Ecuador

November 5th, 2009  |  By Mary Stucky

Hope for Panama Hat Weavers in Ecuador

The finest hats are woven of straw that is so thin and fine it looks like linen. | Photo: Andi McDaniel

The finest hats are woven of straw that is so thin and fine it looks like linen. | Photo by Andi McDaniel

Some of the finest straw hats in the world come from Ecuador. The best sell for hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Most of that money goes to the dealers and retail stores — the weavers themselves don’t earn enough to live on. But a retired U.S. advertising executive says he has a plan to create more demand for the hats and pay the best weavers a decent wage. Mary Stucky reports from the central coast of Ecuador.

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November 30th, 2007  |  By Mary Losure

Ecuador Rainforest Travel

The Bataburo lodge is situated in the Ecuadorian rainforest.  |  Photo by Don Losure

The Bataburo lodge is situated in the Ecuadorian rainforest. | Photo by Don Losure

By Mary Losure

“There!” Our guide, Cirilo Tapui, points with his machete. “A gigantic woodpecker.”

I follow his gaze. Gigantic is right.

A ray of sun backlights the bird’s brilliant red crest as it pounds its huge beak on a dead tree — THWOK! THWOK! THWOK! Here in the Ecuadorian Amazon, immense and flashy birds like this still thrive, along with monkeys, tapirs, caimans and even, here and there, a jaguar.

And it’s possible, with a reasonable amount of trouble and expense, to see this rain forest wilderness firsthand. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but if you like nature (in rather large doses), it’s worth everything it takes to get there, and then some.

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November 26th, 2007  |  By Mary Losure

Ecuador Fair Trade Roses

Flower plantation worker Elvia Ordonez. | Photo by Don Losure

Flower plantation worker Elvia Ordonez. | Photo by Don Losure

Planning to buy a bouquet of roses for someone you love?

If, like 90 percent of the roses sold in the U.S. today, they’re imported, they may have a dark history. The workers who grew them might have been child laborers. The blooms might have been exposed to deadly, environment-polluting pesticides.

But those scenarios are beginning to change. Move over, fair-trade coffee. Now, there are fair-trade flowers.

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June 1st, 2007  |  By Round Earth Media

Flower Workers In Ecuador

Flower plantation worker Elvia Ordonez.

Flower plantation worker Elvia Ordonez. | Photo by Mary Stucky

A trade deal with several South American countries expires tomorrow. But President Bush is expected to sign an eight-month extension — which would be a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. We’ve had this pact with Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador for 16 years. They send goods to the U.S. duty-free.In exchange, they’re supposed to crack down on the production of cocaine and other drugs. It’s a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. Ecuador provides a quarter of the roses sold in this country. Mary Stucky reports.
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