As I drink my hot coffee on the deck, I watch a group of men dig small ditches across the property’s courtyard. They are using shovels and pickaxes. Hauling a backhoe to the property would be a major endeavor. The route through the water can only be navigated with a canoe.
For this reason, the structures on the lodge were built with local materials. The upkeep and maintenance are done primarily with hand tools.
Solar power has just been installed at the Sani Lodge, a remarkable feat given how remote the property stands in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. Equipment, parts and the technicians must travel here first from Quito, and then by boat down the Napo River and then by canoes across the Challuacocha lake.
The technicians work in the hot sun one moment and in the pouring rain in the next. They stay in the staff quarters here for weeks at a time, away from their friends and family. The obstacles that have to be overcome to get a system like this up and running at the lodge are challenging.
But now the work is finished. The solar tanks supply hot water to the 10 guest cabins and the large multi-room dorm house.
Soon, new equipment will arrive, the technicians will come back, and work will begin to install another solar system to support the electrical needs at the lodge.
Solar makes sense. Conservation is critical to the preservation of the rainforest. With less dependency on oil, communities, traditions, cultures and the natural resources that support them, will persevere.
As part of our continuing work with the indigenous Amazonian community of Sani Isla in Ecuador, Deborah Tompkins is sharing a travelogue of her experiences as an American in the Amazon. Deb’s company, Sage Point, works with NGOs in Africa, Asia and now Latin America to develop and execute marketing and communication strategies. She is donating her time and expertise to support RP and the Sani Warmi community. We invite you to join Deb as she introduces you to the people, the community, their Amazon ecolodge, and their forest home.
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