As the indigenous Kichwa people tell it, the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest used to be full of jaguars and the rivers full of fish. But now the waters are less plentiful and the wildlife have been driven further into the jungle because of deforestation.
With the loss of the forest also comes the loss of the Kichwa culture. Their words and stories are rooted in the land, and as one goes, so does the other.
Becky Schneider is co-founder of the nonprofit Two Rivers Reserve in Ecuador and an InterExchange Christianson Grantee. Her work with the Kichwa people centers on restoring not just the rainforest, but the Kichwa culture as well.
Learn how Becky is helping local farmers take advantage of the Ecuadorian government's new policy to incentivize reforestation, and is working to help the Kichwa find new ways to make a living through traditional crafts and ecotourism.
All of this and more on this latest edition of Voices of InterExchange.
After studying in France and teaching in China, Mark was hooked on cultural exchange. He's worked in the field of international education and exchange for 15 years, and is InterExchange's Vice President of External Affairs.