St Patricks Day in Ecuador: No Green Beer!

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Happy Saint Patricks Day to those of you who celebrate!

In Ecuador,  the beer is still it’s familiar amber color, there are no people dancing in the street singing in Gaelic and people don’t wear green.

But I thought it would be nice to post a traditional Irish blessing anyway today.

So, here is a traditional Irish blessing in Gaelic, the Irish Language.
Go raibh tú daibhir i mí-áidh
Agus saibhir i mbeannachtaí
Go mall ag déanamh namhaid, 
go luath a déanamh carad,
Ach saibhir nó daibhir, go mall nó go luath,
Nach raibh ach áthas agat
Ón lá seo amach.

The Translation is in English below:

May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings, 
Slow to make enemies, 
quick to make friends, 
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness 
From this day forward. 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media site!

If you came here to learn more about Ecuador, in  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. 

Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats.

Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

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Why Do Ecuadorians Play Their Music So Deafeningly Loud?

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Below was a question posted on an Ecuador Focused Facebook Site. If you wish to be a “fly on the wall” to the many expats who are living in Ecuador, this conversation is a great opportunity to hear their thoughts on living in Ecuador:

I am not trying to start a war or ruffle feathers, but I honest to goodness want to know: Why do Ecuadorians play their music at deafening levels? There is no regard for neighbors or even the people attending. The party last night started at 8:30 and blasted till 6 this morning. Not all the pillows and ear plugs in town could drown it out. 

(Please Note: I have taken out the names to protect the privacy of the individuals who replied:)

EXPAT RESPONSES

*** Welcome to Ecuador..

*** One thing a loud music culture, the other is insulation is not needed on southamerican homes, therefore with the same party in the states there wont be as much loudness scaping to the neighbour

*** My husband and I are country people. We need quiet. Therefore, we cannot live in towns. We live out in a finca area. About once every six months they have a big party. Fortunately it is far away and we have ways of muting the sound.

*** Some people love city life and the noise that comes with it. We don’t. So we found we will never do well in town.

*** Fyi..talk with the police. There are ordanence in ecuador. There was in galapagos and in guayaquil. I sent a letter to a city hall office. The neighboor was horrible.. dogs too. They have the same laws in ecuador. It is a $200 fine if you dont comply to the complaints.

*** They enjoy noise and a party atmosphere. So do many young people world wide. People and cultures have different preferences.

***Don’t tolerate this. First time, they get a polite request. Second time, they get a less-happy request. Third time, they got a policemen brought to their door. No policemen around? Bang on their door at 7am… or just start hootin’ and hollerin’ like you’re part of the party.

***You want to be in their country you should be more tolerant. You are the guest.

*** Isn’t life too short for BS like this??????

*** That how it is in Vilcabamba downtown. Lots of parties on weekends!

***  This is a Latin thing and found in all Latin based countries even the Philippines. I think they subscribe to the idea that MORE and BIGGER is better grin emoticon

*** Partying, drinking, cockfights, and loud music.. I have found thiem in every Latin country I have visited LOL

*** I think they enjoy being with friends and family and this is one way they celebrate it. I love to see them happy and far be it for me to try to put a stop to it!

***  In my example, the guy was sitting just inside his front door, all alone, with his giant speaker just outside the front door. At 630am.

*** I try to make everyone leave by breakfast.

*** The parties are so interactive, dancing, eating, men telling ‘cachos’, dancing some more….drinking and hungry again.

*** So, who cares about all the many neighbors trying to sleep? Who cares about them? Some may say that is selfish. It is possible to have fun without that crazy high noise level.

*** I tell my neighbors and invite them and I am cognizant of the noise level. I care, I cannot answer for others. I am sorry that you jumped into conclusions that I was okay with being disruptive with the noise….rather, I was explaining as to why the parties last so long.

We have had the exact same problem. I just went to a wedding of friends and there two competing parties with loudspeakers full blast. I finally got it after 5 years. They really enjoy it so now I know I have to leave every major holiday or suffer the consequences.

*** sounds like Thailand too.

*** Es es muy malo ,pero cuando eso suceda llamar a la policía y ellos tendrá que resolverlo las fiestas están permitidas máximo asta las 3:00 de la madrugada no más

*** Wait until one of your neighbors decide to have a Karaoke party. Is even worst they would sing songs out of tune for hours.

