Belén and the Medical Clinics

Playing with cousins and neighborhood friends in the town river, a player on several basketball teams, her high school’s best chemistry student, and a traditionally clad member of an Andean dance troupe, María Belén Cachimuel’s early years suggested that she would use her many talents to become a versatile woman with a clear role in her community. She began by helping her family to make and sell crafts in the Plaza des Ponchos, a famous local handicrafts market.  At thirty, recently graduated from law school and learning the practical side of her profession on the job, she is fully living up to expectations.  Her long-term goal, though, was decisively shaped by the time she spent volunteering for Tandana’s twice-a-year medical clinics for underserved people in outlying indigenous communities around Otavalo, Ecuador.  

Continue reading “Belén and the Medical Clinics”

How faith, family, and funding opens doors

Mónica López is a young woman with a strong faith in God, as evidenced by the t-shirt she wore to our interview, featuring a representation of the Lion of Judah. Like the Lion, her faith has given her the strength and determination needed to succeed. The following is Monica’s story, told in her own words, and excerpted from the interview.

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Tandana changes Nayeli’s life

Nayeli Anrango, a member of the Panecillo community, received medical care through Tandana’s mobile clinics in October 2018 after experiencing several epileptic episodes that caused seizures, falls, and loss of consciousness. According to the doctor that saw her, this was a case of child epilepsy and she needed to see a neurologist.

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Northern Ecuador: Clean water or the Plastic City?

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Part 1

After five weeks dedicated to getting to know the situation of the indigenous people north of Quito, and the ways they are working with government or foundations to strengthen the current situation of their traditional communities, we are finding that getting or retaining a supply of clean water is often crucially important.  The village of Gualapuro, and its 30-year struggle for this human right (which is now coming to a successful end thanks to fundraising efforts by their neighbors and to the Tandana Foundation) stands out in our minds. 

Continue reading “Northern Ecuador: Clean water or the Plastic City?”

Bringing global perspectives and multiple forms of knowledge to higher education

Thanks to sponsorship by the O’Donnell Visiting Educator Program and the Center for Global Studies at Whitman College, Associate Professor of Biology Leena Knight and Founding Director of The Tandana Foundation, Anna Taft (Whitman ‘02), organized a course titled Health in Ecuador and Mali: Pandemic, Race, Culture that took place remotely this fall for Whitman College students.

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It was a success: Tandana’s first virtual summer school in Ecuador

To continue to support education in Ecuador, The Tandana Foundation worked especially hard this year to offer its annual summer school program despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tandana’s program coordinator conducts important research into supporting Latinx college students study abroad

As part of her master’s in international education, Nicole Melendez, one of The Tandana Foundation’s program coordinators in Ecuador, completed a research project called “Supporting Latinx College Students Study Abroad.” Melendez specifically looked at U.S. students who identify as Latinx who are studying at post-secondary institutions across America.

Continue reading “Tandana’s program coordinator conducts important research into supporting Latinx college students study abroad”

Inside Tandana’s Virtual Host Family Program

To continue making and fostering global connections through their work, The Tandana Foundation adapted its ESL (English as a second language) and storytelling internship positions in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the community’s and the interns’ well-being this summer, Tandana hired Mallory Woods from Pennsylvania and Hannah Nivar from New Jersey as ESL interns, and myself, Nadyieli González Ortiz from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as a Storytelling intern, to join the organization’s team in Ecuador remotely.

