Events

Learning about our Community

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Having lived in Sangolquí for a year, I thought there were many things which were simply unknown. For example, I always wondered why this valley was called the Los Chillos Valley. I asked and no one seemed to know the answer. While I know a great deal about our community currently, I never fully understood the history behind the area where we work. I finally got the answers I was looking for when community members (once known as my host parents) Christian and Laura came to the Library to give a short talk about the history and culture in Rumiloma, the community where our Library is located. All 10 of us crowded into the darkest room in the Library at 11:00 am, to watch a presentation from Christian. Not only was this talk informative and interesting, but it also helped Program Directors gain perspective on how important our work is here in the Los Chillos Valley. In order to make this post as interesting as the talk actually was, I wanted to provide key takeaways from the story of Rumiloma:

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  1. The larger valley where we live and work is called the Los Chillos Valley, named by the indigenous Mitmakunas who settled in this area in the early 1400’s. The Valley is located in a county known as Rumiñhaui, and Sangolquí is the largest city in this county. Within Sangolquí, there are many neighborhoods. One of these is Rumiloma, where we work on a daily basis!

  2. The County of Rumiñahui is one of the Smallest in Ecuador! It gained its independence in the month of May and has a large celebration each year. It is also surrounded on all sides by the county of Quito!

  3. Rumiloma used to be made up of only 6 families! An area which is now known as being semi-urban with houses occupying almost every block was once all farmland. This farmland was filled with large Haciendas. After wealthy families owned Haciendas, many were ousted from their land for not paying taxes, and the land was then parceled out to community members at a cheap price. The area has grown significantly since this time and now boasts over 100 families.

  4. Rumiloma is known as “a town where people come to sleep” because it is so close to the capital city of Quito. Most individuals work in Quito and Rumiloma is a commuter town. Therefore, during the day the town is filled with kids and mothers, while fathers and women of working age are in Quito working. This is a major reason why so many of our programs at Manna over time have been geared towards Women and Children!

  5. Oswaldo Guayasamin, the famous painter was born in Sangolqui! Although he did not technically live in the Rumiloma area, he was born in the same valley and town where we work. He even created a famous statue to honor his hometown.

The Rumiñahui statue designed and constructed by Oswaldo Guayasamin located in downtown Sangolquí.

The Rumiñahui statue designed and constructed by Oswaldo Guayasamin located in downtown Sangolquí.

After the presentation, we had a question and answer session with Christian and Laura, who have spent a great deal of time living in and researching about this community. Program Directors asked why community members had such an interest in English and what were other community needs here, and received answers that will help shape our programs for the future. This talk not only taught Program Directors about the community where they are working but also explained more about Ecuadorian culture at an early stage in their time here in Ecuador.

 

To learn more about a new culture and be able to have in-depth discussions with community members about their lives and experiences, apply to be a Program Director today!

What’s an Hornado Anyways?

This past weekend, MPI Ecuador hosted its annual Hornado Solidario in Rumiloma.  What’s that, you ask? No need to be ashamed.  Just a few weeks ago I, too was an hornado newbie. The quick answer to your question is: a lunch fundraiser with traditional Ecuadorian food.  But don’t get it twisted; this ain’t your typical Firehouse Pancake Breakfast fundraiser.  A LOT more goes into an hornado than you’d think.  What follows below is an explanation of everything that required for a successful Hornado.

1.    The Hornado

Hornado, a signature of Ecuadorian cuisine, refers to a full, roast pig.  And I mean full: head and all. It is to be cooked by a skilled Ecuadorian person (usually a grandmother) and to be served by a skilled Ecuadorian person (usually a grandmother), who has no qualms about ripping off pieces of meat with her hands to serve on plates during the event (see Clemencia below). If you’re lucky, your hornado will come decorated, like ours.

2.    Las Tortillas de Papa (the potatoes)

We bought 200 pounds of potatoes for our Hornado.  For sizing help, 200 pounds of potatoes is enough to fill 3 large garbage cans.  We enlisted the help of our adult English students to help us peel all of them… and were able to finish in less than 2 hours!  We outsourced the boiling and mashing of the potatoes to another skilled Ecuadorian señora, so all that was left to do was to take the 3 garbage cans of mashed potatoes and make them into patties by hand to be fried on the day of the Hornado.  Luckily patty-making is grunt work and doesn’t require Ecuadorian skill (so most PDs and local volunteers were put on patty duty).  The frying of the potatoes, however, was spearheaded by Clemencia’s sister, Blanca.

3.    Mote

It’s a rule that a balanced Ecuadorian plate must contain at least two types of starches.  Simply putting a serving of white rice, corn, verdes (bananas) or potatoes is not sufficient.  You’ve gotta have a combination of them.  Mote is type of corn kernel (much bigger than those that we’re used to in the US) that fits the bill for the second starch of the plate.  It is boiled and cooked before serving.  

4.    Salad

We must have chopped at least 8 heads of lettuce, 50 tomatoes and 30 onions for the salad.  Agrio, or salad dressing, is made from tomatoes, onions, limes, cilantro and brown sugar loaf.  As another sizing estimate, we had enough agrio to fill a medium-sized garbage can!

5.    Great Company!

We served about 300 plates at the Hornado Solidario, before we began running out of food.  We raffled off some prizes that were donated to us, sang karaoke, painted kids’ faces and had a mini bake sale.  None of it would have been possible without the beautiful weather and all the help from community volunteers.  Below are just a few pictures of the great day we shared.

You can also contribute to the fundraising efforts of our Ecuador community by donating here! Type "Hornado" in the comments section. 

5K for Books: Running with Manna Project

On Saturday, July 2nd, Manna Project International in Ecuador hosted its annual 5K race for members of the community of Rumiloma and the surrounding areas. Preparation for the race included everything from making a balloon arch for the finish line, to searching for sponsors for the event, and getting the municipal government to block the roads...but in the end, seeing the excitement of the participants make everything worth it!

Over 100 runners showed up to the race to support Manna Project and run the race, with family and friends looking on. Many participants had shown up to Manna Project 5K races for years and were looking to beat their times from previous years! New participants attended after hearing about the race through our partnerships with local organizations like ESPE University, the United Nations Peacekeepers, and more.

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At the end of the event, Country Director Nancy and one of our local volunteers, Pancho, handed out prizes and medals to winners in their categories, and runners and spectators enjoyed a performance from the Municipal Band. Community members, Program Directors, and summer interns also enjoyed a 4th of July barbeque on the roof of the community center afterwards, in celebration of their hard work to make wonderful community event a success.

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