Shake It Off – Earthquake Relief in Ecuador

Hai!

You might remember me as one of the authors on this site, although in all honesty, internet-less jungle life has hampered my abilities to research and write articles. But I do surface from time to time to talk about some cool aspect of the insect world. (Spoiler Alert: It’s all Cool).

I live here, Internet is a thing that's hard to come by.

I live here, Internet is a thing that’s hard to come by.

But today, I’d like to talk to you about something that’s affecting my home. And it’s the earthquakes. Yes. “quakeS“.
You probably heard about the 7.8 earthquake that struck a town called Muisne off the coast of Ecuador. Even though I was over 200 miles away, the lodge I’m staying at still shook for about a minute and I could *hear* the earthquake. It was like a clap of thunder, that lasted for a minute … and shook the building … for a minute. “Unsettling” is definitely the word I’d use for that.

you okay

However, you probably haven’t heard about the other bazillion and a half earthquakes that have happened in the past week since then. In fact, there’s been so many that many sites and apps aren’t recording them anymore to try and decrease panic among the people.

As you might have imagined, I’m okay and I really do appreciate your concern. But today, I’m here to talk about my experiences with my best friend’s family who lives in Muisne.
And to ask for your help. I’m asking for the people who can’t.

The town of Muisne

The town of Muisne

I’ll be going down to the affected areas May with any donations that people want to send me and with the money that people would like to donate. You can send physical donations to my previous advisor at UGA and I’ll pick them up this week, or she’ll bring them down when the term abroad goes to Ecuador in June. Please write on the package that they’re donations for Ecuador.

To encourage you to consider helping me and my friends, I’d like to share with you a little photo adventure.

So let’s introduce the players.

Carlos and I have a lot of adventures together. Here is is teaching me how to ride the motorbike. Lots of faith since he apparently didn't buckle his helmet ...

Carlos and I have a lot of adventures together. Here he is teaching me how to ride the motorbike. Lots of faith since he apparently didn’t buckle his helmet …

In addition to running around on the motorbike, Carlos invited me to go to his parents house for New Years. They live in Muisne and I stayed with them for a few days. We also went back just a few days before the earthquake! It was probably one of the most awesome, but also culturally shocking experiences of my life.

We did lots of fun things!

We went to the beach! This is how you get around the town. Well, I'm a little to big for this town, apparently,

We went to the beach! This is how you get around the town.
Well, I’m a little to big for this town, apparently.

And we build sand castles. We didn't have buckets, so we just used contains that people threw out. Flowerpots are excellent castle builders.

We built sand castles. We didn’t have buckets, so we just used containers that people threw out. Flower pots and Tupperware are excellent castle builders.

We take boat rides to look at the nature.

We took boat rides to look at the nature.

We eat snowcones because they're awesome.

We ate snow cones because they’re awesome.

We slide down mudslides.

We slid down mudslides.

We collect bugs with a net we literally made from vines, a mosquito net, and a stick of bamboo.

We collected bugs with a net we literally made from vines, a mosquito net, and a stick of bamboo. Carlos’s mom helped us sew it together using a sewing machine that still operates with a foot petal.

We go shoe shopping. And pretend we're in the 90's.

We went shoe shopping. And pretended we were in the 90’s.

So we can burn it and start the new year clean.

So we could burn it and start the new year clean.

But Somethings Were Really Different Too

You have to take a boat to the "other side" to get to the store, pharmacy, and clothing markets.

You have to take a boat to the “other side” to get to the store, pharmacy, and clothing markets. Need band-aids? Yeah, gotta take a boat for that.

There's never been running water here. So you swim, bathe, and do your laundry in the river.

There’s never been running water here. So you swim, bathe, and do your laundry in the river.

When you're not bathing in the river, you're bathing and brushing your teeth with rain water collected from the roof. Conditioner was not my friend.

When you’re not bathing in the river, you’re bathing and brushing your teeth with rain water collected from the roof. Conditioner was not my friend and took like it’s own 5 gallon bucket to rinse out.

Sometimes breakfast shares the shower with you.

Sometimes breakfast shares the shower with you. And startles you in the middle of the night. Not liking seafood is a problem here.

Space was tight, so this was movie watching and sleeping quarters.

Space was tight, so this was movie watching and sleeping quarters. At night we put the mosquito nets up since this area is riddled with tropical diseases. There are also almost no doors. Not to the bedrooms, not to the shower, and not to the bathrooms. Personal space is tight.