Continue reading “Inside Tandana’s Virtual Host Family Program”

On the fruits of intercultural friendship: a story of Northeastern students in the Gualapuro community

As part of the Northeastern University Alliance of Civically Engaged Students (NU|ACES), a group of students visited the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador for a week-long service trip with The Tandana Foundation. I spoke with many members of the group about their experience on the trip and how the trip inspired them to launch several different fundraising efforts to benefit the community after returning. Continue reading “On the fruits of intercultural friendship: a story of Northeastern students in the Gualapuro community”

High hopes: one man’s determination to overcome the obstacles before him

You stand behind Jaime Muenala’s cement farm house in the majestic foothills of volcanic Mt. Imbabura in northern Ecuador, gazing in awe down the clifflike trail to the green terrace below, and then you find yourself asking the obvious: “Do you go up and down THAT to get to your fields?” Jaime smiles slightly and says, “Si.” In fact, daily. And not just when farming. Continue reading “High hopes: one man’s determination to overcome the obstacles before him”

Halloween beneath the shadow of Tayta Imbabura, the night a werewolf howled at an Andean moon

My body, still accustomed to a lifetime of changing seasons, told me that it was autumn and that Halloween was approaching. I wouldn’t have realized that just by looking out the window from my Ecuadorian host family’s home. Here you don’t experience the four distinct seasons as we are accustomed to in many parts of the U.S. In Ecuador, you have the rainy season and the dry season. Continue reading “Halloween beneath the shadow of Tayta Imbabura, the night a werewolf howled at an Andean moon”

Tandana’s community project coordinator in Ecuador shares a joyous story

Hello Everyone!

I am Vicente Pazmiño, The Tandana Foundation’s community project coordinator in Ecuador. I live in the El Panecillo community in the San José de Quichinche parish, from where our beloved Foundation operates.

Over many years of collaborating with the Foundation, we have completed many projects that benefit the parish’s many communities, and today I’d like to tell you a brief story about a project that brought me a lot of joy. Continue reading “Tandana’s community project coordinator in Ecuador shares a joyous story”

Independence through education and determination

Cristina Fuerez and her younger sister Margarita were born and raised in a traditional, mudbrick cabin on a small farm near the village of Panecillo, Ecuador. Small and dark, having only a single room without windows, plumbing or electricity, the house still stands high on a sloping parcel of hillside that their paternal grandfather managed to secure, in a two-year legal struggle. In the 1960´s, he was forced to walk the seventy miles to Quito several times to obtain the necessary legal papers, when Ecuador finally abolished sharecropping serfdom, known as huasipungo. Many of his indigenous neighbors didn’t manage it and lost the land they had occupied for generations. That grandfather’s spirited defense of his rights, despite obstacles, lives on in his granddaughters. Continue reading “Independence through education and determination”

A united front: Tandana’s health care support through COVID-19 in Ecuador

Like in the rest of the world, the threat of COVID-19 has changed the lives of many people in the communities of the Quichinche Parish in Otavalo, Ecuador.

From the close communication carried by The Tandana Foundation, directed by Virginia Sánchez (Patient Followup Coordinator), with the staff of the Quichinche and Gualsaqui health centers, it has been possible to identify the most relevant challenges in order to work in favor of the communities. Virginia affirms that, “What has changed is the way we are working. We haven’t stopped; we are still keeping an eye on the patients.” Continue reading “A united front: Tandana’s health care support through COVID-19 in Ecuador”

Two personal stories illustrate the value of community

By committing to create and nurture intercultural relationships, Tandana recognizes the value of community as a major driving factor of our work.

In Ecuador, the stories of two members of Tandana’s staff exemplify the way in which experiencing community -whether new or familiar- provides an incomparable opportunity for growth. Continue reading “Two personal stories illustrate the value of community”

Building community through music and public service

Time spent in the Andes always brings home to the traveler the importance that traditional music enjoys there. In indigenous homes and communities, making music together and dancing is thought of as completely natural, with everyone participating at their own level of skill. Neither praise nor criticism is handed out for what is thought of as something as normal to a shared life as eating and talking. Two young men who have been supported by Tandana take that impulse to sharing even further, both playing traditional instruments in a band that has recorded professionally and performs at indigenous ceremonies and celebrations, while also serving in responsible positions within community government. Continue reading “Building community through music and public service”

Birthdays mean special celebrations with Tandana!

