Making a Difference

The group, LOVE Cuenca, gathers to help clean Parque Paradiso

Making a Difference

Are you a potential expat, thinking about retiring in Ecuador, where you will finally be able to realize your dreams of a worry-free life and have the time to give back to your community? In this series of articles entitled Making a DifferenceLorell Stewart, a long-time Cuenca resident and host of the successful Spanish Immersion Homestay Program (information available on www.cuencaspanishclub.com) will introduce you to many like-minded North Americans, Europeans and Ecuadorians who will amaze and inspire you!  Some folks are highly visible, contributing ideas and opportunities on a broad scale, while others are quietly engaged in helping in more singular ways.  If you can imagine it, you too can make it happen!

 Collaboration, South of the Equator

(An interview by Lorell Stewart)

In this first in a series of our Making A Difference articles, we meet Clay Bodine and Laura Inks Bodine, who have brought their successful Santa Barbara Fishbon project to life in South America with Fishbon del Sur, and have additionally created the inspiring, nascent community group, LOVE Cuenca!

Sitting in an outdoor café on a sunny Saturday morning in late November, I have the chance to interview Clay and Laura about their vision to expand their Santa Barbara initiative “to develop a collaborative environment for artists, technologists, writers, designers, performers and other participants, to create unique, real-time aesthetic experiences that speak to contemporary audiences”.  I know that’s a lot to assimilate, so let’s break it down;

LS:  I have heard so many wonderful things about Fishbon del Sur, and in fact have enjoyed a few of your newly legendary artistic events!  How does the “del Sur” experience in South America differ from what you originally created in Santa Barbara, and how have you cross-pollinated across the equator?

LIB:   When Clay and I met in Santa Barbara, we were both doing similar things for a different audience.  My business, ‘Arts Alive’, was housed in a 4,000 sq. ft space which included an art gallery, and classrooms for ceramics, painting, music, costume design and much more for children of all ages.  Fishbon was Clays’ initiative, and he was basically doing the same thing for adults.

CB:  Fishbon was created as an incubator for creative expression.  The past 15 to 20 years has given rise to a paradigm shift, moving toward collaboration at all levels.  These days, innovation is the only way that companies are getting ahead.  Fishbon originated as a ‘container’ for collaborative expression for adults, and grew out of the many similar artistic endeavors which created ‘Burning Man’, in the Nevada desert.

LS: Are you going to be doing activities for children here?

LIB:  Really, I am not here to re-live the same experiences we had in SB.  Now, I want to be the kid!  And with regard to cross-pollinating across the equator (and in fact, around the world), art is an international language, expressed in so many forms.  It’s my greatest motivation to learn Spanish so that I can communicate and collaborate creatively with artists from different countries.  Our creative expansion in Cuenca has been born from another culture.  For example, Clay recently remarked that he is inspired to revisit an old play that he wrote, as he is now seeing its’ potential with new eyes, answering the question; “How would I do this here?”  And as far as differences between the US and Ecuadorian artistic community, there really aren’t a lot.  What I have found, however, is that the similarities are universal.  The recent Cuenca initiative, ‘Cuarto Aparte’ (a Room Apart) was a reaction among many young artists to the older, more traditional government sponsored program, El Bienal.  So these artists were, in fact, ANTI-Bienal.  Artist issues are not very different here than they were in SB; How do we make a living with our art?  How do we become more visible?  How do we not sell out and yet still sell art?

CB: Artists here in South America are no longer provincial.  In the US, we were involved in a more ‘local’ environment, in part due to the many issues with regard to zoning restrictions, political opinions, and neighborhood concerns.  Here in Cuenca we find that the city is more than willing to work with us and help artists find expression.  The arts are very important to South American cultures.  Artists are able to do more edgy stuff, and are often influenced by what is happening in Europe.  I find them to be more visceral.  They have their feet on the ground.

LIB:  Our upcoming project is a perfect example. ‘Cajas Magicas’ (Magic Boxes) is a series of peep-shows performed for one individual at a time. Each piece has an amazing array of elements inside small boxes, and the project features artists from Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico.  

LS:  Graffiti art has exploded around the City, initially due to the encouragement and support of the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce.  Now I see you two engaged in helping to further expand opportunities for local artists.  Please tell us a bit more about that?

