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Report from Malingua Pamba
Pam Gilbert, member of Rotary eClub One
and retired math teacher (of 30 years) who has taught around the world (Japan,
Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, China) shares a story of how one person’s
chance encounter can lead to a service project that touches many lives. She has traveled to over 70 countries -
exploring them slowly, when possible, using a touring bike. Once Pam got
lost on a 6-day hike in the Andes and was rescued by two boys from Malingua
Pamba. The passion in their eyes when they spoke about the privilege of being
able to attend the ‘weekend high school, which involved a two-hour walk each
way, inspired her to return to help them complete their education. Fifteen years later, both boys have their university degrees
and the volunteer spirit; Lautaro is a teacher in our colegio and director of
both the school and our scholarship program
2003, the community of Malingua Pamba, in the Andes of Ecuador had a one room
school house with one (unmotivated) teacher. The students 'drifted' away from
attending around age 9. We are very proud to report that we just had our 7th
and 8th Universidad Tecnica de Cotopaxi (UTC) graduates. In Ecuador, students
are required to execute a thesis project (not just write a thesis). Freddy; our
seventh UTC graduate created a 'cactus energy bar' complete with protein,
vitamin, calorie analyses. Read on to find out the larger ramifications of his
creation. I would like to elaborate on the 'off the chart' achievement of our
8th UTC, Raul.
born with several deformities, notably lack of full use of one arm plus an
'asymmetrical' face. Remember that our communities are agrarian - having a
child who can't work the fields is a real hindrance. On top of that, at a very
early age, his mom passed away. I do not know what gave Raul the strength of
purpose, but when he heard about the 'new' colegio (middlesenior high school)
in Malingua Pamba back in 2004, he made the 2 hr walk each way from Guantualo.
He was the only child walking over from Guantualo.
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"Who would have ever thunk it" that this shy,
introverted boy would now proudly claim the title of "Licenciado" -
the title of a university graduate?!! His thesis was the development of a new
variety of cheese.
Last year we petitioned for what I thought/hoped would be
a one-time funding campaign to help construct a Science Lab. Unfortunately, we
did not meet our goal. The Ecuadorian
Dept. of Education has granted us an extension to get this built. (We have a
Memorandum of Understanding that they will provide the Science Teacher as well
as all of the supplies/equipment we 'just' need to build the facility.) Here
are some interesting / potential ramifications of a Science Lab with a
mini-Industrial Kitchen component:
biology experiments: very useful for our
kitchen component can be used to mass produce
items such as Freddy's cactus energy bar
which could employ members of the community; hence, an incentive
/ reason to stay in 'el campo'
making of mortino marmalade (mortino is a native Andean
blue currant, an organic and desired
fruit) and, of course,
the development of interest in science!
One of the students wrote a thank you letter to eClub
One. Here is a translation:
October 20, 2017
Dear Pamelita Gilberth
First, receive warm
greetings from Ecuador, I send hugs to the States.
Pamelita, I write to
tell you that I am in the seventh year of basic education, my teacher is
Bolivar. I like to study, do my homework, help around the house. In my house
there are a lot of animals. I help feed them.
Pamelita, we know of
your generosity, of how good and lovely you are. Apologies if I offend you, but
we are planning a field trip with our teacher to the city of Baños, where the
teacher says that there is a zoo with lots of animals from the coast, the
mountains, the East, and the Galapagos.
Also the trip will take us to natural geothermal pools and hot springs
created by the Tungurahua volcano, and the Virgin of the Holy Water
(waterfalls), which is why we ask you with all our heart to sponsor or support
us so that we can journey to that beautiful place. As you surely know, we don’t
travel even to Latacunga because we lack economic resources, but we are rich in
enjoying this life that God has given us.
May God care for you
and your friends. I hope that we meet again very soon in our village. I miss
you and we remember your big smile. It goes without saying that I thank you for
your understanding and say goodbye to you with much love.
Maira Lorena Fazo