After everything, I couldn’t have felt more welcomed by this family.

Thanks for accepting me into your home and sharing your lives with me.

Thanks for accepting me into your home and sharing your lives with me. Even though space and money was tight, they shared everything they had with me. Their generosity was something that I haven’t seen rivled in the states.

But Everything is Different Now

Remember those earthquakes? Remember how I said people here don’t have running water. Remember when I said that you had to take a boat to get groceries? Remember when I said there wasn’t space?

It’s hard to collect rain water off your roof, when you don’t have a roof, because you don’t have a house.

It’s hard to find any amount of clean-ish water since drainage is poor and maintenance has all but stopped. Everyone has moved inland across the river and are just sleeping in the streets indefinitely.

Muisne proper is an Island separated by the river. There's no way to get supplies or water to the other side, so all the shops are closed and the people moved inland.

Muisne proper is an island separated by the river. There’s no way to get supplies or water to the other side, so all the shops are closed and the people moved inland.

After moving inland, leaving their houses behind (if they still had a house) people are just sleeping in the streets. Indefinitley. PC: The Quint

After moving inland, leaving their houses behind (if they still had a house), people are just sleeping in the streets. Indefinitely. Waiting for something. Anything. 
PC: The Quint

Or in makeshift buildings. This is where some of Carlos's family is sleeping right now.

Or in makeshift buildings. This is where some of Carlos’s family is sleeping right now. Why is it on stilts? Because earthquakes aren’t enough and now parts of the coast are flooding.

Getting supplies around the country is still challenging. This happened further to the south than Muisne, but it shows some of the challenges the people face. PC: The Quint

Getting supplies around the country is still challenging. This happened further to the south than Muisne, but it shows some of the challenges the people face.
PC: The Quint

Of course just a quick Google search will show you the devastation that wreaked the coastline of the country.

Of course just a quick Google search will show you the devastation that wreaked the coastline of the country.

Unlikely Heroes

Lots of people jumped up to help!

People are building semi-permenant housing protecting people from the elements and mosquitoes.

People are building semi-permanent housing protecting people from the elements and mosquitoes.

I have friends going into affected areas donating clothes.

I have friends going into affected areas donating clothes and aiding with water and food supplies.

Kids are bringing drinkable water to affected areas.

Kids are bringing drinkable water to affected areas. 
PC: Lito Labrador

Movistar, one of cell phone carriers, is giving 1,000 free minutes and 1,000 free SMS to people in the affected areas of Ecuador.

Movistar, one of the cell phone carriers, is giving 1,000 free minutes and 1,000 free SMS to people in the affected areas of Ecuador.

Even this dog saved people from the earthquakes in Ecuador before dying of exhaustion.

But Now It’s Time For Us.

Yes. Us.

You, Me, Everyone.

I’ll be going down to the affected area May 15-20th in Muisne to help out Carlos’s family and community. I’m asking for donations to be made to my PayPal account or donations to be mailed to me. Please email me if you’d wish to donate something physical and I can tell you the best way to get it to me. I’ll be leaving back for Ecuador next week, but a group affiliated with the University of Georgia will be going down in June and can bring things too.

FAQ

Why You? Why Not Any of These?

You certainly can donate to those! And it would be really helpful! However, many people going, especially with the government aid aren’t going to all the affected areas. Muisne and el Cabo San Fransico are two of those areas. I’ll be going there specifically.

"Until when Mr. President? Muisne is Ecuador too."

“Until when Mr. President? Muisne is Ecuador too.”

s

Please, authorities strongly urge you to take into account Muisne Emeraldas and Chamanga for the love of God. Share to help these people who don’t have the help they also need. Esmeraldas, Muisne, Chamanga, El Cabo San Fransisco, Bunche … these ARE ALSO ECUADOR. There is no water, no food, and no electricity. They need our help.

So you can donate to any of those, but I’ll specifically be going to Muisne and  El Cabo San Fransisco. And it an area where a lot of aid isn’t getting too right now. So I’d really appreciate your help and the people of these areas also would really appreciate it.

What Sorts of Things Do They Need?

ots of people are sleeping out in the streets still. And will be for who knows how long.

Please share this. There’s people from friends to family that need help. They’re found in surrounding areas of Pueblo Nuevo – Muisne. Up until now, they still haven’t received help and are lacking food and water. 
Internal Caption: This is how we currently are and we also need help.

