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QUITO, Ecuador – Life sometimes gives us sweet little packages wrapped in unique ways.  Because I planned to visit Quito’s Casa de la Cultura regarding the ‘on hold’ exposition of my paintings, I reviewed their website last week:  CASAdelaCULTURA

The ‘Events’ page mentioned a fundraiser for the coastal community of Don Juan, which is 10 kilometers from Jama in Manabi Province.  Casa Loca is about half way between the two areas!

Looking up the coast to Don Juan and Punta Prieta/Punta Blanca

Rio Jama’s “La Boca’ area – before the earthquake:  Can you spot Casa Loca?

A fundraiser for the community of Don Juan?  My imagination raced with possibilities as I tried to connect the WHERE with the WHO. Who inspired this, or was it a random and compassionate person or persons who visited Don Juan and realized they could use some support?

My plans were to be in Quito at Casa de la Cultura the same day the Las Artes por Manabí would be held at the National Theater!  After the meetings – which went very well, I inquired about the event.  Yes! It was scheduled for that night!

Friends Stephen and Xiomara joined me that evening, though we were not quite sure what we would be watching!  We gladly paid our ten dollars to help support the Don Juan community in the canton of Jama.

Don Juan, Punta Prieta – from 2014

The show, which showcases Andean Contemporary Arts, started around 8 pm. Enrique Males, a popular musician, has been creating melodies for 50 years and calls attention to ‘cultural respect.’

Patricia Gutierrez and Enrique Males

“…His songs remember famous people of Andes. For example, the indigenous general Rumiñahui (from spanish conquerors of Quito, 476 years before) or Mama Dolores Cacuango, a political figure of 80’s that talked about human rights, but from the thoughts and traditions of indigenous communities.

With all this context, the performance tries to remind the people to love Allpa-Mama (Mother Earth), to be at peace with themselves and with each other.

The connection with Don Juan’s people is the joy for life, the desire to improve and be more sensitive and creative, using Arts and our ancestral culture to be a big family, from the coast (Jama) to the Andes (Quito). ” – Sayri Wladimir Cabascango – Las Artes por Manabí

Like thrilled children, we sat toward the front of the National Theater and looked forward to the show.

Image in the background is from a preColombian Jama Coaque Sello/Stamp.

Information about the community of Don Juan.

Poet Diego Velasco Andrade

The stage went dark, and as our eyes adjusted, musician Enrique Males swept us into a magical realm.

Wow.  Double wow.  We were entralled!  Shhhh. Let’s get quiet and enjoy the show…

Patricia Gutierrez wearing a mask; later she wore two- one in front and one in the back!

Publicity was also in ElUniverso:  ElUniverso Cultura Arte favor Manabi

Graceful and eloquent, Enrique Males and Patricia Gutierrez finished their performance with humble closings. They also invited everyone to join them on the stage for a final photo!

Las Artes por Manabí’s website is here: Artesxmanabi.org and because they are on WordPress, I ‘liked’ the posts, left a comment and stated that the performance deserved a much-larger audience and asked if the event would be performed in mid April on the coast at Don Juan.

Sayri W Cabascango was kind enough to send this lovely reply:

“Hi Lisa,

I’m Sayri, team leader of Las Artes por Manabí. It’s my first time writing in English. It was a shame that the public in Quito missed this opportunity to discover Andean art and to help Don Juan community.

We will present the performance in Jama on April 15th. The scenario will be the beach. Everybody is invited. It will be free.

On Monday 3rd, we will publish this information on Facebook, as a cultural trip for fundraising (between April 14-16). It will cost $150 and we offer: transport (Quito-Jama-Quito), local food (breakfast, lunch and dinner, each day) and the possibility to share with the community and with our artists. Participants should bring their tent, as we will sleep on the beach.

Please follow us on Facebook:


Jama needs a lot to flourish again.

Sayri Wladimir Cabascango”

Sunday, April 2 will be a very busy day in Ecuador, as voters will decide via run-off, who will be the next President – “Moreno or Lasso?” –  Four of five taxi drivers that I asked this past week in Quito said that they were for Lasso.

That’s all until tomorrow;  see you in Jama/Don Juan on the 15th?  For more information, go here: Cultural Trip to Don Juan

🙂 Z