Community name: Mariscal
The Mariscal community is made up of approximately 40 families. Families live in humble homes located around the main square, that are typically made of cement blocks, though some have areas made of wood or other natural materials.
Almost all of the families in Mariscal work in sugar cane production. Families have between four and six children, though teenagers commonly leave home to attend high school, as there is no high school in town. Many migrate to the cities to work as wage laborers and contribute to the family income. Some families also have animals such as chickens, donkeys and horses. Families in the community will only speak Spanish.
Mariscal is a cohesive and integrated community. Most families get together during the weekends to practice sports and are active at church and with school activities. The town is very simple. There is an open space near the local school, which is surrounded by a few homes. The area is surrounded by secondary forest and a small river runs close to the community. There are also some waterfalls in the area. During heavy rains the dirt roads in the area become very muddy.
While a vibrant community, Mariscal faces numerous challenges. Some of the most important are accessing better education for their children, especially at the high school and university level, and becoming more competitive within the sugar cane business. The community is almost entirely dependent on the production of sugar cane. Most members of the community sell raw sugar cane or its juice or produce sugar cubes or alcohol. While this provides enough money for basic food, clothing and governmental education, it is a very much a dependence economy and subject to the hardships of monoculture.
Only ten minutes away, following the same road, there is the Ecological Center Zanjarajuno. This animal rescue center has been working closely with the community in ecological and environmental education for the last ten years. The couple that runs the center and its family is considered part of the community and together they work to improve local quality of life while at the same time they look for long term sustainable and environmental friendly solutions to local problems.
Distances & travel times
Capital or major city visited: Approximately 160 miles/257.5 kilometers, 6 hours driving
Closest city: Puyo city, approximately 27 miles/ 43.5 kilometers, 30 minutes driving
International airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport, approximately 160 miles / 257.5 kilometers, 6 hours driving
Between itinerary destinations: Papallacta, approximately 138.56 miles/ 223 kilometers, 3 hours driving
Rainy season months: From February to May rain intensifies, meaning that some days it could rain all day!
Rainy season weather: In the rainy season, temperatures range from 71.6 ˚F high/ 59 ˚F low (22˚ C high/ 15˚ C low)
Time of sunrise: Approximately 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.
Time of sunset: Approximately 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Host community safety & risk management
Bugs: Mosquitoes and other biting insects exist year round, bring repellent!
Do I need bug netting for bed: Yes, provided by community families
Nearest medical facility: The closest medical facility is located 10 minutes away from Mariscal community, and 15 minutes away from the Zanjarajuno Center
Nearest major medical facility: The nearest hospital is located 40 minutes away from the Mariscal community and 30 minutes away from the Zanjarajuno Center
We will be in contact with animals due to the location of the service project. Please follow the directions and safety instructions provided by your Program Leader(s) at all times. Snakes as well as poisonous insects and amphibians are common in the Amazon Region and their bites usually produce skin irritation. Most of these animals and insects will only react if they are severely provoked by humans. Other dangerous animals exist, but due to human presence are less and less visible. The group will receive an introduction about appropriate behavior and dangerous areas as well as safety procedures while working at the Zanjarajuno center. Because this is an animal rescue center, there will be areas where animals are living and areas where people will be working. There will always be one or two workers from the center with the group supervising the work.
Typical day for community member
General waking time: 6:00 a.m.
Breakfast time: 7:00 a.m.
Lunch time: 1:00 a.m.
Dinner time: 7:00 p.m.
General bedtime: 10:00 p.m.
Typical food: Breakfast: Bread, eggs, fruit and coffee
Lunch: Soup and a main course. The main course often includes chicken, other types of meat or bean stew, usually accompanied by a nice portion of salad.
Dinner: Similar to lunch
*Families will provide boiled water for consumption, and vegetarian options are available upon request.
* Please note any dietary restrictions on registration forms
Service Project Details
We will finish building a cellar for the storage of animal food
Location of service project
The cellar will be built at the Zanjarajuno Center located 10 minutes away from the community
The cellar is a project started by a previous Sustainable Horizon group during January 2013. The cellar is a structure of 7 by 8 meters. The cellar currently has a base, floors and columns. The cellar needs to be finished by building the ceiling and the coverage of the structure.
Why is this project important:
The cellar will have two uses. It will be used as an area to store the food for the animals, as well as an area to store the Center’s tools. Having a cellar is very important as in the past food out in the open has been taken or destroyed by animals in the surrounding area. With the completion of the cellar, food will be kept safe and organized. Another important advantage of the cellar is that the temperature of the food will be regulated better (out of the sun), and the food will be drier (out of the rain). This will enable the center to keep food around longer and spend fewer dollars. The tools that will be kept in the cellar will avoid rust due to humidity and direct sun exposure.
We will transport materials to the construction site including cement, rocks, wood, etc. We will mix the materials in order to build the roof of the cellar. We will transport the cement mix in buckets to the roof of the cellar and finally we will empty the buckets filling the structure that will serve as roof.
Who will work with us:
In addition to our Program Leader, we will have a bricklayer from the community and a person from the Zanjarajuno Center working with us.
Alternative service activities
Sometimes rain can interrupt our service project as it will take place at the open air. In this case we have several pre organized service activities such as teaching basic English at the local primary school in Mariscal and/ or helping at the Zanjarajuno Center to finish building a greenhouse made our of recycled plastic bottles.
How many hours will we work
We will work an average of 6 hours per day over our stay in the community. On our regular workdays, we will have two breaks: one in the mid-morning and one for lunch.
Donations for Mariscal Community
Donations to the Ernesto Albán Elementary School in Mariscal are not required, but always welcome and greatly appreciated.
School supplies and bilingual educational materials for elementary age students would be greatly appreciated. Some suggestions include: teaching materials) such as white board markers and white board erasers. For the kids, donations could include: lined notebooks (50 or 100 pages), general school supplies such as pencils, glue, scissors, colored pens, etc. Short children’s books in English or bilingual English‐Spanish would also be excellent, as well as educational toys such as puzzles or legos. The kids at this school are between 5 and 12-years-old, and there are approximately 40 kids in total.
The school requested the donation of one or two used laptops for the children. The school has a population of 38 children and they only have 5 computers. Having an extra computer would allow for a better ratio of students per computer in class, lessening the technology gap between rural children and children that grow up in the larger cities.
Donations for Zanjarajuno Center
Donations to the Zanjarajuno Center are not required, but always welcome and greatly appreciated.
1. Projector (used or new, such as Infocus brand) for ongoing environmental education training with local communities such as Mariscal and others in the surrounding area. The projector will be also used to provide workshops and environmental education foreign volunteers and students. Please include all necessary cables, power cord, lens cap and other important accessories.
2. PC compatible (used or new) printer. Printed material is needed regularly for keeping record of training materials, research materials, written projects, and species databases, etc. Please include all necessary cables, power cord, refill ink and other important accessories. An Epson Artisan 835 All-in-One is an example of one printer that is available in the area and refill ink is available. They have had problems with Canon so it would be best to avoid that brand.
3. Binoculars (80 x 42 or 10 x 40, used or new) – for spotting wildlife in the jungle