Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Earthquake Recovery- What's happening now?

Yes, we had an earthquake.  A big one and hundreds of smaller ones and this morning another large one.  No, I'm not affected.  Let me rephrase that. I have no injuries and my home is still standing, it didn't affect my family or loved ones. But it has affected my heart, my soul, and my friends.

I've seen some posts lately about how everyone wanted to help in the first days after the quake and now everyone has gone on with their lives and forgotten it. Oh, contrare mi Amor. Yes, it's true that many have forgotten it, and life does go on whether you are affected or not. It's true than many have given all they can...for now. But not everyone has forgotten.

My friend George is famous in Cuenca by the name of Ecuador George. He's a blogger and has a huge following. He also has a famous Golden retriever named Missy and lives in a great penthouse. So last Thursday, George threw a party. Ivan from the Cuenca mayor's office and Valeria from the city council where there.  George's closest friends came, and all the folks who wanted to ohh and ahh over his lovely penthouse or to meet the illustrious Missy. Wine and beer were served. All you had to do was bring ten items per person attending to donate to the coast. George ended up with over 120 bags of canned food, soap, shampoo etc piled in his foyer. Ivan made a tearful speech and told us he brought his children to meet the Gringos who have such huge hearts and love the country.

My friend and author Tom Larson organized a Meet the Author event at the local English bookstore last Saturday. I don't have printed books here to sell, so I went and bought books and got lots of autographs. Six authors participated donating at least 50% of their book sales, some donated 100% to the Hearts of Gold earthquake relief fund. $325 was raised. The photos below were taken by Susan Herron and the top one features authors left to right Frances A Hogg, Tom Larsen, Mary Wingo, J. Michael Herron, Barbara Snow and Carolyn Hamilton. The photo below is author Karla Freeman who also participated and me. It was a fun Saturday morning event.

A group of Cuencano artists is organizing a three-weekend event combining the visual and literary arts. The expat authors and artists have been invited to participate and I wrote a poem to be presented in English and Spanish for the event. The literary pieces will be combined in a booklet, again in both languages and sold at the event with all proceeds going to earthquake relief.

My friend John is working with Arca getting aid and veterinary services to the lost and injured pets of the region.

My friend Suzanne is working getting water filters to the affected areas.

My friends Sara and Geoff are working to rebuild in the city of Canoa. But funds are needed.

If you can help, please make a donation to the Hearts of Gold foundation. If you live anywhere outside the Cuenca area and donate, send me a copy of a confirmation page (it doesn't have to show the amount or any private account numbers) to any of my contact buttons above and I will send you a copy of my poem, The Magnitude of a Moment. I'm told it's touching and it's from my heart and it's my first and only poem.

Hearts of Gold Canoa Project

If you can't donate right now, but would like to help, just share this blog!

Thanks from Ecuador!

Two Updates: The Hearts of Gold website is currently down undergoing renovation and will be back up in a few days. In the interim anyone wishing to contribute to earthquake relief can do so via PayPal by sending it to and designating it for earthquake relief. All help is much appreciated.

And from Sara re Canoa:  Update on the project: The tents in Canoa are actually upgraded to be transitional shelters -- metal framed, recycled water-proofed heavy tarping, with reinforced roofing framing and ventilated windows... approximately 4 x 4.2 meters square -- every family will have 7 meter by 8 meter lot to expand and improve their housing conditions. We have a central water system in place and each family will have access to potable water, electric and shared toilets (dry compost) and showers. Plus the camp (settlement) will have a common kitchen (though families can build a small adjacent cooking area on their lot) and a community center. The site is lush with trees and areas for gardening. We want the families to have a safe and secure place that will help them transition into a more permanent housing situation and a stronger future. We need funding to support the development of settlement and to maintain it through this transition period. Please support Canoa! Each of these shelters costs about $400.00

Scarlett Loving life in Cuenca!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Yes Son, I live in the sky!

As most of you know, I live in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. I live in Cuenca, altitude 8,399 feet above sea level.

About a month or so ago, a fellow expat was back in the States visiting New Orleans. New Orleans is -6.5 to 20 feet above sea level. This expat acquaintance of mine posted that as he and his wife walked in the crescent city his wife remarked, "I forgot how far away the sky is at sea level." Later that week in a phone call with my son, (living in Florida) I remarked about Cynthia's comment and how true it was. "I live in the sky," I told my son.

The reply..."Mom, are you high? What are you smoking?"  Really? Actually, I gave up cigarettes in January, so I haven't been smoking anything. Am I high?  Oh Yes, I am very much so. 8,399 feet high. My handsome intelligent albeit sceptical son is a science guy, so rather than argue I launched an experiment.

Hypothesis: I live in the sky.
Research and Evidence: I took a series of photos in the same place over a month's time. From my kitchen window. There is a mountain in front of me and a mountain to the west.
Conclusion: I live where the clouds are. Therefore, I live in the sky.

 Leave your comments to help me convince my son that I really do live in the sky.

Happy Mother's Day!
Scarlett, Loving life in Cuenca!