"Everything is connected" - by Osha Waterdu
(Pachaysana Intern, spring and summer 2014)
Throughout my semester abroad in Ecuador, I visited the communities of Mariscal Sucre and Tzawata multiple times to help Pachaysana with workshops. My internship culminated in a final research project in Tzawata, where I stayed with the community for two weeks and worked with community members to narrate the history of their struggle against a mining company that had taken over their ancestral lands years ago. Since then, the community has been working to get legal recognition and help from the Ecuadorian government and other organizations. My research project involved interviews with community members and reviewing legal documents in order to form a single, succinct document of Tzawata’s history.
My work with Tzawata and Pachaysana in the spring of 2014 taught me about the way communities like Tzawata and Mariscal Sucre experience government policies and development plans in resource-rich areas like the Amazon region. This work not only taught me about the importance of organizations like Pachaysana as a means of alternative education for communities, but for people around the world because “todo está conectado”. As we move toward sustainable, ethical development in rural Ecuador, I hope that we can remember these ideas. In my own studies and professional development, I will continue to act in solidarity with communities like Tzawata and seek research opportunities to continue work in the Ecuadorian Amazon.