New Project: El Último Hielero

I’m very pleased to announce that we have started yet another project. I am in the beginning stages of shooting a short documentary called El Último Hielero, or The Last Ice Merchant.

To explore the rapid generational changes within indigenous communities, I’m following a man named Baltazar, who is known here as the last ice merchant. Twice a week for the last 55 years he has trekked over 10 km to the fossilized glaciers on Chimborazo—to an altitude of about 16,000 feet—with his donkeys. There he hacks away at ice, breaks it into blocks, wraps it in hay and brings it back down to store in a hole in the ground so that he can sell it at the Saturday market for $2.50 a piece.

I followed Baltazar for two days last week to shoot preliminary footage and am coordinating time to head over for an extended period. Following is a promo video to show what exactly he does as a hielero.

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Dia a Dia: El Tren de los Sueños

Following is a link to the show that aired on Dia a Dia on Sunday, February 13. The crew joined me on a ride down the Devil’s Nose and then we traveled to Huigra to talk about the cemetery. The show also covers the history of the construction, as well as the impact of the rehabilitation effort on Nizag, the local indigenous community.

See the show!

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La Television: El regreso del Ferrocarril y su Historia

Following is a link to the show that aired on La Television on Sunday, February 13. This follows our team’s travels last September. A second part will air in the next few weeks following the photography and more history.

See the show!

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Railroad in the Sky…in the News!

Tonight, two major Ecuadorian news shows, La Television and Dia a Dia, will be airing stories about the railroad and our projects.

Last September, La Television followed us for three days as we excavated the cemetery, rode on the renovated rails, and gave speeches at a reception in Quito. Tonight will be the first of a two-part story following us and the history of the train. On Friday I was in the studio for an extended interview and saw a cut of the show. You won’t want to miss it!

A week ago, Dia a Dia joined Rodrigo and me as we rode down the Devil’s Nose on the newly opened portion of the railroad. We also drove down to Huigra, where we checked in on the cemetery and talked about where our projects are going in the next six months.

If you are in Ecuador, be sure to check them out. If not, I will try to post them here once they have aired. In the meantime, here is a promo for the upcoming Dia a Dia.

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Video: Trenzas de Paja

Trenza, simply translated, means braid. Paja, slang aside (more on that here), means hay. In this video, I follow Rodrigo´s workers as they create trenzas de paja, which they will string over their new thatch roof to help prevent wind damage. The benefits of this building method are twofold; it is both ecologically sound, being made of the same locally grown plants as the roof, and it is a decorative finishing touch for what will soon be a home. By the end of the process, a 25 meter rope has been spun from nothing more than a loose pile of hay.

Quick note: You´ll notice that there are actually two languages being spoken in this video. You may recognize the Spanish, but the other one is Quichua, a language that you´ll hear frequently within the Andean indigenous communities.

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