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PUSANGA: Making the Forest a Home
by Ron Mader

In the town of Baños, where the Amazon and the highlands Sierra meet, the air is tinged with a tropical humidity several hundred miles from the Pacific Ocean. The nearby Amazon forest is present in this corridor, constantly breathing and infusing the village with life-giving air.

Backpackers and cyclists base their journeys into the forest here. And it's not uncommon to find indigenous people who have made their own journeys, by foot, canoe and light aircraft into the land of the mestizo.

The Pusanga Travel Agency and Artist's Store is run by Clara Flor (Sisa) Cuji de Councell, who runs the business with her husband Bryon Councell and family. Pusanga offers a clear linkage among tourism, the environment and artesania.

The agency offers interactive cultural tours which introduce travelers to the daily life of the Quichua and Shuar. It is a unique information center and gathering place for those interested in gaining a greater understanding of what is going on in the Amazon.

Says Bryon Councell: "Our goal is to give people an opportunity to participate in daily activities. This includes extensive explinations of how we raise plants, garden and build canoes and houses."

"There has to be a way to preserve traditions as well as the forests," said Pusanga member Elena Montefierro.

Ceramics

Ceramics are used for religious ceremonies as well as for cooking. Only women make the exquisite objects because the soils are high in salt peter.

"Salt peter makes men dysfunctional," said Clara Cuji, who added that men are charged with making baskets and spears.

For more information on this group, contact them directly: Clara Flor (Sisa) Cuji de Councell of the Pusanga Travel Agency, located at the corner of Thomas Halflants and Luiz A. Martinez streets, in Baños Ecuador (593) 3 741-524 or Bryon Councell in the United States at (863) 675-4774; Email: Pusanga@lycos.com http://www.pusangatravel.com

 
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SMALL PRINT: On the request page, you must state you came from Ecuadorial to benefit from the airport transfer offer.
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