Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Donde esta el Baños?

Banos is a cute little touristy town of ~20,000 nestled among the jagged hills of the Eastern slope of the Andes. It is named for its hot springs (baths or banos), not its toilets, though the mineral content of the water gives it a murky, brownish quality further suggesting the use of elementary-school humor.

The town was completely demolished by nearby Volcan Tungurahua and subsequently (perhaps foolishly?) rebuilt three times in relatively rapid succession back before 1850. Paintings in the main cathedral chronicle these events (alongside the time in 1930 when some tourists drove their car of a cliff and miraculously survived)

Paranoid geologists evacuated the town in 2000 when the volcano began spewing lava again, but after years without an eruption the inhabitants forced their way past roadblocks and reclaimed their homes. We saw a huge plume of ash ominously rising into the Friday afternoon sky that fortunately didn’t culminate in a catastrophic disaster (seems like there have been a lot of these recently in the region).

We went to the zoo (“animal prison”) to see a bunch of fauna native to Ecuador including many species of endangered birds that I likely won’t ever get to spot in the wild. Then they inexplicably had a cage with five American Wood Ducks.

Why they chose to include a relatively common, albeit beautiful, North American species among their menagerie of threatened Ecuadorians is beyond me.

Back at La Hesperia things are going well, except that the week before we were scheduled to receive funds for the school construction project from a Chilean organization an earthquake devastated the town in which it is located. Now we are in dire need of a new source of funding. As unofficial director of outreach and fundraising, everyone’s looking to me for some magic to happen.

Any ideas?

1 comment:

Lo said...

I think you should maybe sell your services and donate all funds raised to the school :)