For our community involvement t-shirt project in Ecuador this season, we spread out and tried to play a role in two community schools: the El Reten School and the Colegio Borja.
ESCUELA EL RETEN, ORIENTE, ECUADOR
We started with a visit to the school of El Reten, located on river-right on the Upper Misahaulli. Many of the kids that attend the El Reten school have grown up watching us paddle the Upper Misahaulli, oft times sharing lunch left overs and floating down rapids with us (in inner tubes or recycled bottle flotations!). For a second year, our t-shirt program was given an additional infusion of supplies compliments of our friends Dawn and Brent. Brent brought a suitcase full of extra supplies and we took time out to share the contents of the suitcase with the school.
Many of the schools in the Oriente are bilingual–quichua and spanish, but learning english is highly desirable. Before departing, one of the teachers at the El Reten school asked if we would be willing to come back and teach the kids some english. When Ken returned to spend two afternoons in the role of english teacher, the students and teachers all scribbled away (in their new notebooks) trying to remember every word.
COLEGIO BORJA KAYAK INSTRUCTION
Because of the quality time we spend in the Quijos Valley, it was decided that some of our t-shirt program needed to benefit students in the Borja region. Loaded up with more of the custom shirts we printed for the students, as well as gear for a day of kayak instruction, Ken took the high school class out for a day of kayak instruction in a pool on the Quijos River.
A special thanks to all the paddlers that helped donate to the 2009 t-shirt program. It should be gratifying to know that you not only have a custom shirt to commemorate your trip this season, but your donation helped touch the lives of a lot of smiling students in the Oriente of Ecuador!
For more information on the history of our community support projects, see our website.
You can also keep in touch with river management projects being addressed by the Ecuadorian River Institute (ERI)–an organization that has been on the forefront of environmental issues in Ecuador.