*** Shoot me, please. I would go crazy.

*** Had this start blasting one night at 300 am … Sad drunk love songs … Was kinda funny … Luckily I went right back to sleep … The crazy disco lights were actually worse than the music coming thru the window … Musta been laser lights … Doesn’t happen often so I can live with it as luckily I am retired and have no pressing engagements to worry about … Ever smile emoticon

*** Summers here in Rosarito, Mexico, exactamente. And year round there are many restaurants I don’t frequent because I can’t have a conversation of any sort due to the shear volume of the music, forget the noise from the patrons. Think it’s those Latin genes.

*** Isn’t it wonderful that the problem is music? At least you aren’t in the USA where people are being beaten up for the color of their skin.

*** Is it really necessary to interject USA racial issues into a discussion about loud music? Wanna talk about the bad water in Flint as long as you have totally changed the subject from loud music in Ecuador? I lived in St Louis, is there police brutality in America, yes. But more than 50% of the citizens of St Louis are black, and 99.9% can walk down the streets without police brutality.

*** And at least it’s not gun shots … I’ll take party over violence noise every day !!! And night !! We are so uptight in the north Americas we really have lost the ability to live and let live and I hope we don’t ruin Ecuador with our Norms and appreciate and assimilate into the culture or leave to seek more familiar surroundings

*** Sorry to hear that, that doesn’t happened ever here where i live , and this is Ecuador too.. ooops… lol …. have you tried and talk to the police if that happens too often ? .. if it is once a year.. well…

*** I think their hearing is so damaged from previous parties that they need to turn it up! Think about it! These people have been taking their INFANTS to these noisy parties from birth! There has to be some repercussions, hearing damage!!!

*** Because it’s a different culture…

*** Occasionally there are the loud all night parties with the same ol reggie tone booming out. There is some great latin dance music, but seldom hear that, just the same ol crap. What I don’t understand, I have driven down to where the parties are at 4AM or so and NO ONE is there, but the music is still blasting. Why?

*** They are all dead drunk

*** When this happens in Pto Lopez, we presume that the party givers paid for the DJ and the DJ will always give them their monies worth.

***  Its not “Ecuadorians”. Its some Ecuadorians, not all. And it is quite burdensom. Also Colombians, Peruvians, Brasilians, and other Latinamericans do this, with utter disregard towards their neighbours. Its the culture I guess. And often, not much you can do about it. Unfortunately.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night etc. it is tiresome. I feel manners go along way. I notice sometimes here can be lacking like when driving say in UK we put our hand up to say thanks etc when someone gives way. Or when my kids or me walk across a road and a car stops To give way i have taught them to raise their hands as a thank you etc etc I haven’t seen anyone return the same courtesy not once. However I accept that lots of people here will say good morning when standing in a crowd waiting and that def doesn’t happen in UK! So it’s yin and yang I suppose with all things. I will persist with my UK style of manners too ingrained and automatic for me maybe it will catch on?!

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move.

Not only that, but as others had mentioned it’s a massively huge (and in my opinion inappropriately racist) generalization to say that “Ecuadorians” play their music loudly. My girlfriend’s mother certainly doesn’t, nor does her grandma, her brother, her brother’s wife, her uncles, her aunts, etc., etc., etc….

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is great, all ok, and I accept it all whether I like it or not”. This really is simplistic. This thing of saying “well if you don’t like it then leave” that is racist. I hear that all the time to migrants in the UK!

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** I think expecting an entire country’s culture to be changed in order to accommodate people coming here for a low cost of living is quite absurd.

*** Exactly correct. It’s only some, not all.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night …

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is cool…

*** My comment was a reply to the person making the post, who did use the term “Ecuadorians” as a generalization. The difference is, migrants in the UK are probably in the UK for much, much different reasons than most of the people making and commenting

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** After a few nights in Cotacachi with the roosters, musical garbage trucks, early morning blaring loudspeakers and the music it was a no brainer that ¨city¨ life was not for me. So we bought a short distance from town.

*** When you say, “Ecuadorians”, you generalize. Not all “Ecuadorians” are created equal. I could say the same thing about people, here in the States, but that would be like putting everyone in a certain category. Signed, an Ecuadorian.

*** Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted.

*** Yes I suppose reading the op the poster could of used a better choice of words. I am sure it was not meant in an offensive way. Come on people we all generalize as some point in our lives no one is perfect – look I just did i just said all us Brits are moaners….please UK expats I don’t mean it honest its just a joke!

*** And another generalisation from another Brit……we fell in live with Ecuador and Ecuadorians. Does NOT mean we cannot voice our opinions or little moans. We think the main issue with living in Ecuador is the expats who seem either to be delightful, warm and friendly, or little arses.

*** I reckon I am somewhere in between Frankie, delightful, warm and friendly ass? smile emoticon !

*** it’s OK! I had the gall to complain about a corporate grocery chain, TIA, cause they do not sell kitty litter and rarely sell Diet Coke. OMG did the spears fly! I was told to get the f*ck back to America.

*** Before we bought our land and built our home in Puerto Lopez, an Ecuadorian friend gave us great advice. He said neighbors are everything here…get to know them BEFORE you buy anything. We did. I think we have the best neighbors in town.

*** I agree with most of you..not all Ecuadorian used to do this ..

***I think some of you are bing nit picky about the choice of words, especially referring to Ecuadorians. Maybe it would have been more PC.

What do you think?

In  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Things People Never Expected While Traveling Abroad

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Things People Never Expected While Traveling Abroad

 

The following are actual real-life experiences of the strangest differences noticed while traveling internationally:

“I lived in Japan for a year. The satellite radio at my school had a channel called ‘Rokki’ that played the Rocky theme song on a loop 24/7.”

~

“Just following the law…I got laughed at by a taxi driver in Romania for putting my seatbelt on…”

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“Living in Germany I have recently talked to an exchange student from Bangladesh. He was seriously shocked that people would stop at red traffic lights although there were no other cars/pedestrians around. Gave me a good laugh.”

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“A condiment fee?  Germany, how dare you charge for ketchup?”

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“What makes it even more astonishing is the complete lack of trash cans. A few years ago I was being touristy in Tokyo. I saw two trash cans in total. Two. For an entire city. And yet the place is fucking spotless.”

~

“Liquid bread” People seem to drink beer all the time in the Czech Republic. Our local guide said that sometimes workers will have a few beers for lunch and then go back to work, calling it “liquid bread” or something like that.

~

“How loud people are in the U.S.”

~

“I come from tiny little Sweden where the loudest thing on the subway is the subway. Walking on the subway in NYC and getting hit by that wall of noise was a real shock. Also, the onions in the U.S. are enormous.

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“This is silly, but in 2003 I visited Germany and was absolutely blown away that the escalators didn’t start moving until you approached them (like automatic sliding doors). In America they’re always just going. I thought it was genius.”

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“When ya gotta go…How urinals popped up out of the sidewalks at night in London.”

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“When I went to America McDonalds had refillable Dr Pepper. I was in heaven.”

~

“When ya gotta go…take II? While in Beijing, saw a middle-aged man in a suit and tie pop a squat in front of some sort of professional building and literally take a shit in the bushes. Was not prepared for that AT ALL.”

~

“Siesta, anyone? In Spain, EVERYTHING is closed for a nap after lunch.”

~

“Shocking When I went to Japan I went to a bathhouse and my leg started spasming violently when I got in a tub. I thought I was having a stroke, but it turns out they have pools with electrical currents to promote longevity. That was literally my most shocking experience overseas.”

~

“Beer in China is sold in bags.”

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“Oh say can you see? How flags are openly displayed all across American residences.”

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“True innovation from Walmart When I came to the US, that rotating plastic bag holder at Walmart blew my mind.”

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“Israeli toilets have two kinds of flushing, one that barely flushes and another that is so strong that it waxes your thighs if you don’t stand up first.”

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“How do you like them apples? How small all of the fruit was in England. One apple in the US is like two UK apples. I went through a lot of apples.”

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“Drink up Shocked, and also loving, the complete lack of responsible service of alcohol laws in Bali. Get a bit drunk in a pub in Australia and you risk being cut off. In Bali they will serve you while you’re lying on the floor vomiting, as long as you keep paying.”

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“In South Korea there is no separate shower in the bathroom. The showerhead sprays directly on the floor and there is a drain in the corner of the room.”

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“Surprise taxes How price tags in America do not include Taxes!”