LIB:  In SB, we initiated the ‘Graffiti Project’ as a way of giving local artists compelling alternatives for creative expression.  We began by offering 20 large plywood panels on which to paint.  Each panel was documented as a completed work of art, and then the next artist would come in and paint right over what had been done.  We eventually used these panels to cover up a number of broken windows on an abandoned building in a highly trafficked tourist area of town.  We essentially stopped all of the unauthorized graffiti in the neighborhood!  Even rival gangs started painting together on the weekends!  Our collaboration here in Cuenca will continue to expand on this idea of collaboration.

LS: In a broader context, we see some wonderful things happening with your heartfelt initiative, LOVE Cuenca!  You have thus far organized three volunteer cleanup projects along the Tomebamba River, and have recently completed a volunteer taxi car wash, encouraging our expat community to show the LOVE and appreciation for our hard working drivers.  I understand your volunteers washed over 20 taxis on a recent Saturday.  

LIB:  Our LOVE Cuenca mission is simply to have fun and show love for our new home.

CB:  We need to remember that we are all immigrants and our hosts are deserving of our appreciation.  It’s really a cultural tragedy that we (expats) often lose sight of our roots.  My great grandfather, as an example, was an immigrant cabinet maker from Sweden.  

LIB:  Two other local residents, Cinza Bottaro Torres, Felicia Brings and I were talking one day about starting an initiative to LOVE Cuenca, and so we did.  Anyone can come up with an idea and we make it a reality!  And the idea for LOVE Cuenca was really a way to provide a platform for expats to get involved, with tons of support from like minded peopleOur December project has members creating dolls and puppets to distribute to disadvantaged children for Christmas. We can all enjoy a cleaner river walk and building relationships with local cab drivers seems like a good way to LOVE Cuenca. The feedback we received was genuinely warm and heartfelt!

CB:  There are too many regulations in the US.  Here, we are able to operate on a grass roots level.  And getting back to the question about Graffiti, it is through LOVE Cuenca that we are now meeting with City officials about designating another entire street for art.

LS:  I wish we had the time and the space to share more of what you are creating here in Cuenca!  For those of us who are interested in joining your efforts, either now or in the future, is there anything else you would like us to know about right now, and how can we learn more about Fishbon del Sur and LOVE Cuenca?

CB: We would like for everyone to know that we are doing this, simply because we live here.  That’s how scenes get started.  Ideas bring people, and people bring more ideas.  And when something is not profit motivated, all can either participate, or equally important, no one needs to feel guilty if they chose not to participate.  

LIB: We are even finding that non-artists who support the arts are stepping forward to provide funding. As an example, many artists will need bus fare to travel here from different locations in South America.  Local expats are stepping up with contributions, and many are also offering free housing.  People are awake to what is happening!

LS: Thank you both for taking the time to meet with me and inspiring current and future expats and Ecuadorians, with your efforts, and for the idea that “if you can think of it, you can make it happen”, here in Cuenca, Ecuador!  Anything you would like to say in closing?  How can people get in touch with you to learn more?

LIB:  I always come away from Fishbon event labs feeling smarter!  There is so much to learn when we leave our comfort zones.  We are also getting close to the day when those who we support from other countries will begin reciprocating and invite our Cuenca contingents to visit their countries and homes. We are open to hearing the ideas of others and in 2015 we’ll host a monthly Blues Lab for musicians to experiment.  In addition, we’ll be having a number of events, workshops and festivals which will highlight artists from different counties.

CB: Our Fishbon del Sur creative lab is located in a quiet neighborhood in the north/west section of El Centro. It’s a 2 story Colonial building with performance space for theatre and music, an art studio, an artist residence on the first floor and our private residence on the second floor.  Fishbon del Sur and LOVE Cuenca can both be found on Facebook and we welcome people to join us. We also have a weekly newsletter that people can sign up for by emailing us at:  laura@creativecollaborationnetwork.net

               

We welcome questions, feedback and suggestions for our next Making a Difference feature! Lorell Stewart can be reached via her website, www.cuencaspanishclub.com, or by email at lorellsoffice@gmail.com.

Artist, Fernanda Pacurucu, works on a personal totem for a Halloween event.

Author, Billy Jack Sibley, reads from his novel and leads discussion.


Facade of Fishbon del Sur during Cuarto Aparte


Artist DAZA demonstrates puppet prototype


LaKomuna artist LaKomuna, Elmo, wearing t-shirt he designed


Artist Ricky Nunuz, sits for a costume fitting


Laura with artist Ramona Garduno preparing for a Halloween event


Laura and Clays' first Christmas was a hike along the Tomebamba River


Laura, Clay & Kris Loomis in One Act Play, Festival

Lokomuna artists work on installation for Halloween event

Overhead shot of performers at Fishbon del Sur Halloween even

Performer, Daniela Altieri, conducts voice workshop

Shadow puppet from One Act Play Festival entry Gnash Gnash.


