todo es posible en ecuador

I have been having some interesting thoughts about the project here in Arutam. The website and introduction speeches have left me rather disillusioned. On the one hand, telling us exactly what we want to hear -- that we are helping the Shuar people to conserve their culture and preserve their rainforest from deforestation. But, so far the work we have done is to go deep into the jungle, cut a bunch of palms, and build a firehouse for future volunteers. I have often felt that the Shuar people know exactly what the volunteers want to hear, but don't necessarily act accordingly. But then there's a whole other side to what is going on: the light -- this program is helping the Shuar people to develop. However, I'm used to seeing the black and white aspect to international development, because it's what I study in books and text and what I've lived and breathed scholastically for the past three years. But its playing out all gray in Arutam. There's nothing black or white. Its a got damned mess! There are good things.. but mostly, coming from a developed society, I see the faults and approach the Shuar development with cynicism. It is one of the best lessons I could have learned. I cannot quite verbalize it but I know how I feel. As time goes on, I will be better at forming my opinion on the project and other projects just like this one across the world.


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    Adrienne Hearne

    These are excerpts taken from my summer travel journal. While telling the story of my summer, they also express my different experiences of culture shock, being an individual  living in a collective culture.