The bustling city of Portoviejo, Ecuador is a paradise for many who live in and visit the city of about 250,000 people in Ecuador’s Manabí province. Close to the beach, temperatures always hovering around 75°F (24°C), and a rich cultural verve — what’s not to love?
Unfortunately, extreme weather and natural disasters have hit the coastal city hard over the past few years. The April 2016 Ecuadorian Earthquake, which killed over 600 across the country, caused massive damage in Portoviejo. And about a year later, the city experienced 2 months of intense rainfall, leading to historic flooding and massive damage to the metro area.
Beyond the extensive flooding, some of the poorer hillside communities surrounding Portoviejo were destroyed by powerful mudslides that wrecked entire villages. One such community, called San Pablo, was home to many of the IJEF-sponsored children who trained weekly with Coach Bryan Tamayo of Pacific Top Team Ecuador. Most of these kids and their families lost their homes completely and took refuge on a soccer field outside of town.
With no way to reach Coach Bryan’s academy, the children of IJEF’s Ecuador Project couldn’t continue the free training they had attended for the past year. Luckily, Coach Bryan and IJEF had a solution: rent a van and bring the kids to the academy anyway! IJEF’s Board of Directors quickly approved the funds, and within weeks the kids were back at the academy.
Coach Bryan graciously continued to provide transportation as many of the kids returned to their homes, and the academy facilitated the families’ difficult process of rebuilding. Unfortunately, several of the children had to leave the IJEF academy for good, as their family moved too far from Portoviejo. For the rest, life took a winding path back to “normal.”
We’re proud that IJEF was there to help.