I am 24 years old and a born USA citizen who had experienced many years of travel around the world with my parents and siblings when I was out of school every summer. I have lived for the past three and a half years in Canton Palora Province of Morona Santiago in which I own a farm that is 50 hectors and four homes built from natural wood and bamboo along with cement blocks and Ceramic Tiles to give a contrasting looking of the old and new design.
I first arrive in Ecuador on a University Summer Program, which allowed for three semesters of community volunteers in a town north of Quito. At that location, I participated in the construction of nurseries and maintenance of gardens and animals as a means to supply food for the community and at the same time was able to develop my conversational Spanish.
At the end of 2012, I made a decision that Ecuador was going to be the place for me to venture out and try my new idea of ecotourism. In so thinking I felt that I could buy a farm there and grow my foods naturally (organic), raise animals, and create an environment for family, friends and tourists to come and visit to commune with nature. This idea was also to be able to show them some of the natural beauty that I had encountered while I was there.
I decided to start my search for a farm after my university closed in December for winter break and I was off for a month. I started my search in Cuenca and then unto Vilacobomba with my dad's advice and input I found some real estate agents that were able to show me places in that area. I did not like the farms I saw there because there were lots of hills and very rocky it was mainly for cattle rearing more than planting. In my search one of the real estate agents identified a property located in Palora and convince my dad and I to take the trip to see the place of which we did in January 2013.
The farm and the area were much more green and flatter than the area in which I was first looking at and so I decided to make the owner an offer to buy the farm. The farm was purchase in June 2013 and I spent all my summer on the farm with friends, family and workers. I started the process of clearing the land for planting and I also obtained cows, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, goats, pigs, and rabbits. On leaving to return to the USA I hired a worker to live in one of the homes to take care of the farm and he was paid monthly. Part of the farm was rented out to the neighbor to graze their cows.
In graduating from college (Washington & Jefferson University) with a degree title Engineer in Administration with minors in Sociology and Gender Studies I made my move to Ecuador in May 2014. In arriving back to my farm I decided to hire more people and to see how I could improve on my farm to make it much better so I increased the cultivation of the land by planting lots of different types of vegetables, chickens, pigs, goats, cows, ducks, rabbits, tilapia, dogs and geese. I then proceeded to improve my Spanish and apply for my residence in Ecuador. I had gotten so good at the language and had learnt some of the processes that I did my paper work on my own without the help of an attorney.
In November 2014 I converted one of my cabin homes to hold public events like birthday parties, social events for all kinds of functions. Lots of residents of Palora loved the idea of being able to have functions on a farm that was private with a wide drive way and well kept building with everything they needed in it for a function. Government departments and workers used it for private office functions and families used it for family reunion occasions.
In 2015 some of the employees of the farm organized an intercultural group to go to Quito to get on the program called ‘Ecuador Has Talent’ the group with my assistance and creation of special music got to stage four with the unique beats and dance. I then decided to expand the farm and began to plant more plantains, bananas, pina, cana, boiled luisa, yucca, Chinese potatoes, maize, papaya etc., and to work to clean up areas where there were lots of lemon, orange, squash, mandarin and guava that were plentiful on the farm. I also lease one of the buildings to local family and rented out part of the farm for pasture to Palora
In July 2015 I volunteered to teach English classes for free to young people and children in the area and in the holiday resort that organizes the Municio Del Canton Palora and in the same month I took part in the first Physicocolourism event in Cotopzxi Latacungo in representing al Canton Palora. In doing so I won first place and it was the first time in 15 years anyone from this region had won and this allowed me to enter the Gimnacio Xtreme Force of Palora? Then in November I enter entered the event Fiscicoculturismo in the city of Pyuo Queolando and gained second place.
In 2016 I played an instrumental role in helping the municipality of Palora by sponsoring the Candidate of Queen of Carnival in the representation of my farm as a candidate of ‘Finca La Selva.’ Also in July, I closed my farm to the renting to the public because I needed to focus more on developing the farm base on a new project I got from Aji Tabasco for the export of peppers with the Pro Aji Of Santo Domingo Ecuador. In November I took part in the event of body building ‘King Of The Muscle’ in the Quito in which I represented Canto Palora.
Some more improvements to the farm came in January 2017 when my brother came down to help with the expansion of the development of the farm using his engineering expertise. My parents followed in February to help with the planting of over Eight Thousand-Pepper seeds (8,000 plus) from Tabasco Pepper Company based on an agreement I had with them. My family came down numerous times to help me with the enhancement and expansion of the farm with building of more animals pens for pigs, goats, sheep, chicken, ducks, geese and rabbits, along with increasing my fish rearing to 800-1000 tilapia. In so doing the workers and my parents along with friends and relatives were able to increase the planting over a thousand pineapple trees, three hundred (300) plus papaya and the installation of streetlights along all the streets and the latest technology in the four homes on the farm. I want to stick with my dreams of build a place where everyone could come and enjoy the natural living and eat healthy.
Many Palora residence (i.e. Mayor, Police Chief and police of the town, High School principal and teachers, business owners, government employees, school kids that I taught English etc.) visited the farm and was amazed at the transformation of the farm from what it used to be. There were many offers from some business people to rent spots on the farm to do other types of businesses but I never gave in. Now as you can see in the pictures of my Facebook page what has happened to my dreams.