Posts made in January, 2014

Trial by Fire

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Trial by Fire

Minga Huasy Cumbay work party was held to fortify and then to test the roof of a home under construction.  First there was a brigade formed to pass buckets of cement from the cement mixer up to the roof. Buckets of cement were passed along a line and then heaved up to a man on a platform who then heaved the cement up to a man on the roof who threw a bucketful to another worker to empty  and return back to the mixer again.  It was very hard work. After the cement was in place, the roof was tested by a unique method. A pair of swings was suspended from one of the roof beams, and a fire was built under each one.  Then people swung over the fires.  If no one was burned it meant the roof was good and strong. I don’t know how much was tradition and how much was theatre, but it sure was fun to...

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What’s a Minga?

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

What’s a Minga?

Have you ever heard of a minga?  A minga is an organized work project usually scheduled within an indigenous community in order to accomplish a job needed for the benefit of the community.  All able bodied adults are expected to work and contribute their efforts for the good of the entire group.  Here in Ecuador governments are not always able to fund special projects with in rural communities where most of the indigenous people live. The communities are very organized and each has its own president. From what I have seen, the communities are democratic and all adults have the right to communicate their views on any given topic under discussion. Mingas rely on the combined strength and will of people working together for a common cause.  Recently in Cotacahi, an expat couple, their architect, and indigenous work crew held a second minga associated with the building of their house in the gated community of San Miguel. It is unusual for expats to hold a minga of any sort, but the architect and crew have happily and enthusiastically directed two mingas on their work site. Patrice Baron Parent and Dave Schroeder’s building site was recently the stage for minga Huasy Cumbay in which the roof was fortified and then tested in a most unique way, but more on that in another entry. The featured image shows cooperative work between gringos and indigenous workers. This is just one of many instances in which the expat community is working together with Ecuadorians, bot mestizo and indigenous. I find it a quite positive interaction and cooperation which better relationships between groups of people with different backgrounds, and I believe such efforts strengthen our human bonds of friendship all around....

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