Retirement in Ecuador

Retirement in Ecuador

Bienvenido / Welcome to Retire in Ecuador. You have obviously come to the site because you are researching what is so great about relocating to Ecuador. Hopefully some of your questions can be answered as we have put a lot of work into the site to bring to you as much information as possible. So sit back relax and enjoy the journey. 

Retire in Ecuador remains to be  one of the most viewed websites for retirees thinking of relocating to Ecuador and was first founded in 2008. 

Ecuador has become increasingly popular with young singles, going solo, and there is also seeing an increasingly large number of families with school aged children making the move. 

But Where is Ecuador?


Ecuador is located in South America and is bordered by Columbia and Peru.  The equator passes through the city of Quito

Ecuador Facts

  • Population: About 15.49 million
  • Climate:  Ecuador is known for its micro climates, learn more here.
  • Major airports with U.S. flights: Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. Complete list of airports in Ecuador.
  • Nearest U.S. consulate: Quito and Guayaquil

Ecuador still remains in the top ten best places to retire to.  After being the number one spot to retire to for several years Ecuador has slipped into second place after Panama by a whisker.

Cuenca remains to be a  place for retirees to relocate to with having over 4.000 expats.  But besides Cuenca, more people are also relocating to other beautiful areas of Ecuador.  

The best part of checking out this beautiful but small diverse country is that you have a choice of where you may like to live, from the mountains to the coast or you may like a more tropical location.

Whatever your final choice make sure you do take the time to research and spend time experiencing the country first hand.  It may not always be what you want it to be and for some it is quite a "Culture Shock" which they may not be prepared for.

SUBSCRIBE for your FREE Newsletter and read about our about our personal and business adventures in Ecuador.   

RIE does not claim to be professional advisers and therefore please seek your own independent advice when using any of the services that are mentioned throughout the website. This website is FREE to read and also FREE for subscribers. SUBSCRIBE

To tour this site use the navigation buttons on your left. Once inside, click on the blue text links on any page.