~

These comments above were taken from an article Posted Nov 14, by Hannah Poindexter:

Article: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9mJY6m/:5c9HaIvt:eKt+KU$Y/www.dose.com/theworld/24393/22-Things-People-Never-Expected-While-Traveling-Abroad

The Gift Of Gratitude- Thank You Dear Readers

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I wanted to take this opportunity today to express my deep gratitude to you, my readers. You live and work in more than 175 countries around the world. You form an amazing international web of connection to many different cultures and people. Together, we are shaping the future of our world by our many talents, gifts and contributions. I am extremely proud to be part of our shared international community.

As you know, I write and post on all of my various social media forums with the deep intention to serve through inspiration and motivation. (I was most recently described this week as “an instigator for getting others to move outside their comfort zone into seeing the options available to them.”)

Around the web on my various social media spaces, I post art and photographs, music and videos, quotes and other ideas. I always try to offer what I believe might be a helpful perspective to you or to give you some “food for thought” as you travel your journey, wherever you are in the world.

However, this is far from just a “one way street.” Every day I am equally blessed, inspired and moved by your wisdom, your many contributions, comments and posts as well. I wanted to make each of you aware of the exquisite gifts you give to me every single day and to express my gratitude to you for them.

I’ve always loved that old Zen saying, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” We are always -and in turns – both “teacher” and “student” for each other’s growth, lessons and personal evolution. Our current ongoing “global conversation” together here in the social media stratosphere truly feeds my soul in innumerable ways. Thank you for that as well.

Warm regards,
Mary Anne Dorward

PS: Feel free to join more of your fellow international community on these various social media spaces outlined below:

Social Media Housekeeping

Words To Thrive By Website

To get more info about my Words To Thrive By® Book Series or to read/sign up for the WTTB blog, our ongoing conversation about the incredible power of words, go here: http://wordstothriveby.com

Mary Anne Dorward Website

If you need Speaking, Writing or Coaching services, want to hear me sing or to read/sign up for the MAD/My Real Voice blog + conversation about work and life, ongoing since 2008, go here: https://www.MaryAnneDorward.com/

Ecuador Blog

To learn more about real Life in Ecuador, (and other South American countries,) please go here : www.footprintsinecuador.wordpress.com

(You are here now)

Twitter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WordsToThriveBy.
This is where I post positive quotes, words and images, links to blogs, videos and other cool stuff I find when I’m out and about trolling the internet.

Facebook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WordsToThriveBy/

Pinterest

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/madorward/
To quote Elizabeth Gilbert: Pinterest is “that ever so fun addictive crack house, whose vortex I try not to tumble down too often because it’s a gorgeous suckhole.” Yes LG. I couldn’t agree with you more. To be perfectly honest, I tumble down the gorgeous Pinterest suckhole more than I would like to admit!

Thanks again for everything! See and talk with you all soon!

Thank You

P1100438

 

 

 

Ecuador’s Social Security Health Care Program is Short Of Cash: System In Trouble?

Ecuador’s Social Security health care program is short of cash; government shifts funds from pension reserve while critics say the system is in trouble

The Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) is moving money from its pension reserve to cover costs of the health care system. Government opponents claim that the move shows that IESS is in trouble due to lack of federal support.

Ricardo Espinosa, IESS director

Ricardo Espinosa, IESS director, Credit: El Comercio

According to IESS, annual costs of the health care system are $2.1 billion while contributions from members are $1.5 billion.

IESS Director Ridardo Espinosa blames the shortfall on poor administration and too many referrals from the system’s doctors to private specialists and clinics. He says, however, the problem is temporary and that the shift of money from pensions does no endanger monthly Social Security payments.

“All of members are protected,” say Espinosa. “Everyone will receive their pensions as well as quality health care.”

Government opponents say the shift of funds is prohibited by law and proves that the federal withdrawal of 40% support for the system earlier this year was a mistake. They also say that referrals to private health care providers are part of IESS’s stated commitment to provide good health care to its members.

Meanwhile, many private providers are complaining that the government is months behind in its reimbursements.

Espinosa says that neither the health care or pension systems are in trouble and that the law allows him to make administrative decisions, including those that require moving money from one account to another.

Critics claim that the government decision to add children of members to the health care system is the main source of financial strains. They also say that contributions from voluntary members, including housewives, are not enough to cover health care costs.

