Yanacocha residents treat Colville Interact to dinner

Roger Harnack

Indigent residents in the Andes Mountains provided a modest chicken soup with potatoes and vegetables to Colville Interact members who spent Monday painting the interior their homes.
The students, in partnership with Rotary International, are in Ecuador trying to improve the lives of residents in the rural community.
In the Yanacocha Community Center, at about 11,400 feet elevation, tired, winded students and chaperones sat down to the fresh soup made from local chickens and vegetables.
It was a humbling experience for the Colville entourage.
Six women stood over a bowling cauldron, chopped up the chicken and vegetables and served the meal with fresh bread. While the meal was modest for Colville residents participating, it was a bountiful dinner for the residents to provide and would've fed the community for at least a week.
Most of the residents live in homes constructed of stacked cinder blocks or bricks.
They houses -- just shanties by American standards -- do not have carpets, lack doors and there is almost no glass in the windows. The houses do not have running water and sport modest tin roofs with holes and gaps.
The poor mountain folk who live on the slopes adjacent to Pichincha Volcano barely scrape by, Quito Rotarians said, noting they milk small cows and sell the milk to a local processor.
Rotarians have stepped in here to paint the homes, a first step in helping the residents improve their lives.
The nearby village of Nono is an example of what the effort can lead to, Rotarians said, noting that community now has a restaurant, a renovated church town square and a growing tourism industry.
On Tuesday, Interact members will return to the community to finish painting the rooms, then head to Reserva Yanacocha for a short hike in what Ecuadorians say is the hummingbird capital of the country.
On Wednesday, their volunteer work shifts to a homeless shelter.
Check back each day for an update on Colville Interact as the members work their way through several project toward a trip-ending conclusion in the Galapagos Islands.