Today I have two events from the Ottawa Welcomes The World series, both featuring South American nations. On one day, it was Ecuador's turn to host an event at Lansdowne. I came up to the Horticulture Building and photographed the flag, one of several of them hanging from the lamp posts.
Inside there were displays on travel, the country, and the culture. Of particular interest was the Galapagos Islands. There was a table set up with several books on the islands, along with tour information. I was curious about this- it is the lower jawbone of a feral pig.
The walls were mounted with large photographs of wildlife of the country.
On another occasion, it was Colombia's turn to shine.
These crafts caught my eye coming in. The day included panels on one of the indigenous customs of the country- individuals who become mediators of their people. Part of that included the hammock in the shot that follows.
I had a chance to talk at length with this woman. Pilar is part of a cacao consortium, and we spoke about the transition for farmers from one crop to another. For many years, farmers would grow the coca plant- the base for cocaine. It was an easy crop to harvest, albeit illegal, during the days of the civil war. Cacao is a harder crop, requiring more work, but it's also legal, and she said the transition might take a generation of persuasion to succeed. Among the reasons to switch: the lack of risk and the personal dignity to yourself to grow a crop that is legal. She explained the process of utilizing cacao and how much it takes to make the chocolate truffles that a shop in Bogata might sell.
The place was well decorated with flowers. These are one such example.
When I came in, this artist was painting a colourful work at this canvas. She moved the canvas up to the stage soon thereafter and was speaking to onlookers about the artistic process.