the local campesino market set up baskets of pan de wawa, platters of fresh cheese, and heaps of mangos and bananas. The waste-pickers are close behind, pedaling squeaky metal carts

  • This Couple Aims to Make Ecuador the Cradle of Fine Chocolate Making

    Most of the world's chocolate today comes from America and Europe, and it's made from cacao (cocoa) beans grown in Africa. But at least one South American company wants to make the best chocolate in the world from beans grown at home in the cradle of cacao. "Latin


  • Field Notes from Ecuador

    We didn't have to sacrifice a virgin to the volcano. Though Cotopaxi sent up her plume over Quito -- a jaw-dropping spectacle that made me ponder unseen geologic forces, Continental Drift, magma, the Ring of Fire -- natural disaster did not intervene this time on my International Reporting
  • Ecuador’s Uphill Battle

    So it occurs to me that I both started and will finish my dispatches from Ecuador with a photo from Quito’s Centro Historico. Unlike the first post, this one is looking up rather than down one of the capital’s historic streets. (Two weeks later, I still
  • Buying Souvenirs With U.S. Dollars

    {image-1} Finally, some free time to buy some souvenirs to take back home (read: those chocolate bars in the background). You’ll notice I’m paying the supermarket cashier with a five dollar bill. Following the financial crisis in the late 1990s, and hyperinflation of the sucre, Ecuador
  • Pruning for Chocolate in the Amazon

    When cacao farmers like Emilio Rivera first heard of a government-backed initiative that would help them prune branches and leaves from their trees, they were skeptical. After all, a lush, cacao tree with more, not fewer, branches meant more profits, they said. That’s been the traditional
  • In an Oil Boomtown

    {image-1} In the Amazonian boom town of Lago Agrio, Ecuador, there is tremendous anxiety over slumping low oil prices. Alfonzo Ona, an electrician who services wells for the state-owned oil company, says everyday there are rumors of more layoffs. Even though it’s one of the smallest OPEC countries,


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