When I began working at World Pulse in 2010, one of my very first assignments introduced me to a unique characteristic ofEcuador. The rights of nature were enshrined initsrecently adopted (circa 2008)constitution. This means the natural environment is not regarded solely as property of humans, and has its own legal standing. At the time, I wasworking on the Earth editionofthe World Pulseprintmagazine and I remember thinking:This isa very different way to look at the world.
A different way to look at the world.This is the reason Iam endlessly fascinated with thestories I encounter on World Pulse and it is the reason I am in Quito,Ecuador, today embarking on a journey withthe International Reporting Project. I will be traveling throughout the country reporting on health, development, and environmental issues, along with 10 truly impressive journalists.
My flightfrom Portland landedin Quito at10pmon Saturday.As ourtaxi wound its wayupwardsindarkness and thick cloud cover, I could see very little of my surroundings. I could only sense our upward trajectorytowards the highest capital city in the world (at 9,350 ft above sea level). AndI was hit withthe reality of how little I knowabout this country where I will spend the next couple of weeks.
The next morning, sunlightstreamed throughmy hotel window, lifting theveil of mystery from the night before. I woke up feeling only theexcitement and energy of the city I saw bustling below me. I was eager tobegin learning about the forces shaping the lives of the people I saw passing by.
By all accounts, the bold ideals of Ecuador's2008 constitution have not been a panacea for the all of the diverse peoplesof Ecuador (norits flora and fauna). I am still interested, as I was in 2010, in bold ideals. But I am especially interested in grassroots efforts—to whichwomen are often central—to holdthose in positions of power accountable to the ideals.
I am looking forward to meeting inspiringchange makers at the center of some very important conversations. In less than 48 hours in Ecuador I have already noticed thatmany of the challenges facing the country—from the environment, to reproductive rights, to natural disaster response, tothe distribution of resources and opportunity—are relevant in my home country of the United States.I imagine these issues arerelevant in many parts of the world. I plan to update this journal as I go and I will try as much as possible to bring these conversations back here to World Pulse. So stay tuned and follow along!
You can read more about the trip and my fellow reporters at the International Reporting Project.
You can also follow the trip on social media with the hashtag #IRPFellows.
Finally, if youknow ofsomeoneinEcuador withan importantstoryto tell related to issues of gender,health, development, and the environment,pleasesend me a message.
Thank you for joining me on this journey!