Into the Rainforest

Into the rainforest : A week spent at Naku, a powerful healing center deep in the Amazon  Naku is a Runa-supported indigenous organization created by the Sapara people of the Ecuadorian Amazon that serves to protect, preserve, and share the ancient wisdom of the Sapara.  Read more:   Snugly situated against the window of a five-person plane, I cling to a coconut and nervously listen to the Spanish pilot garble whirring within my giant headphones

Welcome To Our Crib

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in a house full of interns in the Amazon for nine weeks? Well, it’s a little messy, pretty sweaty, mostly loud, and overall, a contented chaos that culminates in some of the best learning you could ever imagine..   WELCOME TO OUR CRIB, La Casa Runa. Where the magic happens. In the mornings before heading to work, I like to enjoy some granola, a cup of guayusa, maybe

Homestay in Mushullacta

The author is currently doing a Community Development - internship for Runa Foundation. A neighborhood boy at the central field of beautiful Mushullacta Last week, the Casa Runa ladies, Alice, Allie, and I, took a break from our Archidona life and journeyed to the small, peaceful community of Mushullacta, about two hours by car. There we experienced our first Amazonian homestay and I can safely say, on behalf of all of us, the trip exceeded

29 Feb 2016


Ishpingo leaves Helene Mbaididje: Forest Conservation Intern Ocotea quixos, also known by its Kichwa name Ishpingo (more commonly referred to as canela, due to its cinnamon-like aroma), is a tree from the Laureaceae family. This 8-12 meter high tree is endemic to the Amazonian tropical forest of Ecuador and southern Colombia. It can be found at an altitude of 310-1250 meters. Traditionally, it is used to flavor meals or teas, though some extract oil from

29 Feb 2016

Una Expedición en la Selva or, A Camera Traps Field Trip

Helene Mbaididje : Forest Conservation Intern   Two weeks ago, with my fellow intern Zach, I had the opportunity to take part in one of the most arduous trek I’ve ever made...but it was so worth it!  The hike origin point was in Santa Rita, a Kichwa community about 6km from Archidona, where Fundación Runa works. Ian, our regional and landscape program director, has been leading the charge in a wildlife monitoring project inside the

22 Sep 2015


Hunter Davis:  Public Health Intern I’m here in Ecuador to work with both the Runa Foundation and Water Ecuador on a research project in the Napo Province of Ecuador. We are testing large 20 liter reusable water bottles for contamination in continuation of Water Ecuador project which began in Muisne, Ecuador. These jugs are used commonly for drinking and food preparation in households throughout Ecuador and elsewhere, however our studies are finding that many are contaminated

10 Sep 2015

Water Study Uncovers Surprising Results

Avital Li:  Public Health Intern   As a dual intern with Water Ecuador and Runa Foundation, I am co-leading a research study on water quality and community members’ perceptions of water quality in Archidona and Tena, Ecuador. In these two cities where we are working, as is the case in other regions of Ecuador and Latin America, people generally buy their drinking water in reusable 20 liter jugs, if they can afford to do so.

18 Aug 2015

Drifting Down the AguaRico

Michael Butler, Social Entrepreneur/Forest Conservation Intern: Miguel shifted the motor into reverse and gently let off the gas. The canoe drifted onto the sandy shore of the Aguarico river, where we waited with backpacks, lifejackets, a cooler, and Ian’s dog, Terminator. After a 7 hour drive, we arrived in the small Secoya community of San Pablo. The setting sun turned the clear skies and the drooping trees along the river's edge golden. We were about to

29 Jul 2015

Wa-ter Your Thoughts?: Lessons Learned in Tena, Ecuador

Karla Feeser, Public Health Intern: Closing out my third week in Archidona, I’ve had a little time to adjust, readjust, and reflect on my internship thus far. As a Public Health Intern with both Water Ecuador and Runa Foundation, I’ve been working on a study to determine the quality of water that is bottled and distributed here in Archidona and also in the neighboring city of Tena.  Additionally, we’ve been conducting surveys to better understand

El Río

Madison Herel, Social Entrepreneurship Intern:   This past weekend we took to the river for a rafting adventure. Gino and Luis, our fabulous guides briefed us on all the ways to avoid falling out of the raft and how to save each other in case of a complete capsize. The river was raging thanks to the heavy rains in the days before, so we were all pretty intent on staying in the raft. With helmets