Early in the morning, the men and women of Salasaca, an indigenous community in the central Andes of Ecuador, head for the fields. There, they cut fresh grass and alfalfa to bring back to their sheep, cows, and guinea pigs. Caring for their animals is an important part of daily life, and the job of carrying the heavy loads back is shared by the people and their donkeys. Here a colt trots alongside his mother as they make their way home along a dirt path.
– Lisa Benitez ©2007
Ecuador/Republica del Ecuador
In Western South America. Coastal plain, inter-Andean central highlands, and flat to rolling eastern jungle. 283,561 km2 (slightly > NV), 5.7% arable.
Capital Quito (1.6M)
Population 15M (53/km2)
Life expectancy 76 years
Languages Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Religions Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Ethnic Groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian & white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and other 7%, black 3%
PCVs 1962 - present; health, agriculture, youth development, and habitat conservation (Volunteers in country: 118; total to date: 5912)
Nat’l holiday Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)