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Food packages during COVID-19

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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!