Cristina is one of our collaborators in Casa Esperanto and a native to Las Tunas mother who, at the time, was bringing up her children in a run-down shack in the community. Casa Esperanto decided to initiate a project to build a new house for Cristina and her family, donating half of the $7,500 (usd) budget and acquiring the raising the remainder of the funds from kindhearted people in Ecuador, Sweden and Spain (including European surf champion Dani Garcia!). A local hardware store provided discounted the construction materials and free transportation and neighbourhood kids got involved with painting murals for the walls. In just six weeks, we built a safe and serene home for Cristina and her children. If you’d like to learn more about this story, check out this brief video on Casa Cristina.
Football (soccer) is hugely popular in Ecuador and we regularly donate balls, training equipment, vests and cones to the local kids’ club. Our wish is that every visiting guest would bring a ball or an item that the team currently needs. At one community meeting we donated $400 (usd) in equipment to the club.
After sweating through countless community meetings, we donated 16 ceilings fans to the local community center. Meetings are now cool and comfortable for the attendees, which results in more positive outcomes!
When we travel from Sweden to Ecuador we collect clothing and toys to bring back for the local kids who range in age from infants to adolescents. We are delighted when visitors and guests do the same.
A few years ago our Las Tunas based Surf Camp Casa Esperanto provided water for six families before a real water pipeline was installed in neighborhood. We also supplied metal trash cans for our street and we do our best to educate the community about the harms of littering. Next we’re planning on building an organic farm in our neighbor’s garden, as well as a laundry area so they will no longer need to wash their clothes in the street. We’ll also do some finishing work on nearby homes which are in need of cement and paint.
Casa Esperanto was under construction from September 2011 until April 2012 and was built using locally sourced wood, palm and bamboo and employed 20 locals to perform the work. We were delighted to support the local economy in this way.
We rescued the Casa Esperanto dogs Perrini, Kompis and her son Tuggummi from the street, where they were living as strays. After some medical attention, food and lots of love, they are now happy and healthy members of the Esperanto family.
Our biggest and most ambitious project is still in the planning stages. On the malecon (oceanfront) in Las Tunas is a community-owned hostel which is currently sitting empty. Our dream is to support the community by realizing the full potential of this beautiful building. We plan to share the expertise we’ve learned over many years in the hospitality trade so that local people can run the hostel themselves, sustainably and with all profits going back to the community. Once the hostel is operational, we hope it will become a hub for (and help finance) other community service initiatives.