No matter how people like to celebrate their birthdays, it’s always nice to be recognized on the day you were born. Since coming to The Tandana Foundation, in January 2019, I have been able to celebrate many birthdays with my coworkers, host family, and friends in Ecuador. Continue reading “Birthdays mean special celebrations with Tandana!”

A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships

 

It’s no secret that the life of a college student is hectic. This year, especially, I have become caught up in the hamster wheel of success and looking towards what is next. It seems like there are always essay deadlines and group project meetings. My Google calendar is filled with notifications and obligations. I have found myself asking, does my full schedule reflect how full my life is? Continue reading “A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships”

A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on

The highlight of any Tandana volunteer venture is the community project. This is a project proposed by community members and then paired with an upcoming volunteer group that will best be able to contribute. As a Program Coordinator for The Tandana Foundation, it is one of my responsibilities to facilitate and organize the logistics of working on a project with community members and volunteers. We like to be upfront about what the expectations are for what a group can realistically accomplish during their stay. Continue reading “A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on”

Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners

Earlier this year, The Tandana Foundation hosted a group of members from the Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers program. Pam Bennett, the Ohio State Master Gardener Program Director, wrote about about her experience on the trip in the Dayton Daily News. Her article is below. Continue reading “Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners”

Medical care from the heart that never gives up

When you live in the high Andes of Ecuador at an altitude of 9,000 feet, where your eyes are subjected to intense solar rays, cold winds blowing off the peaks, and the thick volcanic dust that that for thousands of years has grown the staple foods of corn and potatoes, a film can begin to grow over the eyes, rather like a cataract, severely diminishing your vision. Luz Maria Campos and her husband, Luis, began to realize that something was not right with her eyes, although they didn’t understand exactly what was wrong. Continue reading “Medical care from the heart that never gives up”

Its not work, it’s a lifestyle

I had been walking among indigenous communities and people of many different hues for some years when one day, on the slopes of the Tayta Imbabura, I crossed paths with a Yachak of the Kichwa Otavalo nationality who told me: “You have to plant seeds, wherever you step, wherever you go. You have to plant seeds. Always leave something of you wherever you go, and let others plant seeds in you wherever you go.” Continue reading “Its not work, it’s a lifestyle”

From hacienda to commune to cooperating farm families

Jose Sanchez is an indigenous farmer who grew up working in the fields of a newly formed commune and was optimistically helping organize the former share-croppers that had been liberated from huasipungo, ‘serfdom,’ in the 1960’s. He lives in Cotacachi, a town of 8,000 located a few miles from Otavalo, and with his wife maintains and manages (at a low salary) a beautiful guest house owned by an absentee landlord long resettled in Quito. His mother is still the owner of a small cornfield in the lands of the former hacienda, but it is not mechanized and doesn’t produce much crops or income. The net result of the ‘liberation’ of the sharecroppers is that they, as before the 1960’s, do all the work and yet remain quite poor. Continue reading “From hacienda to commune to cooperating farm families”

I learn to become more human while working to benefit others

My name is Veronica Pazmiño and, for around five years, I’ve been in charge of the scholarship program for The Tandana Foundation. Tandana for me is an opportunity, because I’m not just working with students, also, I’m supporting families, communities, and creating strong relationship with communities around Quichinche Parish in Ecuador. Continue reading “I learn to become more human while working to benefit others”

Tandana needs your help to support its community partners through the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading quickly throughout the world, affecting all of us in different ways. It landed quickly in Ecuador, started spreading, and is now on the doorstep of the communities The Tandana Foundation partners with. In Mali, it arrived later, but now, with a growing number of recorded cases, sharing information about the disease is urgent. Continue reading “Tandana needs your help to support its community partners through the COVID-19 pandemic”

Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador

Hope Taft, former first lady of the State of Ohio and now President of The Tandana Foundation, believes in the possibility of changing society and people’s lives for the better. Her letterhead prominently features the phrase “Ohio Hoper.” Gladys Perugachi, an indigenous woman in the Kichwa-speaking region of Ecuador, is a kindred spirit, committed to a more just society, which in that country has been very slowly becoming a hard-fought reality. Continue reading “Quichinche Hopers: Women Lawyers and Justice in Northern Ecuador”

