• a volunteer project in the Amazon in Ecuador for global citizenship students
  • learning about native plants in the Amazon on a service learning project in Ecuador
  • panning for gold in the napo river at Kamak Maki in the Amazon in Ecuador

Chichicorumi - sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest

The Kichwa community of Chichicorumi sits beside the Rio Napo, 45 minutes by bus from the town of Tena. It is the location for a project called Kamak Maki where a local family are constructing an ethnographic musuem, a small zoo featuring local species, a medicinal garden, and fishponds that also will feature local species. There are cabañas and a toilet for volunteers and visitors and a kitchen/dining area. The family of our local director, Alonso, lives on the site, which has very basic electricity and running water. Bathing most often takes place in the nearby river.

This project, Kamak Maki, is principally supported by 20 members of the family of Alonso, and aims to preserve and promote the culture and ancestral knowledge of the inhabitants of the area. One of the first of such initiatives, it now serves as a model for other communities striving to protect and preserve their cultures and environments.

Local families round about live by farming small plots set in what remains of the rainforest, growing yucca, maize, platanos, etc., and raising pigs and chickens. There is internet access and telephone in Chichicorumi, as well as a small clinic and school.

Our projects from 2007 to 2011 have included:

  • Sending groups of volunteers to help in the construction of a new ethnographic museum and visitor center and to maintain the botanical gardens.
  • Helping with the legalization of the project to create a cultural center that can receive donations and channel help to the surrounding communities.
  • Training members in accounting and administration.
  • Working on projects with surrounding communities such as Puka Chicta which lies across the river, sending volunteers to teach and work on construction projects.
  • Sending visitors on the Cultural Exchange Program to develop their ability to deal with tourists, as well as Spanish students to study there.  

Volunteering/Cultural Exchange Opportunities

Long-term volunteers are welcome to teach English and other subjects in the local school, and to work on the project in general. Especially welcome are volunteers with botanical knowledge to help cataloguing and working with medicinal plants.