Home on Whidbey is a family blog revolving around Fran, Ed, Brad, Yessi, plus puppy Benton, and our family, travels, friends, neighbors and community. Thanks for reading.


A Country Unfolds..

When Brad was on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, I went crazy researching every lake, river and town he came to.  Following his footsteps on my computer maps and Google searching every inch along the trail was a wonderful way to be by his side.   By the end of his five month thru-hike on the TeAraroa Tail, I felt like I'd traveled  NZ, from tip to tip, and knew it quite well.

Brad at Bluff, NZ

I did the same thing when he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Annapurna Circuit.

Brad on PCT
Brad on the Annapurna Circuit

Now, I'm researching for my own moving-to-Ecuador-adventure and I find the sleuthing equally fascinating.

One item that popped up in my research, and quite fascinated me, was that Cuenca has recycling.  From the Cuenca Digest:

 Cuenca city government has announced that garbage recycling will become mandatory in March. The municipality will impose fines on users of the city’s waste collection system who do not separate organic, inorganic and plastic waste after Mar. 1 (2010).
The ordinance establishing the recycling program was adopted in 2004 but has not been actively enforced. According to the city’s sanitation office, fines will range from $10 to $100 dollars. A spokesman for the office said that fines would also be imposed on people who do not adhere to garbage collection schedules and who place garbage on curbs on non-pick-up days.  

In reading further about Cuenca's recycling program  I discovered that there is recycling before recycling.  Once the residents set out their recycling cans for the city-wide pickup, there is another "pickup" as Cuencanos sort through the cans to capture items that they can turn in for money.  

I'm also amazed by the reports that there is non-stop cleanup by green-suited men and women who sweep and clean the streets.   Their bagged garbage isn't put on the roadside but is instead put in brackets high off the ground to keep it out of reach of he dogs. 

And, I love this, cattle are often put by their owners in the center strip or along the sides of roads to eat the grass, keeping it mowed and neat, while feeding their livestock.   Seeing people along side the roads digging weeds (actually edible herbs) that they sell at the market is also a common sight and helps keep the sides of the road tidy.

The thrift of the culture is so wonderful to read about after being frustrated here in the states with the love affair we have with objects, just to then carelessly toss the leftovers out the window or into the landfill.  

A complaint I see on expats' blogs is that there are no thrift stores.  The Cuencanos use what they buy and then reuse it so it does not result in waste.  I see this as a very good thing.  I might miss my trip to Good Cheer, but I'm going to be very grateful to live in a culture that does not thrive on waste.

I often read that Cuenca is a very clean city. The cars and busses are clean. The streets are clean. The people wear clean clothes.  The city is manicured.   Music to my ears!

Here in my progressive town in the Pacific Northwest we have not yet achieved recycling, nor does our city keep the streets swept and grass mowed on a very regular basis.   I know there will be things I don't like about Cuenca, just like here, but I will thrive in a non materialistic atmosphere of cleanliness and good maintenance.

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