One of my fellow bloggers, one of my first followers, commented on my Ecuador post how much she enjoyed it and encouraged me to share more. On building a reading platform, it only makes sense that I should write about my experiences there, considering a lot of my novel is based on them. So this is a thank you to Celine, my blogger friend in France, who gave me the idea!
One of the story lines in my novel is that the main character discovers the crop the farmers are growing in the rainforest is the coca (cocaine) plant. When I lived in the rainforest, we got a radio station frequency that advertised messages from the government encouraging people to grow chocolate instead of cocaine. It was just really strange to hear that. Ecuador borders Colombia, and deep in the rainforest (much further in then where I lived in real life) the guerilleros (drug cartel) were getting the farmers to grow coca.
The government in Ecuador was, and still is, in a constant military battle to keep them out. In fact, one of my husband's classmates joined the military and was sent in to fight there. When he came back he was never the same apparently. Probably post traumatic stress from the things he saw.
I wish I could share pictures. But my camera back then was still the rolls of film, and we don't have a scanner.
By the way, I did cross the border into Colombia once with some local friends, just to say I had been there. The city I was living in at the time was a five hour bus ride away.