OA's Project Ecuador

Opportunitas Aequa's first project is the collection of new and used soccer equipment to be transported and distributed to the rural province of Chimborazo in Ecuador. The goal of Project Ecuador is to deliver 1000 soccer balls, and 1000 pairs of soccer cleats to some of the most impoverished children in Ecuador.

Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Welcome to Santa Isabel!

Getting tons of positive feedback from the video. Good to see word is spreading, we will try and get another up in a few days.

The big news from here is that we have found a field to begin work on. After visiting sixteen different communities we have decided to rebuild the field at Santa Isabel, a small community just outside of Riobamba. It will be lots of hard work, but we could not be more excited.

Roberto, Gavin, and Andrew will be heading to Guayquil to meet the equpiment on Saturday, and without any hiccups, will be back to Casa Condor by mid-next week. The Project will then be in full swing.

I will keep everyone posted on the developments here, until then, wish us luck.


Video Journal #1


Calm before the storm.

Hola! The above shot is from a local community soccer game that we all went to with our main man Antonio Inga. We saw his community (Chimborazo) beat another team 5-2, and with only 9 men. Not bad at all. It was our first taste of structered Ecuadorian soccer. The game was played on a dirt field, and periodically halted so that trucks could drive across the field ... not quite what we are used to.

We are really starting to get a chance to interact with the children, which is the main reason we are here. Everyone is finding it to be the most rewarding part of the experience, sometimes it has nothing to do with soccer, maybe teaching a few English words as we bounce along in the back of a pick-up, or by sharing a song on the iPod.

Today we met with the leaders of the local communities (pictured below) to decide which of them best fits with the Project's aims. We discussed the logistics of how we can best help, and now we have some hard decisions. The communites we will end up choosing will be the ones who best understand that we are here to help the kids, and to bring the communities together.

Hopefully I will get chance to blog tomorrow as well, and let everyone back home know exactly which communites we are going to be helping. Also, expect a YouTube video to be up in the next couple days. Until then, I hope this tides your curiousity over. We are all doing well, and can not wait to get our hands dirty.

Maintain the aim.


Exploring Chimborazo

We are now all up in Chimborazo, the closest point on Earth to the Sun. Having settled in for all of 5 hours (2:30 am - 7:30am) after our arrival from Quito, we piled into the back of Antonio's pick up and headed out to visit the local communities that we will be involved with. We visited ten different villages, and observed the soccer situation in each. It varies from community to community, some only have fields of cement attached with the school, and some have badly neglected grass fields, that look as though the livestock see more action on the field.

Our day was made all the more interesting by the fact that Ecuador is in the middle of Carnaval. It may answer the questions of what we are covered with in the photo above - it's flour, lots and lots of flour. Carnaval is celebrated by throwing flour on each other, saoking each other in water, and feasting on the local cuisine (we ate guinea pig, drank chicha, and had chicken soup - all three were amazing ... sort of).

There is tons that could be done here, so much potential to help, but too much for our resources. The tough part for us now will be deciding how best we can make a difference. We met as a group last night and it is becoming apparent to us that we cannot change the world, but we can make a difference here. We have to tread the fine line of want versus need for the people of Chimborazo. All we can hope for is to bring smiles to the faces of the children and set a foundation for long term success. This is only the beginning for Project Ecuador.

Keep following along, there will be more to come in the next couple days.

Allow me to introduce Sr. Sergio Ivan Mora Guerrero

More information on the documentary has been a long time overdue. So for all those avid film fans, who have been curious as to what is happening on that front ...

We are shooting a documentary while we are completing Project Ecuador's original goals. To make sure that none of us lost focus on the aim we have been lucky enough to pair up with a VFS graduate and very talented film maker, Sergio Mora Guerrero. He will be filming everything we are up to down here, and will turn the footage into a documentary when we return in early April. Sergio is originally from Mexico, and now resides in Houston, Texas. To check out some of Sergio's previous work, visit www.youtube.com/viejochile.

Our documentary efforts have been helped a great deal by pairing with the Vancouver Film School, who is providing all the film equipment as well as post-production services.

We have also been very fortunate to have the backing of Alex Campbell Jr. and La Collina Bakery. Their support and vision of the potential of the documentary has allowed us to compeltely prepare for filming the best product we can produce.

Thanks for the help and we look forward to showing the world the completed film.


Starting off on the right foot.

Hey everyone! Good to be blogging, even if Ecuadorian interent is slower than I am used to. I am happy to say that everyone from the group is now in Ecuador. The final three of us arrived yesterday in Quito and were met by Gavin and Roberto. Today we spent the day exploring the city, tomorrow we will be heading up to Chimborazo to scout our target villages.

Perhaps the coolest thing that I could imagine just starting out was finding a group of kids playing street soccer on our wanderings around Quito. Instead of just observing, we joined right in. Everyone had an awesome time. We goofed around, taught them a few English words, and laughed a lot. When we were done our game they were able to say, "Goodbye friends!" They tolds us next time we are in Quito to come find them, because they will be playing.

Soccer is what connected us. It is everywhere. I can't wait to see what the next few weeks hold for the project.

Maintain the aim.


First news from OA in Ecuador

Well, we have our first news from Chimborazo. With Duncan and I making sure everything is finalized here in Victoria before we head out on the 18th, we have received the first pictures of our target area from the guys down there already.

The picture is of Casa Condor, the cabins we will be staying in while we work in Chimborazo. In the background is the very impressive Mt. Chimborazo. The altitude of the cabins is over 3800m above sea level - wow.

I also received a bit of a note from Gavin, which I will pass along;

"We were introduced to teachers and children from the community. They were all very receptive and excited about us being there. The kids would not leave our side. Everyone that we have met in Chimborazo is very excited about how we can help them. The leader of the community of San Pablo, Chimborazo knows that with our help the community will become physically stronger to better deal with the harsh environmental conditions they are in. He also mentioned that with our help, the children will have a better opportunity to develop properly."

All pretty exciting. We are looking forward to getting all of us together down there, and to finally begin what we set out to do.

Ears to the ground, there is more to come.

OA meets Sen. Romeo Dallaire

It was a special moment for everyone in OA because of the role Romeo Dallaire's book, Shake Hands with the Devil, played in the inspiration for the organization. Five members of OA attended his speech and were lucky enough to speak with Sen. Dallaire after it had concluded. Sen. Dallaire told us that what Canada needs is empowered youth. He also said that in regions such as Chimborazo, "soccer is a godsend for children."

Sen. Romeo Dallaire was in Victoria to speak about Canada's role in the world, and specifically, the role youth can play in shaping the future.


OA recieves new support from old sponsors

The Hayes family with the Newport Realty Group recently made another generous contribution to Project Ecuador. This makes their total contributed amount is over $2500.

Their most recent donation was $600, sponsoring the audio portion of the Project Ecuador documentary. Thank you to both the Hayes family and Newport Realty for your continuing support of the OA goal.

More on the documentary to come.

Maintain the aim.