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Merri and I selected the village of Cotacachi as our winter home because opportunity abounds. Yet there is much more. This is our home and the headquarters of our foundation because it is noted as one of the world’s most progressive humanitarian areas.

There is a research scientist staying at El Meson now trying to figure out why this area has such a model society.

The mayor of Cotacachi, Economist Auki Tituana Males is the first indigenous Mayor of Cotacachi since the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago. He is a trained economist and one of the first things he did was institute a program so all the people of the region could be heard.

The area boasts a focus on being multi-ethnic and hosts a population that is 35% mestizo, 5% black (5%), and 60% indigenous.

The Canton’s motto is that of the indigenous community. For a worthy, productive and solid Cotacachi, the main duty and responsibility is “AMA QUILLA, AMA LLULLA, AMA SHUA”

“DON’T BE LAZY, DON’T LIE, AND DON’T STEAL”

How refreshing! Don’t we wish our nation lived by this code? This simple but profoundly powerful plan has worked… in November 2000, the United Nations granted Cotacachi the International Prize for “Best Practices”…. In November 2001, the Interamerican Forum for the Rights of the Childhood and Youth, granted Cotacachi the national Prize “The Dreamer Goblin”, for work with the Cotacachean youth….In March 2002 UNESCO granted Cotacachi, the International Prize for “Cities for Peace”, for its democratic work and its intercultural dialogue in search of peace.

Merri and I have to adapt so much when we come back to the US. There is so much aggression here and real life style sticker shock. I visited the grocery store today Wow! Prices are so much higher (I reckon four to five times higher than in Ecuador.

Also if I had children in school I would really consider a total move. No metal detectors or shootings in school there that I know of.