Ecuador Beaches

Ecuador Beaches

Ecuador beaches are popular attractions - especially those in Esmereldes, Guayas and Manabi provinces - for drawing tourists and cruise ship passengers with their markets and handmade crafts, jewelry and coral. Ecuador beaches span 18,000 square miles along the coast of Ecuador, with the fishing industry dominating Esmereldas province, while the Manabi area includes fishing villages, mangrove forests, beaches and archaeological sites.

Ecuador Coastal Region

The Location

 

The Population

15,223,680

The Religion

Roman Catholic

The Weather

 
 
  • The children and staff of Compassion’s Esmeraldas City program gather in front of their church, which is located in one of the region’s poorest and most dangerous provinces. Ecuador Large Group of Children
  • The rainy season presents a constant threat to coastal residents. Cane huts built on muddy ground rarely withstand the devastating floods that wreak havoc on the region. Ecuador Homes on Stilts
  • Children in the Joyos de Cristo (Jewels of Christ) child development center enjoy a healthful lunch. For many kids, these are the only healthy nourishment they get. Ecuador Girls in Line for Food
  • Thanks to Compassion’s donors, children receive much-needed medical attention. Here a center Director treats a rash caused by contaminated water. Ecuador Boy Getting First Aid
  • Many parents in coastal Ecuador spend their days outside the home, leaving their children without proper supervision. Some kids become vulnerable to the dangers of the street. Ecuador Four Boys Seated
  • At Compassion’s Ecuadorian centers, children find attention, affection, companionship, and hope for a better future – things they rarely experience at home. Ecuador Children Hugging
 

Overview: Coastal Ecuador

The coastal region of Ecuador encompasses 18,000 square miles of coast and beaches. The fishing industry dominates the province of Esmeraldas, which is also home to dense rainforests. The Manabi area includes fishing villages, mangrove forests, beaches and archaeological sites. Guayas Province has one of the country’s most important ecosystems, the Guayaquil Gulf, just south of the equator, and six environmentally protected areas.

Families living in the coastal region fear the arrival each year of the rainy season, from January through April, which can bring dangerous mudslides and flooding. Severe weather also affects families who work in agriculture. Year after year, they lose thousands of acres of crops to the pouring rain, and then have to struggle to keep surviving crops and livestock alive through the droughts that follow.

The coastal region, the westernmost part of Ecuador, rises from the Pacific Ocean to 3,000-foot mountains. It is divided into six provinces dominated by the seaports of Guayas and Manabi. The area comprises three types of ecosystems: tropical rainforest to the north, savannahs in the central region, and dry forests to the south.

The region’s beaches, especially those in the Esmeraldas, Guayas and Manabi provinces, are popular attractions, drawing tourists and cruise ship passengers with their markets of handmade crafts, jewelry and coral. The El Majagual Forest in northern Esmeraldas is home to the world’s tallest mangroves. Bananas are an important export crop grown along the coast, along with coffee, cocoa, plantains and sugar cane. Coastal shrimp farms are also important employers and exporters.

 

Culture Corner

SHRIMP CEVICHE

Prepare ceviche, a delicious, fresh-tasting appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds shrimp
  • ½ pound tomatoes
  • ½ Spanish (red) onion
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 10 limes or lemons
  • Coriander, finely chopped, as desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tamarillo (tree tomato)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

PROCEDURE

Add the shrimp to a pot of boiling water and leave for 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.

Grate the tomatoes. Chop the onion very finely, add the juice of 4 limes or lemons, and let stand for a few minutes.

Mix the onion with the grated tomatoes and add coriander, salt and pepper, plus the juice of one orange and a blended tamarillo. Finally, add in the shrimp, the juice from the remaining limes or lemons, ketchup, mustard and oil, and some more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with green plantain chips (chifles).

Life in the Coastal Region

The west coast of Ecuador borders the North Pacific Ocean. The climate is tropical, but with two very distinct seasons. The summer season, which runs from May to December, is sunny and dry. The winter season, in contrast, brings extremely heavy rainfall. Severe flooding is a constant threat – especially for those who rely on agriculture for their income. Thousands of families lose their homes, belongings, crops, animals and jobs to the rainy season every year. With the flooding comes disease, including dengue fever, malaria, and typhoid.

