By Ted Klubinski
Maria del Carmen Montesdeoca
I had the pleasure meeting Maria del Carmen Montesdeoca, Co Founder/Treasurer of Punto Verde Central Ambiental y Cultural, when purchasing raffle tickets for one of the many fundraisers she supports and coordinates. Maria is an inspired dynamo who tirelessly works to preserve and protect the culture and environment of Olón. Originally an abandoned home donated to the community by the Minister of Environment, Punto Verde is now a pristine, refurbished facility that houses a library, theater, office space, and outdoor area. Plays, concerts, cinema, art exhibitions, English, art and music classes, and even Arabic dancing are available for locals and expats spanning all ages.
Recent workshops at the center have included learning how to protect and save the sea turtles in this fragile ecosystem, bilingual music, dance, theater, story-telling, painting and more for children. Punto Verde is a vital resource enabling diverse communities to come together and share the evolving culture that is Olón.
Maria and her husband Rodolfo are also the proprietors of The Sea Garden House, which is an enchanting accommodation that includes eleven rooms and a cozy tree house for guests. Open-air spaces and flowering, tropical gardens surround the Sea Garden House and its full-service restaurant.
If you are looking to purchase land, a home, or rent an apartment, Chris Brokate is an agent along with his brother Gerald, the owner at Ecuador Properties Olón. Chris has been passionate about a trash-free environment since coming to Ecuador from Sonoma County, California where he founded the Clear River Alliance, which spearheaded the removal of 750 tons of garbage and debris from the Russian River watershed.
We benefit from his passion here in Olón where he and friends created the Yo Amo Mi Playa Limpia Olón campaign. Their mission is to, “Remove trash from the environment and educate our public by creating zero waste.” Chris can be seen every Saturday morning with a team of volunteers removing trash along the beach. Yo Amo Mi Playa Limpia is now supported by the Rotary Club of Guayaquil Norte as a Community Corps Project. Chris says that his goal for cleanup is 120%!
He recently organized the first Yo Amo Mi Surf contest. In partnership with Escuelita el Mar, Mingas Por el Mar, the Salanga Turtle Rehabilitation Center and a number of schools he encourages youth to protect and preserve the environment and its inhabitants. He is galvanizing future eco-activists. Demonstrations and discussions have inspired many attendees to respect and care for the precious breeding grounds for multiple species of sea turtles who for generations have cyclically evolved on Olón’s beaches. Chris is now raising funds for a second surf contest scheduled in January 2023.
DJ Wild Bill Stanley
DJ Wild Bill Stanley hails from Dallas and does most of his spinning at The Pink Iguana, a hot- spot restaurant for expats and locals alike. Depending on the evening or event he can hurl you back to nostalgic disco dancing (usually at the end of every month), or have you “Gettin’ Jiggy” for fundraisers like the recent 90s-themed “Raining Cats and Dogs” fundraiser for PAWS-Olón, a local vet clinic providing free or low-cost spay and neutering service to diminish the increase of abandoned pups and kittens.
Bill has an insatiable passion for music so you can choose your dance party whether it be current house music, new wave, 80s, or oldies but goodies favorites to dance to. For you closet-performers there is also Koastal Karaoke every other Thursday night.
He donates his time and money for philanthropic events held usually at The Pink Iguana, hosted and supported by owner Jerry Thurman. The Pink Iguana serves good ol’ comfort food and Italian specialties, but if you crave finger-licking treats, sit at the pub for tacos, burritos, burgers with fries, chicken wings, and beer battered-fish and chicken.
Jerry and his wife Cheryl never fail to offer their restaurant for community events and work closely with Wild Bill and his wife Caroline to be sure the directors of the charities have a successful event.
Bill and Caroline created and administer the Facebook group Olón Life. They created this group for networking in the coastal area. Wild Bill spins a fun mix of music for compelling community welfare needs as diverse as feeding seniors to promoting local skateboarding.
Mike Becker and Darcy Hamilton
The Covid pandemic inspired Mike Becker and Darcy Hamilton to take swift action for seniors and families suffering from food insecurity for various reasons. They launched the Olón Food Bank and Senior Lunch.
Last July they celebrated 100 meals served to seniors and recently that number rose to 130! These meals are provided through the generosity of donors. Volunteers help prepare, serve, and clean up. Mike is known around town for his cookie-baking skills, selling and delivering bagfuls to delighted supporters who know the money goes towards the meal project.
The food bank is replenished weekly for individuals and families who can take home bags of food staples, fresh produce, and hygiene supplies. Currently 21 families are served while the waiting list is 100. The Spirit of Wellness Foundation in conjunction with the Olón Comuna (political representatives) supports the food bank which costs $25 per distribution.
The work is practically full-time for volunteers and there is more to do. Mike’s next goal is to establish internships for youth who can learn from experience and proceed with certification to implement these programs in other cities including our neighboring barrio, Montañita. This is intended to propel job placement for the interns who will be skilled in foundation grant proposal writing.
Darcy hosts the luncheon at his restaurant, The Roadhouse, where great meals, with vegan options, and a bar and pub offer the perfect ambience for expats to meet. Often entertained by live music as well.
Many compassionate individuals contribute to the well-being of our town. Olón is a wellspring of inspiration. Come to Olón and find yours!