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Cleanliness In Ecuador… "I'll Clean It Up Tomorrow Morning… Or Perhaps Next Week…"

When traveling one has to understand that you are in a different part of the world and things are done differently than in your own country. I am not judging but merely pointing out differences in environments and how things are done in separate parts of the world. I find it interesting to learn and discover the different methods people use to deal with all kinds of diverse situations.

Cleanliness in Ecuador isn't the highest priority, nor does it seem a priority at all. Rubbish along streets accumulating and people contributing to it is a problem that doesn't seem to have any attention. In Old Town Quito I have seen a few street workers picking up garbage but their efforts are minuscule when looking at the bigger picture. Heavy rains create dams of garbage which clog sewage drains and choke local streams, resulting in a foul odor that permeates into the air. This is something you tend to get use to and hardly notice after a while, or at least it doesn't seem as strong. Also with as many dirt roads that there are in Ecuador, polvo (dust) is everywhere.

I wish I could say the trash problem in the cities gradually gets better as you move more into a residential area but it doesn't. A high perched metal basket is common in from of houses in Ecuador. Upon my first arrival I didn't know what the purpose of these baskets were. I quickly realized the function for these baskets are to hold trash, perched high enough to be out of the reach of hungry dogs living on the streets. I personally have made the mistake of placing a small bag of trash outside the front door and forgot about it. The next morning the trash was ripped to shreds and tossed about all over the street. I picked up what I could and threw it away in the house.

Inside an Ecuadorian home it takes a little bit of getting use to and if you're a neat or clean freak you may find it a little difficult. "I'll get to it later," which turns into tomorrow and the next day. It will get done, it's just the matter of when. It is common for crumbs or fallen food to not be cleaned up after dinner or counter tops unkempt. I personally don't mind it too much. I'll wash the dishes after dinner and clean up but I don't stress that things aren't immaculate, plus who am I to judge? It's not a health issue problem, it's just that things get cleaned up at a slower pace. It's also common for people to hang their garbage outside on a fence. If a house does not have a metal basket out front to put trash in you will notice bags of garbage hanging from fences. Of course this method is also used so the dogs don't get into the garbage.

Trash and sanitation issues are an on going concern and actions are being conducted to better this matter, but it will take time to notice those efforts.


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My name is Mauri Fabio and I live in Portland, OR. I love being outdoors and traveling to various locations. I even got my geology degree from the University of Hawai`i because I wanted a degree that would allow me to travel and be outdoors. I enjoy everything there is about traveling. The unknown directions a trip can quickly take, making friendships with new people, and the endless adventures there always seem to find me. Visiting new areas of the world gives me something to look forward to in my life. I think constantly about where the next destination is that I want to trek through and the adventures that may await me. So far I have traveled to Beijing and visited the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, endless temples and eaten foods that westerners would cringe at the sight of. I've roamed through Perú and Ecuador and stayed in various hostels, camped out in the Amazon rainforest and drove up the Ecuadorian Coast with no clue where we were going just as long as the ocean stays on our left side. I explored The Galapagos Islands and seen abundant wildlife, undertook horrid sea trips to different islands and army crawled through pitch black lava tubes. I've live in Hawai`i and explored the places to go and what the best things are to do, of course on a cheap budget. These journeys are only a fraction of the adventures I'd like to share with you and I have so much more planned for the near future. During my travels I quickly learned that stepping completely out of my comfort zone and into other people's worlds is the most satisfying way to explore.

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