This article was published in Cuenca High Life on November 21, 2015

MY THOUGHTS:

Ecuador is definitely in a recession right now. President Correa has already been saying for 6 months now that 2016 will be a tough year economically because of the drop in the price of oil and thus, the necessity for him to do what he can right now to cut government spending.

 
Ecuador’s government depends upon oil revenues for a large portion of its government spending, so it has to cut spending in order to live within its means. This causes people to lose their jobs, in construction and many other areas. Many thousands of government jobs have been cut in the last year, and many thousands of private sector jobs have been cut too.

Developments such as these cut backs within the Ecuadorian government can be a disaster if you are someone who lost a job or business because of it. However, for most of the rest of the people and sectors of the economy of Ecuador, (or anywhere else for that matter), a recession is a good thing because people can usually buy more for less money during this time. Ultimately, this kind of spending eventually brings back jobs as well.

There are no other global implications other than drop in the price of oil causing most of these cut backs in Ecuador.

Many people say President Correa is governing just as he should and as he was trained to do: as an economist. He is cutting back to keep within his budget, as spending money a government doesn’t have is just not smart accounting.
 
Other countries might take note of President Correa’s actions to keep his country solvent and in the black.
 
You thoughts?
If you came here looking for more information on the nuts and bolts of Ecuador, and not on my personal thoughts about current Ecuadorian politics, feel free to order my new book,

Ecuador: President Declares State Of Emergency PART 2- Article

Here is an additional helpful article on the oncoming El Niño from Triple Pundit by Sarah Lozanova:

Ecuador Braces for El Niño

ecuador floodThe El Niño phenomenon of 2015-2016 is expected to be rival that of 1997-1998, which caused losses equal to 14.5 percent of Ecaudor’s GDP. El Niño causes a weakening of the trade winds, allowing heat to accumulate. The phenomenon shifts global weather, causing flooding in some areas and droughts in others.

Ecuador and Peru are the countries that are most directly affected by El Niño. If predictions are correct, the months ahead could cause debilitating floods, outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, and catastrophic crop and infrastructure damage.

I write from coastal Manabi Province in Ecuador, which experienced the most fatalities in the country during the 1997-1998 event, totaling 104. There is awareness of severe El Niño predictions, but most people I’ve spoken with in the southern coastal town of Puerto Lopez think it will not be as severe as forecasts.

There have been warnings in past years that haven’t come to fruition, leaving many to think the coming months will be uneventful as well. Others are hopeful that an El Niño event could bring rains, ending a severe drought in the region. The current president, Rafael Correa, has significantly augmented the infrastructure in this South American country, leaving some to wonder how it would weather El Niño event.

Preparation

“I do not think we’re ready [for El Niño],” says Roque Mendoza, the former coordinator for the Secretariat of Risk Management for Manabi Province. “Lack of training, and people not knowing what to do in an emergency, is what causes tragedies to be magnified.”

Although one Puerto Lopez hotel owner I spoke with constructed a flood wall behind his property after El Niño flooding in 2002 and another homeowner is adding fill to raise the elevation of their property, I see few other people taking preventative actions. Recent governmental infrastructure improvements may help the situation, if planned and executed with natural disasters in mind.

In Puerto Lopez, a major beachfront construction project is building bridges over rivers and burying beachfront power lines under a new road, which could help prepare the town for strong storms. Residents, however, are concerned by the fact that the beachfront road is now at a higher elevation than some of the surrounding homes, potentially contributing to flooding. There is also a sense among many residents that this project doesn’t address more urgent needs, such as waste water treatment and access to potable water.

The Chamber of Agriculture of Zone II (along Ecuador’s southern coast) is urging the government to declare a state of emergency before the arrival of El Niño. They believe the government has not adequately prepared for the phenomenon, by clearing canals and dredging rivers, giving a path for the removal of flood waters.

In contrast, the Peruvian government has already declared a state of emergency in over half of the country’s regions. There, the government has been cleaning out coastal riverbeds, building flood walls, and distributing mobile bridges to avoid communities getting cut off if existing bridges fail.

Fisheries

fishery el ninoFishing is one of the primary industries in coastal Ecuador, and an El Niño event could have major consequences.

As many fish species migrate to colder waters and others lose weight from lack of food, the industry could be heavily impacted, resulting in lower yields. This is difficult to prepare for, other than seeking out fish species that are less impacted by a change in ocean temperatures.

