I initially came to Ecuador to work with a local municipio on . . . well, to be honest, I wasn’t completely sure. My contacts hadn’t sent me a whole lot of information, and since the research site had changed I just knew I was going to be doing research in a national park on cultural heritage and tourism development. When I arrived, I finally realized I was going to be doing a feasibility study for a new trail in Parque Nacional Sangay when my supervisor took me to the jefe (boss) of the lower zone of PNS and said “he will be a great resource for you–he knows everything about the trails that exist!”
Thus, a month ago I began trying to cobble together a research project with lack of direct guidance from a supervisor, a clear idea of what I was doing, and very few contacts with which to get me out of the house and experiencing Ecuador. These were the dark days of the literature review, hours spent reading in Spanish on my computer and wondering, WHAT am I doing here?? Now, after a month, I still sometimes have that thought but I have officially closed the door to the development of a trail in the proposed site. I have done interviews, recorridos of the site, surveys of foreigners and community members alike, and I simply do not think that a trail in the proposed site will attract trail goers or tourists. I have all the information I need to write the study and diagnosis. Being motivated to finish that work is another challenge, but I’ve set a deadline of this week to write and turn in my research thus far.
The WWOOFERs arrived two days ago, and my next project will be greatly improving the WWOOFING (Willing Workers On Organic Farms, click the link for more info if you aren’t familiar with it! It’s a really neat program) program. I really think agro-tourism is the most potential Logroño has. For other types of tourism there is a lack of access, promotion, infrastructure, and honestly attractions. No one is going to come to look at a cave here when they can go to a cave in one of the more developed places (ie, a city with other tourist activities and stuff like, oh I dunno, hotels). With WWOOFERS, however, people are already coming to Logroño to work on farms. These tourists/volunteers are much more likely to want to participate in the tourist offerings while they are here, and so that is my next project–figuring out how to help develop WWOOFING in my community. There will be more opportunity to DO and interact with them, which I am excited about!
First, I just have to finish this write up that says DON’T PUT A TRAIL HERE . . . and here is why.
Tomorrow, another gastronomy update (or, why my eyelashes are significantly shorter and what my family thinks of falafel).