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Beyond Lagartococha conducted its annual trip to the Amazon

Nature, biodiversity, fun, culture, education, and above all, understanding and empathy towards the indigenous nationalities like the Siekopai, summarize the journey of the students belonging to the Beyond Lagartococha program, promoted by the Raíz Ecuador Foundation – CAEMBA.

21 high school students from Colegio Menor, Colegio Americano de Quito, and British School traveled with the leadership of our organization to the communities of Painkenape and Mañokó, located on the Amazonian border between Ecuador and Peru. From Menor and Americano, the fifth generation traveled, while from the British School, the third generation participated.

In both Amazonian communities live indigenous Siekopai (Secoya) people, who, following the reunification of their ancestral territory, a process driven by Raíz, managed to settle permanently where they currently live.

From the Raíz Ecuador Foundation, Pablo Yépez, president; Manuel Pallares, executive director; and Cristina Latorre, CAEMBA director, traveled. They accompanied and guided the 21 students during the trip.

Below is an outline of the itinerary they followed during the 7-day trip.

Saturday, April 9th

They traveled by bus from Quito to El Coca, in the province of Orellana. In that city, the students stayed overnight until the next day when they continued the journey.

Sunday, April 10th

At 06:00, they departed on a large canoe from the El Coca pier, downstream along the Napo River, to Painkenape, located on the Peruvian side of the border with Ecuador. Upon arrival in Painkenape, the community warmly welcomed them. Hammocks with awnings were also set up in a communal cabin for sleeping. They then bathed in the Napo River and had dinner.

Monday, April 11th

The students visited the community and all its spaces. They greeted the boys and girls from the school, the teacher, and other important people from Painkenape. The fifth-generation students from Menor and Americano, along with the third-generation students from the British School, also introduced themselves to the community.

They prepared and planted a field, contributing to the community’s food sovereignty. Afterwards, they had lunch and spent the afternoon painting the school. They also started Siekopai ceramic courses taught by several women.

After lunch, they distributed clothing donations to the community. Then, they bathed in the river and had dinner in the evening. Finally, a bonfire was made to bring together the students and the community to exchange their experiences and impressions.

After breakfast, they set out by boat to the Mañokó community on the Lagartococha River. Along the way, they visited the Cocaya Siekopai community, where they observed pink dolphins in the Aguarico River. Upon arrival, they set up camp near the Mañokó community. After lunch, they visited the community and delivered didactic and educational materials to the school. They exchanged experiences with the children and the teacher.

After breakfast, they embarked on a journey through the Amazon rainforest of terra firma. They then explored the Lagartococha lake system, the most pristine place in the Ecuadorian Amazon. After lunch at the camp, they went to the community to deliver clothing donations and other items.

In the evening, they took a spectacular nocturnal tour of the Lagartococha lagoons, where they observed caimans, insects, and other animals. Finally, the students and the Raíz leadership had a farewell dinner.

Friday, April 15th

After breakfast, they returned to Painkenape, very close to Nuevo Rocafuerte, Orellana. After lunch, there was a group meeting to define the next steps, commitments, and actions that these and future generations of Beyond Lagartococha will carry out.

They also collected the trail cameras for biodiversity observation. Afterwards, they had a sports afternoon and a final swim in the Napo River. Finally, there was a farewell dinner with the community.

Saturday, April 16th

It was the day of return from Painkenape to Puerto Providencia by canoe. There, they were picked up by a bus that took them to Quito, where they arrived in the evening.

Beyond Lagartococha

The students were very happy to make this wonderful journey into the depths of the Amazon thanks to Beyond Lagartococha, a program of the Raíz Ecuador Foundation – CAEMBA. We work tirelessly in the Amazon, thanks to this program founded in 2016 by Juliana Pallares Latorre.

The goal of Beyond is to promote intercultural education, finance the training of teachers from both Siekopai communities, and foster cultural and experiential exchange between students from schools in Quito and the Siekopai.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

Fundación Raíz is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working with indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian, Montubio, and Mestizo groups across Ecuador.

Our projects support various communities: Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani and Shuar, covering six linguistic families.

Our CAEMBA housing initiative focuses on the Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio populations in Esmeraldas, addressing challenges of poverty and high crime rates. We commit to equitable treatment, opportunities for all, and the elimination of barriers to participation.

By valuing every voice and fostering community resilience, we aim to create a more inclusive, equitable society.

Our leadership is committed to DEI principles, ensuring our efforts reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and contribute to sustainable development and social justice.


Fundación Raíz está dedicada a la diversidad, equidad e inclusión (DEI), trabajando con grupos indígenas, afroecuatorianos, montubios y mestizos en todo Ecuador.

Nuestros proyectos apoyan a varias comunidades, Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani y Shuar, cubriendo seis familias lingüísticas. Nuestra iniciativa de vivienda CAEMBA se centra en las poblaciones afroecuatorianas y montubias en Esmeraldas, abordando desafíos de pobreza y altas tasas de criminalidad.

Nos comprometemos a un trato equitativo, oportunidades para todos y la eliminación de barreras para la participación. Valorando cada voz y fomentando la resiliencia comunitaria, aspiramos a crear una sociedad más inclusiva y equitativa.

Nuestro liderazgo está comprometido con los principios de DEI, asegurando que nuestros esfuerzos reflejen la diversidad de las comunidades que servimos y contribuyan al desarrollo sostenible y la justicia social.