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About

"Teo, Heather, and Fernando are traveling to Ecuador to finish a design on a chocolate factory for Kallari, thanks to a grant from Architecture for Humanity and the support of RATIO and RAYae."

Gadgets... Friday, October 31, 2008 |

We just received this cool gadget from SteriPen, a handheld water purifier using UV lights! Suppose to kill 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses and destroys Giardia and Cryptosporidium in seconds. Not bad, huh? It will definitely come in handy if we ever run out bottled water and have to scavenge in the sewage…hahaha …But this should be a pretty nice tool for travelling….but we are not too crazy about the color, it will be cool to have one in orange…GO ILLINI!

-Teo and Mee Leng-

Almost There.... |

Well.. we are almost done packing for the trip and will be waking up at around 3:45 am tomorrow morning to get ready and head to the airport to meet Heather at 5:30am. It will be a long day but I guess it will be all worthwhile. Here are a few books highly recommended for anyone in the future going to Ecuador.... and my favorite pick is the Culture Shock- Ecuador...very interesting reading and great tips for all travelers.... Ecuador here we come! Ooops...remember to bring 'deet mosquito repellent....'

- Mee Leng and Teo -

Really, 4 connections? Thursday, October 30, 2008 |

A while back I got a notice that my flight itinerary had changed...I really thought it was just the times. Then I got another one, and figured the same thing. Then today I was reviewing a little notice from Orbitz, and saw that we now have to go through some other city in Ecuador to get on a plane to go to Miami, to get on a plane to go to Atlanta, to get on plane to go to Indianapolis. Just typing that makes me tired, I can't imagine what the day will be like...starting at 700am, ending at 1100pm...

In other and better news, RATIO bought us a way cool camcorder/camera combo. I was upset that we weren't getting the Flip, but when the lovely and talented Dave Girot showed us this camera, the Flip didn't seem as important. We'll get some video up soon!

In other and stranger news, Jake (a former Kallari volunteer) warned us all of the trouble we could get into for biting our nails while in S. America. He ended up in the hospital for not breaking his habit! I filed my nails down promptly.

Ok...time to go get those last minute things! (crazy that its not actually the last minute, what has gotten in to me?)

-Heather

Schedule... Friday, October 24, 2008 |

Only one week left. We are making our final trip plans and figuring how to get 6 people and some luggage into one vehicle for traveling from city to city. We will have like each other a lot! Our schedule looks like this so far...

Nov. 1, 2 - Quito - Visiting the studio of Oswaldo Enriquez-Veronica Cobo. Día de los Muertos festivities will also be going on...cultural experience!

Nov. 3 - Travel to Tena and visit the central offices of Kallari

Nov. 4 - Visit growing and collection centers

Nov. 5 - Visit local communities/villages

Nov. 6 - Visit the Kallari Infastructure (not quite sure what this is...)

Nov. 7 - Visit sustainable design projects in the Amazon

Nov. 8 - Visit the project site in Baeza and then travel back to Quito

Nov. 9 - Visit the town of Otavalo and Indian Market (stay in Quito)

Nov. 10 - Travel to Salinas and visit factories there (stay in Salinas)

Nov. 11 - Travel to Quito, visit the Kallari Cafe, say farewell to our lovely hosts

Nov. 12 - Head back home....

-Heather

OUCHHH! Friday, October 10, 2008 |

That’s right!..Ouchhh! ..We were just glad that the visit to Dr.Aziz’s Pharmacy for our Yellow fever injection was over. Mee Leng and Teo is definitely not a fan for that as we have been meditating and fasting for weeks just to prepare for that..Just
joking!. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute our time and effort for a greater purpose and to embark on this great South America journey. It has been an inspiring experience working with the AFH group in San Francisco, the Kallari, Oswaldo/Veronica up to this point and getting support from Ratio for our time off as part of Professional development and also hooking us up with equipments to document our trip… Yup! 20 more days to go before this great journey and of course will soon start scrambling to pack all the stuff for the trip…..and usually over packing too….

We will definitely post our itinerary once we got that pinned down …

Teo and Mee Leng

3 weeks for jungle fever... Thursday, October 9, 2008 |

In just 21 days I will jump on a plane with Quito as the final destination and after a brief touch down in Panama City... Ecuador, here we come! Our Ecuadorian friends and colleagues have drafted a wonderful travel schedule that will surpass our expectations. My travel companions Heather, Teo and wife, and this Puerto Rican trotter are most excited about the upcoming work plan for the benefit of the Kallari people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This is truly a humanitarian endeavor that is worth experiencing. It will be a very rewarding experience as architects and designers who believe in good architecture and the power it has to transform communities.
Somebody once said: "One of the primary purposes of architecture is to highten the drama of living."

Ecuador, we are ready!!!

Fernando L. Pagan
Ray Architects Engineers, PSC
San Juan, Puerto Rico

One month to go... Friday, October 3, 2008 |


In less than a month we will be packing our bags (as light as possible), and boarding the plane to head to Quito and Tena. We will get the last of our travel vaccinations next Tuesday (weee-yellow fever). I received my brand spankin new passport in the mail yesterday (thanks US government!)...so there is nothing else keeping us from having a productive trip!

I chatted with Leonora of Treehugger.com this week, and she gave me the inside scoop on traveling in Ecuador, working with Kallari, and how she got Kallari and AFH together. She was a joy to chat with and the major point she got across to me was...be patient. No problem for me, I lived in Italy for a year! She was also excited to know that we had enlisted a Spanish speaker on our team (Fernando, you rock). She stressed that communication is of the utmost importance in this project...She said it was hard enough for the people of Kallari to get a grip on what an international design competition was, and even harder for them to understand that people from all around the world would be willing to help them...some organic chocolate growers in the rainforest... So here we come...a Puerto Rican...a Malaysian...an American (me!)...and with us in heart...a Serbian.

-Heather

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About the project and to make donations...

Open Architecture Network-Kallari

About those who support us...

RATIO Architects

RAY Architects Engineers