Reopen Galapagos School of Music

When most people think of the Galápagos Islands, they think of a remote, tropical paradise filled with turtles and pristine beaches. Any who have been lucky enough to visit know that this is true -- the islands are nearly unmatched in their natural beauty and biodiversity. What many do not know, however, is that a few of these islands (mainly San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, and Isabella) are home to nearly 30,000 residents, most of whom have lived there their whole lives.

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the Galapagueño community particularly hard. San Cristóbal’s economy is over 80% tourism/eco-tourism based, and obviously tourism has completely stopped, and probably won’t recover for quite a while. This means that many local people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, and, like many of us all over the world, do not know what the future holds.

If you’re reading this, you probably know me and know that I spent last summer living on San Cristóbal with a local family, doing research for my university. I learned a lot about the local community, and got to know a lot of wonderful people. Last week, I was heartbroken to find out that San Cristóbal’s school of music, El Centro de Artes el Gran Artista, was closing. The school has been run for many years by a family I got to know really well over the summer, and has been a cultural institution on the small island. Everyone knows Alvita Campués (the owner/teacher), and if they didn’t study music with her themselves as children, they probably sent their own children to her school for lessons.

Not only is the school closing, but Alvita has been stranded away from home on mainland Ecuador since the borders to Galápagos closed at the beginning of the pandemic.  She was in Guayaquil visiting relatives when this happened, and has been stuck there, away from her children and grandchildren, ever since. The Ecuadorian government is working to get stranded Galapagueños like Alvita back home, but the process for her to get home is expensive, and extra difficult given that she and her family now have no income in the Galápagos.

I know that this pandemic is causing hardships for everyone, no matter your situation or where you call home. I just wanted to reach out and ask if those of you who are willing and able might consider donating some money to help Alvita get home and help her family reopen the school of music when they can. I know to many of you this probably seems like a random thing to donate to, but it’s small communities like this that are often overlooked, and will need the most help in the wake of this insane pandemic.

Anything you can spare would help, and I can’t tell you how much it would mean to me, and to Alvita and her family. Sending love to everyone (especially those of you who read this all the way through) in these crazy times.



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Olivia Fielding 
Alexandria, VA
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