The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble

I had the opportunity to experience a trip facilitated by The Tandana Foundation to the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador, for my first spring break of college as part of the Northeastern University Alliance for Civically Engaged Students (ACES). I was stoked to experience a new culture and meet new people, but in preparing for traveling something continued to bother me. Continue reading “The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble”

Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April

With travel and social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Tandana Foundation is launching a free series of Virtual Venture trips to Ecuador and Mali this April. Each one-hour video conference will have a different topic and provide participants with the opportunity to talk with Tandana’s staff and friends from its partner communities, watch videos, and hear about recent work the organization is doing in the countries. Continue reading “Tandana to offer Virtual Ventures to Ecuador and Mali in April”

Two patients’ stories from participating in Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Program

If patients require additional care or larger medical procedures, such as surgery, after visiting one of the health care clinics organized by The Tandana Foundation in rural Ecuador, they enter the organization’s Patient Follow Up Program. Through this program, Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Coordinator Virginia Sanchez helps patients obtain such care by helping them navigate the public health system and advocating for them. In the following videos, two patients in the program share their experiences and gratitude in receiving their needed medical care. Continue reading “Two patients’ stories from participating in Tandana’s Patient Follow Up Program”

This scholarship student is already achieving great accomplishments while still in school

Ahyni Shayarina Oyagata Torres is a hard-worker, president of her school’s student council, and the recipient of a Tandana scholarship. In the following letter, she shares her story and how the scholarship has impacted the lives of herself and her family. Continue reading “This scholarship student is already achieving great accomplishments while still in school”

Safe drinking water: ‘Something magical for our children’

Gualapuro is just five minutes from the Otavalo, city limits, a city of 32,500 in Ecuador, but it has never had clean drinking water. This indigenous community of about 350 people has a natural spring on its lands at the bottom of a cliff, a water source that is the clearest and cleanest in the canton. Since it is below the community, however, it would require pumping to get it up to the homes. So, instead of drinking pure, health-giving water, through countless generations the community has relied on the runoff from a swampy pasture near the town. Continue reading “Safe drinking water: ‘Something magical for our children’”

A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador

During a Tandana Foundation volunteer trip with the Ohio Masters Gardener group last year, Ed Gasbarre kept a journal chronicling what he did each day. From helping out on a farm to visiting with school children, and sampling the local cuisine, Ed creatively documented each experience with photos and drawings alongside his written description. Read excerpts from his journal below. Continue reading “A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador”

Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media

Eleven students and two leaders from Lindsey Wilson College’s Bonner Scholar program recently traveled to Ecuador on a cultural learning and service trip organized by The Tandana Foundation. While living, working, and exploring the rural highland region, the hard-working group posted frequent updates on what they did each day onto their social media accounts. Below are the posts they shared with their followers. Continue reading “Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media”

Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa

A group a students from ARCC, an organization that designs and operates programs exclusively for students, recently participated in a cultural learning and service trip with The Tandana Foundation in Motilón Chupa, Ecuador. During the week-long trip, the students were engaged with local community members through living, working, and playing alongside them via such activities as building a water tank, preparing pizza, and visiting with school children. As the group wrote in the following blog post, first posted on ARCC’s website, this engagement led to the creation of lasting bonds between themselves and the community members. Continue reading “Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa”

A scholarship student motivated to create a better world

Sisa Lissbeth Panamá Mármol is an ambitious student, pursuing a difficult major in mechanical engineering with a scholarship from The Tandana Foundation. She has likewise challenging long-term goals for herself – to combat the destruction of the environment. In the following letter, Sisa shares her story and thanks the Tandana donors who provided her with a scholarship to attend college and assist her in achieving her dreams. Continue reading “A scholarship student motivated to create a better world”