Text by Paola Minoia
Paola and Johanna finally made it to Puyo! The first meeting of the research group was on Monday May 7, 2018, and participants were Rosaura Gutiérrez, Ruth Arias, Mayra Espinoza, Johanna Hohenthal and Paola Minoia.
Rosaura, coordinator of the university programme Desarrollo Humano Integral, has been the facilitator of the collective Retomando Raíces for three years, but will soon leave the country, unfortunately; and her role will be taken by university teacher Mayra Espinoza. Ruth is the vice-rector of the UEA and very supportive of the open access principle, meaning that the university should offer education opportunities to all, and not be reduced to an elitist place; and also of the cultural pluralism principle that should be respected in all course programmes. The involvement of university students and graduates from different nationalities will be fundamental for the research in our project.
On Wednesday 9, we presented our proposed project to the research committee of UEA and they agreed to include it in the project line of Plurinacionalidad y Saberes Ancestrales although other research lines will be involved, due to the transdisciplinary interest of the theme. In the following days, we met other UEA staff members who will collaborate with the field research and elaboration – since the aim is to produce research collectively and co-author publications.
On Friday 11, we met with various potential collaborators and also with Victor Llangarit, the rector of the bilingual unit of San Jacinto schooling compound. He agreed to help with contacts with the rectors of 15 schools in all national areas of the Pastaza Province. We made a plan of various field trips between June 2018 and end of 2019, including the most remote areas of the province. (PM)