We’re finalizing details for the Guayaquil, Ecuador work serve trip next summer. I’m sifting through all the pictures from our trip back in August and as the weather turns frosty here in Northwest Pennsylvania I think of the beautiful heat of the Ecuador.

I stayed with our co-founder Veronica Plua’s mom while in Ecuador. Vero was there too with her hubby and two sweet babies for a month long visit. Her mom was a gracious hostess and kept my eight-month pregnant self constantly fed. I’d wander into the kitchen just to steal a little fresh bread smothered with the most decadent butter I have ever tasted and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Instead of squirrels romping about they have an abundance of iguanas in Ecuador. I was warned ahead of time, but I was expecting cute little lizards, not reptilians the size of small dogs.

The Plua family is in the process of setting up a cancer foundation in Ecuador to help families who cannot afford cancer treatment. Veronica’s dad passed away over five years ago from cancer and Veronica herself is a survivor.

We hope to partner with them eventually, once they are up and running but for next summer we are sending students to volunteer in the Catholic schools helping teach the school children English and doing community service projects.

Our original plan was to send students to the city of Banos, Ecuador to live and work with the Shuar tribe in the Amazon. Veronica went and met with the tribe chief but ultimately we decided it was just a little too rustic and remote, even for the most adventurous people.

The Shuar culture and way of life are dangerously close to extinction. Modernization threatens their very existence. Veronica has set up a store front for the tribe where you can buy authentic, handmade jewelry and clothing. Proceeds go directly to the crafters. You can buy the beautiful bobbles HERE at ShuarAmazon.com.

Veronica and video producer, Danny Boyd interviewed Chief Tzama during their meeting in August 2014. Check out the video below to hear about the plight of the Shuar people.