Living in Esmeraldas-Ecuador
For the past six months we have been the project managers at FONMSOEAM living and working in the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
Our little apartment in the small, fishing village of Tonchigue, where we often go without water and are frequented by black outs, is probably one of the nicest apartments in town.
Tonchique sits along the cost of Esmeraldas and is strange and sad conflict between breathtaking beauty and immense poverty. The dry land and dusty dirt roads are a far cry from the once thriving rain forest that has now been deforested. As project managers we prioritize the protection of the last remaining primary and secondary rain forest in the near by Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve as it is home to the cacao growing associates of FONMSOEAM. Each morning we catch the bus and ride two minutes to the main office and cacao collection center of FONMSOEAM in El Puente de Tonchigue.
At the office we work with a lively team of passionate and committed members of the directive and management at FONMSOEAM. Our responsibilities and cooperative work include developing business relationships with potential buyers, preparing samples of organic cacao, developing production and cost analyses, developing plans for long term objectives, designing a comprehensive website for FONMSOEAM, working with outside NGOs and institutions to coordinate their projects with FONMSOEAM, and overseeing the process by which they receive organic and fair trade certifications. We contribute to the development of an internship program that will allow FONMSOEAM to host more interns in the future as a means to move forward with projects we have started as well as to establish new ones.
We schedule, organize, and facilitate meetings concerning commercialization, marketing, and infrastructure, long term planning, within FONMSOEAM and with outside clients. We have also had the privilege of working with some of FONMSOEAMs female associates in the organization of the Womens Group of Agua Clara in a jewelry-making project that offers economic alternatives and a space for creativity. Our main objective as project managers is to make sure that the projects we support, create, and facilitate are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and beneficial to associates of FONMSOEAM and local community.
Our work has afforded us the opportunity to travel all over Ecuador; learning how to send samples in the port city of Guayaquil, enjoying the town of Salinas during out visit of their local chocolate company Salinerito to get some helpful tips, attending the National Conference of Cacao in Monte Crisiti, Manabi, and having numerous meetings with other supporting NGOs at the Ministry of Agriculture in the capital city of Quito.
Although our time as project managers is coming to a close we plan on continuing our work with Great Wilderness along with keeping in touch with our new friends and family here at FONMSOEAM and in Esmeraldas.
Please consider supporting our efforts.