What happens when you visit a country and fall in love with the mountains, the oceans and the people?
You decide to take a chance, change your life and use your life experience towards making a difference. That’s what happened to me in 2012 when I first visited Ecuador.
As an American, and a Latina, I couldn’t help but view my life through privilege as I became acquainted with a peaceful people with a rich culture and a diversity of customs in such a small country. Although this country may be rich in natural resources there is much poverty here too.
I was surprised to learn that the average wage in Ecuador in 2014 was $340 per month. That wouldn’t get very far in the USA but here a family of five or more must survive even when work is scarce and infrequent. I was also surprised at how basic needs are often not met in some areas near our land.
I wondered how I could use my work to make a difference for a people I had come to appreciate and care for. My profession for the last twenty years has been in the field of conscious leadership, inspiration and personal development. How could I apply my experience and skills to make a greater impact?
This question was the beginning of this idea called Oasis and my shift towards social entrepreneurship.
Social Entrepreneurship | Social Impact
Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon business techniques to find solutions to social problems. Through our Oasis project we can provide economic support by generating jobs that shift families out of extreme poverty.
We estimate that in 2015-2016 we have contributed about $100,000.00 to the local economy through employment, using local vendors and resources and buying locally sourced materials. That is a huge impact in this area of fishermen and farmers.
I want you to meet some of the Ecuadorian people who are part of our community here. I want to share a bit of their lives with you and how our project is making a significant difference in their lives. You will find a special link to our social programming funding. I hope you will consider making a donation, any amount helps, so we can continue to support the improvements to our local community.
UPDATE APRIL 2017
We did it. We finally got potable water pipes installed on our street giving everyone on our street access to municipal water without having to carry it up on donkeys or pay for tanks to deliver their water. It took about six months but it's done! Things move slowly in Ecuador and there are many people involved that need to be included in these kinds of conversations. I give all the credit to Napo for having negotiated with the municipality to use our donation ($1000) wisely and specifically towards water, the life giving resource in our area.
Here is a short video and a few photos I took of the process. They had to dig up the street and lay the pipes. Then smooth everything over. It took two days. In June, they will return to fix the street again. The rainy season took its toll on the dirt that had been moved around leaving large crevasses and making it difficult to navigate when it rains.
Update December 8, 2016
We are in high gear to get the property ready.
It's been quite a year! So much done and so much to do. We've learned so much about so many things. We can definitely see the impact Oasis is having on our local community. Victor, our master woodworker, has made significant improvements to his modest home. Tito bought himself a motorcycle so he can travel faster and longer distances and save on taxi and bus fares. Nicolas got married and moved to Guayaquil. We have a few new workers including Luis who is a young man who lives on the property and is our right hand guy.
We have begun the process of getting a water mainline from the highway up the road through our community so everyone has water all the time and they don't have to depend on replenishing their cisterns. Water is life here so this is a big deal.
We have spoken to the community governance about helping with enlarging and updating the small church in Rio Chico. It has fallen into disrepair and it can no longer accommodate all the families in the community.
We also plan to help build a children's playground on the church grounds that is safe and entertaining to the kids and families.
Those are our major community projects so far.
And we could use your help.
Please consider a donation; any amount helps. It goes directly to the families in our area to improve their quality of life.
Here is a brief video on our recent donation - six chairs for the church school. You can see here how little things mean a lot here. As long as it's given with our hearts we know it's appreciated and helps.
Please consider donating to help us help these families.
We will be posting updates on this page periodically so be sure to check back. To receive updates on our progress, and to learn about reserving space for yourself or a group,
Tito is our maestro. A maestro is an artisan with a mastery of traditional building skills. Because of the work we provide he brings home a steady $600 month or more.
Our project is providing his family almost twice the average monthly Ecuadorian salary. His children have new clothes for school and his wife has started a small food service business. We had a wonderful time at his wife’s birthday party that was full of laughter. We brought two birthday cakes and fed about forty people that day that stopped by for a slice.
Nicolas is our #2. He picks up where Tito leaves off. A quiet, diligent man he keeps mostly to himself and is tireless in his work. We nicknamed him the “energizer bunny” because he would autograph his work with a bunny and because he never seems to tire. Nicolas brings home $400 per month or more. He has used his money to finish building his house that up until now he could not complete because of lack of money. His quality life has greatly improved.
Victor is a master woodworker. If it’s wood, he is working it. He built the strong front door, will be working all the floors and the bamboo ceiling, the large closets and more. His artisanry shows in his attention to design and detail. Victor brings his 11-year old son to work and it’s a pleasure seeing him teach his craft to his son. Victor has earned about $4000 working on our project, which is like winning the lottery.
Anita and Blanquita
There are two women who live on each side of our property. Anita and Blanquita. Anita was living with no electricity or direct access to water. She would have to use buckets to bring the water up the hill. She has five daughters and works sporadically as a cook in a nearby hostel. Yet, she is always smiling and offers to help in many ways.
Because our area is known to experience an occasional drought we built a large cistern and when we created the water flow plan to our buildings we included a pipe that runs water to Anita’s house and to Blanquita’s house so they would never be without water.
Blanquita is a single woman whose children are grown and gone. We could not build Oasis without her. She kept our supplies safe from thieves and the elements by allowing us to store them under her house. She comes in to sweep the dust every week.
The two women earn about $50 a week or $200 a month from their work with us, which keeps them from extreme poverty. We have also shared our building supplies with them so that they can improve their homes. Their gift to us comes through goodwill and a daily smile.
I started my first English class this week. I managed to get a photo of our “classroom” but once the lesson was over, they scattered before I could get them into one photo. In July I’ll return with some lesson books and pencils and art supplies to continue our English classes. These are some of the kids we have been able to help here and in other areas of Ecuador.
If you would like to help our community thrive and shift out of poverty, please consider a donation. Just click on the button below.
Watch our short slideshow and meet our Ecuadorian neighbors and the families we are able to assist in Ecuador. A portion of Oasis income will go to a fund specifically for our community service. We offer employment, we teach English classes and train local people to work in the tourism industry. We will have a community garden and eventually bring medical services for those who are unable to pay for their health care.