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On April 16 the residents of Tabuga, staff of the Lalo Loor Reserve, and Ceiba Foundation personnel gathered to commemorate the one year anniversary of the deadly earthquake that completely changed the face of Ecuador’s coast. The event encouraged reflection on the hard times that everyone has endured in the long months since the terremoto, but largely focused on the tremendous achievements that have been made in recovery and rebuilding: of houses, of economic opportunity, of confidence, of lives.
The event featured photographs taken during and after the earthquake, allowing everyone to revisit some difficult moments, but also take joy in the visible progress made in just one year. Thanks to the amazing outpouring of support from Ceiba donors, and to timely financing from organizations like the United Nations and World Wildlife Fund, the majority of Tabuga’s residents are living in decent homes, with access to clean water, and sending their children to the newly rebuild elementary and high school facilities.
Plans are being made for new urban development that include new parks and green spaces, more sidewalks and shade, and better basic services. Startup funds for a community ecotourism project have been secured, and training in a variety of economic opportunities — from artisan crafts to and chocolate farming — is being offered weekly.
The commemoration event was capped off by a communal feast — plantain cake and fish and fresh orange juice — that demonstrated the ability of this resilient group of people to overcome, pull together, and support each other in times of need. Above, Ceiba President Catherine Woodward, and members of the community serve up the feast. We congratulate all the residents of Tabuga on their incredible hard work and amazing progress, and celebrate with them the opportunities of tomorrow.