Additional Quick References to popular pages

Cuenca Discovery Tour Ecuador Crash Course  Expat Personals  

Expat Classifieds About Cuenca  Cuenca Homestay  Cuenca Attorney  

Ecuador Residency  Cuenca Doctor  Expat Journeys

Cuenca Shipping  Cuenca Rentals  Cuenca Dentist   Cuenca

Properties   Yanapuma Spanish School 

Getting to Know Cuenca 

Shopping in Ecuador 



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Table of Contents

Ecuador
About Ecuador
Ecuador Information
Ecuador Information - loads of great information
Ecuador Crash Course - 10 day tour through Ecuador
Ecuador Crash Course - Join Jonathan and Sarah on this wonderful 10 day tour through Ecuador.
Ecuador News
Ecuador News - This page is loaded with Ecuador news widgets which produce updated news items
Ecuador Residency
YOUR ONE STOP SHOP IN CUENCA
Cuenca AlternativeMedicine
Cuenca Alternative Medicine- 3 WEEK ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE “ANTI-AGING” PROGRAM
Cuenca Ecuador
Cuenca Ecuador still named the number one retirement haven in the world. Find out Why?
Cuenca Accountant
Cuenca Accountan - English speaking accountant for all your bookkeeping needs
Cuenca Residency Attorney
Cuenca Residency Attorney - Sara Chaca Residency Attorney in Cuenca
Cuenca Containers
Cuenca Containers - For all your relocation needs.
Dentist in Cuenca
Dentist in Cuenca - I needed some work done on my teeth and approached FindHealthInEcuador to set me up with one of their dentists.
Doctors in Cuenca
Doctors in Cuenca. Find out about healthcare in Ecuador.
Cuenca Restaurants
Cuenca restaurants - there are many wonderful restaurants in Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca Graffiti
Cuenca Graffiti Blossoms
Healthcare in Ecuador
Healthcare in Ecuador - What sort of health insurance does Ecuador have?
Cuenca Spanish Club
Cuenca Spanish Club. Relax and learn how to communicate quickly & effectively in Spanish
Cuenca Immigration Lawyerd
Cuenca Lawyer - English speaking team in Cuenca, Ecuador that can help you relocate.
Cuenca Medical Tourism
Cuenca Medical Tourism - Find Health in Ecuador is a personalized medical tourism business located in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Cuenca Properties
Cuenca Properties - Thinking of relocating to Cuenca Ecuador then check out these properties.
Cuenca Real Estate
Cuenca Real Estate - English speaking team ready to assist you.
Cuenca Rentals
Cuenca Rentals - several apartments for rent in Cuenca
Cuenca Discovery Tour
Cuenca 3 day discovery tour $7.99
Yanapuma Spanish School in Cuenca
Yanapuma Spanish School in Cuenca is situated in the heart of this historic colonial Andean city only two blocks from the Parque Calderón and the Catedrál.
Cuenca Visas
Cuenca Visas - for all your relocation needs.
Retire in Cuenca
Retire in Cuenca - Lots of great information about relocation to Cuenca, Ecuador
Tours Through Ecuador
Tours through Ecuador. Discover this wonderful bio-diverse country with great tour guides
Experience Ecuador with Ecuador Expat Journeys
Ecuador Crash Course - Ten day tour through Ecuador. If you would like more information on the tour dates and pricing
Cotacachi
Cotacachi An up and coming expat destination
Galapagos Islands Ecuador
Galapagos Islands - Your Galapagos vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Guayaquil
Guayaquil - Tourist Attractions in Guayaquil, Ecuador by Gracy Sonia Martin
Inca Ruins Cuenca
Inca Ruins Cuenca - This is a wonderful tour of the Inca Ruins outside of Cuenca
Montanita
Montanita - this is the coolest surfing town along the beach of Ecuador
Latacunga - Mama Negra
Latacunga - Mama Negra Pageant
Loja Ecuador - Hidden Gem
Loja Ecuador, Hidden gem of Ecuador
Manabi Ecuador
Manabi Ecuador - Facts about Manabi include a number of things which are necessary for the tourists coming to the province in Ecuador. Manabi
Otavalo Artisan Market
Otavalo Artisan Market - Every Saturday local indigenous flock to Otavalo to sell their wares ranging from foods, art and many great accessories.
Quito the soul of the World
Quito the soul of the world. Expat journeys in Ecuador
Salinas, Ecuador not for everyone.
Salinas, Ecuador is not for everyone.
Vilcabamba Ecuador
High in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, less than 50 miles from the Peruvian border, lies the elevated valley of Vilcabamba Ecuador
Making a Difference
Making a Difference
Disabled Travelling in Ecuador
Disabled Travelling in Ecuador - Because of our special needs situation, we decided we would be best off living near a modern city.
Airports in Ecuador
Airports in Ecuador
Birds of Ecuador
The Birds of Ecuador comprehensively treats the nearly 1600 species of birds that can be found in mainland Ecuador.
Retire in Ecuador
Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter to read all about our journey into Ecuador.
Ecuador Frequently Asked Questions
Ecuador Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Expats.
Food Costs in Ecuador
Food costs in Ecuador can range from much less to, in some cases, slightly more than their U.S. equivalent.
Ecuador Climate: A Guide to Ecuador’s Four Micro Climate Zones
Ecuador Climate: A Guide to Ecuador’s Four Micro Climate Zones
Expat Classifieds in Ecuador
Expat Classifies in Ecuador. A free submission for personal classified ads.
Ecuador Expat Personals
Ecuador Expat Personals for those retiring in Ecuador
Expat stories in Ecuador
Expat stories in Ecuador. Read what others have to say about relocating to Ecuador
Senior Volunteers Ecuador
Senior Volunteers in Ecuador. Seniors can also become volunteers in Ecuador.
Latest-News-from-Ecuador
Latest News from Ecuador - Whats happening in Ecuador
Move to Ecuador
Move to Ecuador - An expats personal experience about relocating to Ecuador
Pet Relocation Ecuador
Pet Relocation Ecuador - Pets too need a passport of a kind to enter Ecuador
Learn Spanish
Learn Spanish before you retire in Ecuador
Living Abroad: 5 Common Mental Mistakes Expats Mak
Living Abroad: If you’re considering living abroad, then I’m sure you’ve heard this story.
Ecuador Apps
Ecuador Apps - Mobile Apps for travel through Ecuador
Shopping in Ecuador
Shopping in Ecuador - If you know where to go you can find anything you want in Ecuador.
Advertise with Retire in Ecuador
Advertise with Retire in Ecuador
Site Map Retire in Ecuador
Site Map for Retire in Ecuador
Youtube Videos of Ecuador
Youtube Videos of Ecuador
All You Need is Ecuador
All you need is Ecuador - All you need is love.
Contact Us
Contact Us

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