Some things are cheaper to get here in the states. Things like sheets, mosquito nets, tents, clothes, and shoes are all really important. So if you’d like to mail any of these things to me, please do so! Water filters and purification tablets/drops are also really needed and difficult to find in Ecuador! Also don’t forget that women have monthly biology that happens regardless if you’re in an earthquake zone or not. You can also give me money so I can buy things like food and water. If you want to buy these things new, you can ship them to the University of Georgia Biology Building where I will pick them up or my advisor will bring them down on her term abroad trip in June.

I Can’t Mail Things, And I Don’t Have Enough Money To Donate

I know this sounds cliche, but literally every dollar counts.
In Ecuador: 
A 5 gallon tank of clean water costs ~$2.00
1KG (2lbs) of rice costs ~$0.50.
A veggie pack costs ~$1.00.
A portable stove top costs ~$13.00.

You can feed a family for >$5
So just don’t get one cup of coffee, and help bring food to an area in Ecuador.

Here's a quick and dirty list of things that you could help donate or help us buy.

Here’s a quick and dirty list of things that you could help donate or help us buy.

If we get enough money, or have enough things to bring down that we just can’t take the bus, some of the money will be allocated to renting a truck to move everything. Esmeraldas is at least a 6-7 hour drive from where we are so if we have to rent a car, it’ll cost us about $100. But we can haul a lot of stuff this way!

How Can I Trust You … Random Stranger?

Great question! I have a vested personal interest, I’ve already been down to the affected areas. I really just want to help people in an area that help isn’t getting to.  Also, if you want to see your funds go to a specific area, or buy specific things, please email me! Everything is sent to PayPal account, so it’s not some sketchy website or something. And all donations will be sent to the University of Georgia where I will pick them up or my advisor will bring them down in June.

Someone already donated money to me, and I used it to help pay for my friend’s sister-in-law and her 3 year old son to travel and in Carlos’s house in the Quito area. I’ll send you pictures of the areas, us helping, the families we’re working with as proof that we’re doing what we say we’re doing. If I can’t get something done, I do have local friends who are also helping. I’m just a girl trying to fix some things in the world and would like your help =)

Here's my friend's sister-in-law, her son, and her husband who made the trip to my friends house to get out of the affected area.

Here’s my friend’s sister-in-law, her son, and her husband who made the trip to my friend’s house to get out of the affected area.

Won’t the Donations Be Too Late?

There’s lots of help right now! But some people have already returned. Supplies are running out. People’s entire lives were swallowed up by the earth in the matter of minutes. I don’t really care your financial situation. You can’t rebuild your life and your mental health from a natural disaster in 2 weeks. Imagine if your house burnt to the ground right now. RIGHT NOW. Do you think you could fully financially recover in 2 weeks? Probably not. When other people will returning, Carlos and I will be there for Round 2 of help.

This? This isn't fixable in 2 weeks. So they'll need help for a while.

This? This isn’t fixable in 2 weeks. So they’ll need help for a while.
PC: Earthquake Predict

TL;DR

Hi. My name is Nancy. I write for this blog. Also I’m living in Ecuador. I survived at 7.8 earthquake far away from the epicenter but my best friend’s family wasn’t so lucky. Also there’s not available aid in Muisne – where the earthquake struck. There’s been a lot of people who’ve helped already, but my friend and I want to go and help too, especially to the area where his family was affected. Supplies and help is lacking in this area. So we’re looking for physical and monetary donations.

If you want to mail me stuff to be brought down either in May or in June email me and we’ll get it organized. Or youc an just send or ship things to my advisor at the University of Georgia. She’s taking a term abroad down in June. Otherwise you can give me monetary donations to purchase things down there like water, food, and bug spray.

Here's a quick and dirty list of things that you could help donate or help us buy.

Here’s a quick and dirty list of things that you could help donate or help us buy.

Here’s that quick list again if you need some ideas of what they need. Also if you give me money you can specify what you want the money to be used for by emailing me!

We’re excited to help! And we’ll work to the best of our abilities to get stuff done =)

We *do* have some fun among our work!

We *do* have some fun among our work! and we’re excited to get started. Thank you for your help!

About SciBugs

Entomologist, Science Communicator, and Crafter Twitter: @SciBugs
This entry was posted in Culture, News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Shake It Off – Earthquake Relief in Ecuador

  1. Pingback: Facebug Challenge – Ecuador Earthquake Relief Update | Ask an Entomologist

Discuss with Us

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s