During the COVID-19 pandemic, the facemask became a part of our daily outfit. Wearing a facemask protects you and others, and helps prevent the spread of the virus. In Ecuador it is obligated to wear a mask, you could risk a fine or even jail time if you don’t. However, a lot of families in this region don’t have great financial means, and the masks they have to buy are often an impossible extra cost.
So our sewing teacher Martha went to work. After a process of buying fabrics, trying out different designs, sizes, colors, and what not, we finally came up with a durable, washable and re-usable mask. She made over 2000 masks that we handed out here in Guamote and in the surrounding communities to friends, neighbors, and anyone else that didn’t have a mask.
We were also able to donate some fabrics to a women’s organization where we teach sewing classes in a nearby community called Jatunpamba. The 20 women of the organization practiced their sewing skills and made masks for their entire community.
We were able to make this project happen thanks to many donations of our loyal Inti Sisa friends!
We also started making face masks to sell, embroidered with a logo or a coold design. Once tourism gets a boost again, we hope to sell these to tourists to assure them of a safe trip and give them a unique souvenir in the process!
Around mid-March 2020, Inti Sisa´s daily routine came to a brusque stop. Ecuador started taking very strict measurements to try to limit the dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the country was strongly affected.
Our kinder garden teachers kept teaching our kids through whatsapp or phone contact. This is not easy with kids living in remote areas. But they did their very best and it went well. In the meantime, our hotel team was catching up on some maintenance work, trying new recipes, doing English classes and Kichwa classes… But more than anything we were rethinking our social engagement and adapting our community projects to the situation.
Although Guamote is a very agriculturally productive region, after 7 weeks of quarantine, more and more families started to struggle to get the necessary food. Not all people had their crops ready to be harvested, the weekly local market was suspended for months and food prices went through the roof, some more than tripled. Additionally, there was barely any transportation available due to the license plate restriction. This made it very difficult for people up in the mountains, who would have to walk for hours, to buy supplies in Guamote.
Many families lived from extremely simple meals like coladas (porridge meals) or just plain potatoes. To help out these families, we started raising donations through social media. Many Inti Sisa friends helped us out and also Better Places helped us raise donations. We were so overwhelmed and happy with the incredible amount of donations coming in. We ended up putting together over 350 food packages with basic but varied food like rice, pasta, cereals, oil, eggs, sugar, salt, fresh vegetables etc. It was a very busy time with shopping in different places, looking for the best deals, overloaded pickups, converting the hotel into a warehouse and a lot of helping hands to make it happen, but in the end all the effort was more than worth it. Some people of the communities were so grateful that they donated some of their harvest in return, which we donated to the people of Guamote, since people in town often don’t have any possibility to cultivate crops.
The gratefulness of the families humbled us every time, many couldn’t even believe it was all for them! We are extremely thankful for every donation, big or small, every little bit helped the families of Guamote and surroundings!
- Face masks to help prevent COVID-19
- Food packages during COVID-19
- School Projects
- Aflatoun teaching program
- Dogs and cats sterilization campaign
- Sewing classes in Jatunpamba
- The women foundation LA FLORCITA of Bayusihi de San Vicente (Calpi)
- Byron, our neighbour in Guamote
- The animal sterilisation project Guamote
- The Andean schools in Palacio, Ozogoche and Chanchán