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Eco-Tourism & Cultural
Preservation:
Yacuchimba, Volcán Cayámbe Region

PROJECT HISTORY
This project is located in the beautiful Kayambi
community of Yacuchimba near the Cayambe
Volcano about three hours north of Quito. The area
has historically been a center of indigenous
resistance to colonization, going back to the invasion
of the Inca and the conquest of the Americas by the
Spanish.

In the 1950’s Yacuchimba was the epicenter of one
of the first Indigenous
levantamientos, or uprisings,
against the authority of the state and the hacienda
system which kept Indigenous laborers in debt
peonage. This
levanamiento was the first in a series
that eventually forced the land reform laws of the
1960s which broke up the haciendas. The almost
100 year-old leader of this uprising, Transito
Amaguaña, still lives by herself in a one-room house
in town and is revered by Latin America’s egalitarian
social change movement as a hero and revolutionary.

The Kayambi population live by farming and raising
dairy cows, with fields surrounded by mud walls
planted with agave. Although communal land won
through the Land Reforms was divided into six
hectare family farms in the 1980's, the division of
these lands between many children has left most of
La Chimba's youth without a viable agricultural
option, forcing many to leave the land and migrate to
the cities. Seeing sustainable economic development
as a requisite to preserving their culture, a group of
young people have joined together to develop
ecotourism as an alternative to migration.

For more in depth information click here:
La Chimba: A Guide for Visitors


VISIT
Yacuchimba's youth council has formed an
organization,
Condor Huasi (House of the Condor),
and have developed a hostal for tourists as well as a
hike to a natural hot spring in the  páramo at 3600
meters with spectacular views of the Cayambe,
Imbabura, and Cotacachi volcanos. They also have
formed a folkloric group to perform traditional songs
and dances of the Kayambi people. Inter-American
CASA is also helping the project through the
development and promotion of a region-wide network
of hiking trails and the construction and founding of a
Kayambi Museum of History and Culture located in
the renovated hacienda house of former President
Galo Plaza.


VOLUNTEER / STUDY
Volunteers and students are needed to help the
development of Condor Huasi’s programs with input
and analysis, and to participate in talks on the history
of the Kayambi and future visions for alternative land
use and agricultural practices in the community.
Volunteers have the opportunity to study the
economics of migration and financial remittance,
learn about the effects of land fragmentation on land
use and the local economy, and help evaluate
economic development projects designed to address
the problem of diminishing land resources in La
Chimba.

Larger groups can arrange several-day-long work
brigades to help in the renovation of the abandoned
hacienda and its conversion into a Museum of
Kaymbi Culture. A bilingual volunteer is also needed
to write a history of the community in English for
program promotion and educational purposes.
Finally, the community is always looking for long term
commitments from volunteers who are interested in
teaching art, English, and computer sciences in the
elementary school.

This is a fantastic opportunity for people interested in
participating in the pro-active preservation and
rebirth of one of the Andes’ oldest and proudest
Indigenous cultures.

For more in depth information click here:
La Chimba: A Guide for Visitors


CONTACT Peter Shear for more information:

info@casainteram.org

in Ecuador: 086-849-950
Inter-American Center for the Arts, Sustainability,and Action


Centro Interamericano para las Artes, el Sustento, y la Acción