The coastal region accounts for just over half of Ecuador’s total population. Extreme poverty is prevalent throughout the area. Most coastal inhabitants are unemployed or underemployed. Many children are forced to earn income to help support the family, although the government is working hard on this issue and the number of children who work is decreasing.

Children at Home

Most homes are made of cane with zinc sheet roofs, and the primitive construction can’t withstand the effects of severe storms and flooding that occur in the winter. More than one-third of the families in the region lived in cramped conditions. In some homes, as many as 10 family members share a 20- to 25-square-foot house. Children in coastal regions of Ecuador frequently suffer from coughs, flu, parasites and intestinal illnesses that result from drinking dirty water.

 

Community Issues and Concerns Community in Ecuador

Because of the humidity and proximity to water, coastal residents regularly battle common tropical diseases. Each winter, more than half the population is prone to outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and skin infections, all caused by the mosquitoes that thrive in stagnant pools of water that remain after winter flooding.

Families struggle with unemployment, and many residents who have jobs must find ways to care for their families on an average income of about $7 a day. Many work in the fields harvesting rice and corn; others work on fishing boats or cattle ranches. Informal markets are crowded with vendors selling fruits, vegetables and handmade crafts. Many families are uneducated about nutrition, and about one-fifth of the residents of the region’s rural areas are malnourished.

Local Needs and Challenges

Parental negligence is a growing problem in coastal Ecuador. A third of the region’s children age 4 and younger are left with relatives, friends or neighbors each day while their parents work. This lack of parental oversight has resulted in a startling increase in child abuse, malnutrition, teen pregnancy, learning disorders, and delinquency. Kids who do not receive nurturing and guidance at home are looking for it elsewhere – and finding very poor substitutes. Compassion is working to fill the void in these young lives.

 

Schools and Education Education in Ecuador

Nearly all children between the ages of 6 and 18 have access to a free public education. While about three-fourths of all students finish elementary school, only a little less than a third will complete high school. Classrooms are crowded, with a ratio of 50 students to one teacher in rural, one-teacher schools.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers in the coastal region of Ecuador provide registered children with a place to learn and grow. While their parents spend their days fishing and selling in the markets, Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.

 

Working Through the Local Church

Compassion partners with local churches in the coastal region to offer real change and hope to children in desperate need of both. Most of the kids in the Compassion program receive little love or attention at home. As a result, they have little respect for themselves or others. After they work with trained Compassion staff members who show them love and attention, we see a noticeable change in their lives. Their parents see the change as well – and are quick to express their gratitude for our ministry.

Compassion also takes care of the physical needs of these hurting children. We provide nutritious meals and medical care and teach good hygiene habits to prevent disease.

How Compassion Works in Ecuador Compassion in Ecuador

Compassion’s work in Ecuador began in 1974. From humble beginnings, we have expanded our reach dramatically. Currently, more than 60,300 children participate in 210 child development centers throughout the country. Compassion partners with local churches to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Ecuadorian children. Our dedicated workers help them understand that they can rise above their dire circumstances to become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators in coastal Ecuador coordinate the diverse elements of the Compassion program with one goal in mind: meeting the needs of children who have nowhere else to turn. The facilitators work with the leaders and lay people of local churches, teaching them how to present Compassion’s specially designed curriculum.

Facilitators also familiarize themselves with the communities they serve, keeping abreast of urgent needs and developing situations. Thanks to Compassion’s generous donors, we are able to make a difference in children’s lives where they need it most.

A facilitator in Ecuador oversees on average 12 different programs. That number speaks to the commitment level of our dedicated staff – and to the scope of Compassion’s impact on the region.

 
 

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the safety of children and tutors who attend child development centers in unsafe areas.
  • Pray that the government’s economic crisis will turn around so more people will find work and not have to leave the country for employment.
  • Pray for the strengthening of families, especially those torn apart by jobs, migration or violence.
  • Pray that pregnant mothers and their children enjoy good health.