There is also concern about 500 square miles of shrimp pools at risk of flooding, causing fear in the shrimp sector.

Agriculture

farm ecuadorDrought has plagued many farmers in Ecuador in recent years, disproportionately impacting farmers without access to irrigation or wells. The predicted storms and floods could cause crop damage and landslides.

In other cases, the damage is more indirect. The predicted El Niño flooding could kill snakes, causing a spike in rodent populations that could damage sugarcane, for example. Infrastructure damage could make roads impassible, making it impossible to sell crops and causing income loss.

In Ecuador, many of the farms cultivate a monoculture of just one agricultural product, with thousands of seasonal labors used for the harvest. In the Ecuadorian lowlands, this is most commonly bananas or sugarcane. Large plantations are often less resistant to natural disasters because crop diversity can help mitigate the risk of crop failure. In addition, large plantations may waste a viable harvest because farm workers cannot be brought in for the harvest during a natural disaster.

El Niño rains, however, could break the drought and offer relief along the southern coast of Ecuador. Some of the cropland in Manabi Province is now fallow due to drought, forcing inhabitants to seek out other forms of employment. It does, however, put more pressure on income from fishing and tourism, which would be at risk if the El Niño event does materialize as predicted.

Increased health risk

14684093902_93e3e56dd1_zIncreased precipitation can lead to a spike in mosquito-borne illnesses in Ecuador, including malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Damage to sanitation infrastructurecombined with an interruption in health services and lack of access to safe drinking water could lead to illness, especially among more vulnerable populations.

There have been public health campaigns in Ecuador to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. Health professionals have walked around town, hanging posters and talking to business owners. Public service announcements on the topic are also relatively common, but unfortunately so are practices that encourage the breeding of mosquitoes.

At-risk populations

Natural disasters often disproportionately affect certain groups of people more than others. Having savings can serve as a buffer against loss of income and increases the means to evacuate during natural disaster. Owning medical supplies allows people to treat themselves for minor injuries and prevents the development of more major health ailments. Living in durable homes that are not constructed in floodplains mitigates the risk and damage of flooding. Overcrowding of housing and lack of access to safe drinking water that plague developing countries increase illness and the spread of infectious disease.

Environmental degradation

Massive and rapid deforestation has occurred in Ecuador’s coastal forests in since the 1950s, where 70 percent of the coastal mangroves have been removed by the commercial shrimp industry.

Deforestation compounds the impact of El Niño. Loss of vegetation increases the occurrence of mudslides, which caused the most fatalities in Ecuador during El Niño event of 1997-1998. Deforestation also contributes to soil erosion, which clogs waterways and causes floods.

“Disasters are not only caused by nature, but also by human hands and lack of prevention,” says Roque Mendoza.

Image Credit: 1) Flickr/Sol Robayo 2) Le Minh Vu 3) Flikr/Edward Slipszenko 4) Flickr/CDC Global

Sarah Lozanova is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Triple Pundit, Home Power, and Solar Today. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine with her husband and two children.

Gratitude Day 3: Grant Us A Heart Wide Open To All This Beauty.

How I like to think of my days here

How I like to think of my days. Period.

In Day 3 of my 9 Days Of Gratitude commitment, I thought I would share something really personal with you. The very first thing I say to myself within the first 17 seconds of waking up is, “Something truly AWESOME is going to happen to me today. Thank You! I am GRATEFUL!”

Whatever We Focus On Expands

Whatever we focus on expands and so I choose to focus on GRATITUDE. I want to focus on creating a heart wide open within myself to all the beauty and joy in the world.What do you focus on when you wake up?

A Thanksgiving Prayer For Every Day

Below is a “Thanksgiving Prayer” written Walter Rauschenbusch that could be repeated any day of the year. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,

For the salt sea and the running water,

For the everlasting hills

And the never-resting winds,

For trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank you for our senses

By which we hear the songs of birds,

And see the splendor of the summer fields,

And taste of the autumn fruits,

And rejoice in the feel of the snow,

And smell the breath of the spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty.

• Walter Rauschenbusch •

Another thing I am thankful for is my freedom and ability to write about what I think of and see in my travels around the world. My experience in Ecuador has been truly life changing. Want to know more about that? Here ya go:

“Words To Thrive By® for World Travellers: Footprints in Ecuador” http://amzn.to/1KWKVs2