Puerto El Morro 2009

By Manuel Kingman

Puerto El Morro is located in the province of Guayas, 9 km of Playas. Between Playas and Puerto El Morro vegetation is dry, there is an absence of a few crops and few houses and poultry farms break with the arid landscape. You get to the village of Morro and there is a great wooden church of the few colonial churches in the area that is currently being restored.

According to a 2008 census the parish of Morro has 3814 inhabitants 55% of men and 45% women. The population is divided primarily between El Morro (902 inhabitants) and Puerto El Morro (1802 inhabitants). In the parish there is a large percentage of people who are between childhood and adolescence, and 1582 inhabitants are children. Although El Morro is the parish center has only 29% of the population, while the exhibition Puerto El Morro contains 47% of the population of the parish, probably the greatest population concentration is due to the greater job opportunities at the Port.

Puerto El Morro has six districts: De La Buena Esperanza, Puerto La Cruz, Central, Centennial, Cristo Rey. Everyone celebrates its festivals each year, however, the most important festival is the Patronal feast dedicated to Christ the King is celebrated in the second week of November. Although there are two evangelical churches most of the people are Catholic, this has meant that over the past three years, the festival takes place in honor of the Divine Child due to its number of faithful.

The first impression of Puerto El Morro him away from the idea we have of a poor village on the coast, some of the streets are paved, the houses on the main street are painted in colors, has a church decorated with a painted Christ popular graphics and a park with playground perfectly arranged. It also has a garden with colorful billboards that was made with the help of foreign volunteers who do stay a fortnight working primarily with the two schools sector. The income of people mainly come Campus related to fishing (work in shrimp, croaker fishing, and crab shells), tourism operated by wandering around the swamp and whose main attraction is the display of dolphins and domestic trade.

The stories of the inhabitants speak of El Morro many years ago was a thriving parish, Pedro Morales -President of communalism treasures an old magazine, 1922, in which it is possible to see business listings and reviews on the estates of the sector. El Morro has a history dating back to the colony, the church of San Jacinto del Morro in the parish center was build in 1737 and was rebuilt in 1855, is currently being restored by the Municipality of Guayaquil. Although Puerto El Morro historiographical references to the past are diffuse, there is the belief among the people of the place in which they live has historical weight and therefore it is necessary to work to rescue the memory, perhaps why there is concern among representatives of the Commune to look beyond the colonial past to learn about the pre-Columbian past, through the study of archaeological pieces huancavilcas, chongones, colonches, guanchalas chanduyes and (2) have been found in different areas the sector and create a museum space in which that is known about that story remains to be written.

There is also the provision to create a photographic museum where historic photos of the Morro are exposed, such as those of the big steamers came by via river from Guayaquil and in memory of Carlos Porfirio Cruz (76 years) (3 ) brought the likes of Velasco Ibarra.

Is the recent history of Puerto El Morro which marks a turning point in the life of the campus community. The mid-80s are remembered for one side as the activation of the Commune by Ministerial decree in January 1984, and on the other by the award of the mangrove to shrimp. The implementation of shrimp produced Mangrove logging and violence that resulted in the removal of the community which just today, 21 years after the conflict is beginning to reconcile. In 2007 the Puerto El Morro was declared by the Ministry of Environment as a protected area category Mangrove Wildlife Refuge El Morro.

In memory of shell fishermen, sea bass and crab is this how it was working before the arrival of the shrimp. There were more fish stocks in one day you could collect 20 crab plates, (4) currently collected four lucky. The relationship of fishermen and crab shell shrimp has not been easy, they need to fish the mangroves, but what remains today of mangrove is not much, a few meters from the river vegetation separating the shrimp, paradoxically mangroves has become in some areas in the natural closure of shrimp. This has resulted in fishermen exposed to mistreatment by the shrimp as they often have to bring the walls of shrimp to fish in what little remains of the mangrove. (5)

The increased work opportunities remain in the fishery, it appears that this is the greatest opportunity to work for young people, who in many cases begin to work in fishing or shrimp at the age of 12 years. Given that fishing is a limited resource, tourism has become a choice of work, there are currently two associations pursuing tourism Eco Club Los Delfines and Frigates and Dolphins Cooperative. Tourism has shown the creativity of the inhabitants of the Port, an example of this inventiveness is in the realization of the festival of La Lisa, (6) which was enthusiastically received last year from tourism.

But creativity does not develop only instrumentally meet the demands of tourism. The hotel has many popular activity manifested by the presence of two popular artists (Vicente García and Pedro Morales -President Commune). There is a folk dance group and a musical group of corridors, Idols of the People. In September this year, the group will host a festival hall convene bands from neighboring premises. Interestingly favorite music by residents is Andean music, this may seem strange because usually in the villages of the Ecuadorian coast is a hobby into the hall, the music or rocolera tropical music, the reason for this inclination has its history, he was a school teacher for 40 years who influenced the love of Andean music through organizing folk dance groups; today, after several generations, the Andean music is part of the culture of Puerto El Morro. In religious festivities to honor Christ the King or the Divine Child music is played on guitar.

In this first approach we can say that Puerto El Morro is a place with great potential for the development of collaborative artistic projects. It is a place with a history dating back to the colony and with interest from the inhabitants of writing. It is a place where conflicts have been present that are not yet fully resolved. It is a space that has a cultural dynamic that makes its inhabitants are open to new proposals.

Manuel Kingman Photos, Puerto El Morro:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41948896@N06/3870676453/

August 2009

Quotes:

(1). This text has been written based on a first dive only with Natura Project in Precinct Puerto El Morro, therefore, most of the elements of your reality yet been investigated. It has been made ​​based on interviews and focus group discussions with the inhabitants. We thank Peter Morales, President of the Commune Pablo Morales, President of the Association of Fishermen, Elio Cruz, Sergio Eduardo Cruz and Paul Jordan.
(2). Testimony of Peter Morales, President of the Commune Puerto El Morro.
(3). Interview with Pablo Eduardo Cruz, son of Carlos Porfirio Cruz.