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In the middle of the world

I went to Ecuador, to visit and document the activities of two Italian NGOs. Taking advantage of my trip, I was able to visit the city and some volcanoes such as Quilotoa, Cotopaxi, and the famous Otavalo market.

I start my trip in Esmeraldas; which is a 270.000 people city. The oil refineries are the main income. Unfortunately, the work is not enough for everyone, it's necessary for many people to move to other places to find some work, this situation caused families break up.

The community lives in the "Barrio Nueva Esperanza", in the Parish of Santa Marianita. This area was destitute, abandoned and dangerous. The houses are in a terrible condition or stilt houses, inhabited by several families, with a violent reputation of people, and with young people addicted to stealing, and to kill very easily. The streets were muddy, smelly and quickly flooded by the flood of Esmeraldas River. This situation created divers diseases: malaria, asthma influences, fevers and many other sicknesses. In all these years even the civil and military authorities have wonderfully worked to improve the environment realizing sewerage and asphalting all the roads. Today the Barrio Nueva Esperanza is a citadel a bit 'more orderly and clean. Here are the missionaries of Cottolengo, an NGO founded in Turin (Italy). Her priests, brothers, and sisters are dedicated to charitable works for the Ecuadorian people. We find one school, a college, a medical clinic and a nursing home for the mentally ill (the college and the house of stored, suffered massive damage during the earthquake that hit the country last April 16, 2016)

Before I reach my next destination, I was able to visit part of the country, between sea, volcanoes and markets.

Arrived in the Chimborazo Province, about one hour from the capital Riobamba, my second part of the trip have begun. I met Michele, an Italian man, who founded the NGO Ayuda Directa, which deals with the Esperanza community, which has about 200 people living practically only from their small agriculture income.

Helped by a retired veterinarian, they have developed a project to ensure more comfortable life for the community. The project involves the construction of an aqueduct providing water to the proximity houses, and for the realization of a cheese factory, to produce mozzarella and be able to supply a pizzeria in the capital, providing cash entry for the people. Esperanza is located at a height of 3800 meters above sea level, therefore in these conditions the cows produce only 2 or 3 liters of milk daily, the target of the veterinarian is to teach the right way to feed the livestock, that means they can increase the production up to 8 liters of milk daily.

Teachers of the school of the community come from Riobamba and are volunteers.