It is six in the morning in Ecuador and it is time to get up, from my window I can see the dim light that passes through the clouds that partially cover the mountains. My first thought is of gratitude due to the luck of being able to pass this quarantine in the reserve. Ecuador has been badly hit by “COVID-19” and to date there are 29,420 infected people registered and more than 3,000 deaths, but it is estimated that the figures are higher.
During a short walk with Leo and Ambar (the dogs), I see a group of Capuchin monkeys and toucans eating guavas, unaware of the difficult moment humanity is going through. Seeing them reminds me of the importance of the work we do in the reserve, protecting the natural habitat of these endangered species.
Like most people, I must combine work with housework and the education of my children. Fortunately, unlike most people, we already did homeschooling, so this period has not been so difficult for our sons. At the moment, we have half the staff (the other half remains at home during the lock-down). Therefore, there are many activities and few hands. However, there is a great commitment and empowerment of the staff to continue achieving our objectives, which remain intact.
It is gratifying to see on social networks the emergence of sustainability initiatives, healthy and organic food and concern for the care of the environment; topics that for years we have been trying to promote. I hope this lasts and is not just a trend of the moment.
For now, we are well, hoping that life will gradually return to normal. However, uncertainty overwhelms us when thinking about the future in the short and medium term. Tourism and volunteering are the main source of income for the reserve and without visitors, it is increasingly difficult to maintain all of our on-going projects.
We are trying to sell cows, goats, sheep and crops, but it is not easy with the quarantine. I think in a few months this will be easier, and we will be able support the reserve and the on-going projects with agricultural production. However, we have fixed costs to cover every month, especially in regards to labour (salaries, social security etc.). Therefore, any help is greatly appreciated.
We are striving for the sustainability of the reserve and all the families that depend on it. Reinventing ourselves every day, remembering the experiences we lived with our beloved volunteers, and hoping to receive them in the near future. Thanks to WorkingAbroad for sharing our experiences with the world and for all the years working together towards environmental conservation and sustainable development.
Written by Alexandra, from the Cloud Forest Conservation project in Ecuador
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