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"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."

Buh-bye Rooster! (I'll miss you)

I fell asleep last night, fully clothed, with glasses still on...and I was out until this morning! Roosters, you have not had the last cock-a-doodle-do with me!

Yesterday we visited a Kichwa community only accessible by walking across a crazy wood plank bridge. Here we found a museum that was started by a local woman with the support of Kallari. We learned many interesting things about jungle survival (I don’t know that I could), making traps, and the daily life of the Kichwa. Diego told us more about what changes happened in the communities when the Catholics came…probably enough said for this forum. His passion for his community is so infectious! We had a nice swim in the river to cool off on an especially hot day. We had dinner with the Kallari leaders when we got back into town. Each step of the way we were trying to extract good information from the leaders, trying to inform them on the process of architecture and what we need in order to see this project through to the end. So instead of one long meeting, we had many! Seems like an ok way to do business, right? Swim in the river, talk about planning, have some dinner together, talk about programming, have a beer together in the evening, talk about expectations…nice!

This morning we got up early and headed to the site, the entire team, Kallari leaders included. We hiked into the site itself, steep, steep, steep…no Stairmaster can prepare one for what we did. Diego was a helpful partner for me and offered his hand many times to help me down the rough parts, it must have looked like some weird dance that we were doing as we stepped from one grass clump to the next, being careful to avoid the holes of muddy water.

The site has many opportunities for the project, challenging for us as designers, of course…but it’s fantastic nonetheless. There is a great view from every point on the site. A few natural terraces will have to be supplemented by our own. It was very easy for each of us to picture the new chocolate there!

After we headed back up to the street from the site (ouch, by the way), we had a talk over refreshments and Diego (head of Kallari) couldn’t have been happier over the fact that we had all had the chance to bring our own energy to the site.

Tonight I will fall asleep in Quito listening to the music from down the road (about an hour ago there was a band, of the marching type, playing outside…hmmm). Rooster (he deserves name by now…maybe he can tell me what it is next time I go to Tena) will be crowing too far away from me to hear him in the morning, but I won’t forget him…


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