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B.S. Ecuador - Ecolodge News

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the Equinox on the Equator: March 22, 2006
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Black Sheep is not out to pasture,
2005 was a year of recognition!


Responsible Tourism Ecuador Hotel
Jean Loveland

Black Sheep Inn received a phone call on November 1st 2005 from Bruce Beckham of Tourism Cares for Tomorrow saying "You sure must have a lot of friends, because Black Sheep Inn WON Smithsonian Magazine’s Conservation Award!”   Thanks to everyone who voted for us, with super special thanks to Jason Ticus (BSI volunteer) and George from the restaurant Adam’s Ribs in Quito for their intensive voting-dedication. If you have a voting story, please let us know!

Andy’s mother, Evie Hammerman, accepted the award on our behalf in Orlando Florida this past December 4th. Congratulation’s also to Louisa May Alcott Orchard House in Massachusetts for winning the Preservation Award.

Black Sheep Inn was also ‘Highly Commended - Best in a Mountain Environment’ at the 2005 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards in Excel London. Thank you Jean Loveland for accepting the award on BSI’s behalf. Also, special thanks to Nick and Mads for your continued support.  (

As promised, we will use the Smithsonian prize money to GET BLACK SHEEP INN OFF THE GRID!!!  By this time next year we hope to have converted the Inn to solar/wind power. This will be a great alternative energy showcase for guests and neighbors, and an extremely intense learning experience.  See: Hybrid Solar Wind Design

Just as 2005 ended well,
2006 starts on the right foot for Black Sheep Inn.

Best Technology Ecuador Hotel Satellite Internet
NO MORE DIAL UP INTERNET! We purchased a used satellite-internet dish and Andy’s brother Arnie brought it down in his luggage. When passing through Ecuadorian customs he claimed it was a used DirecTV antenna and was waved through without any problem. We are no longer relying on a dodgy local phone line in order to connect and we can have 3 computers online at the same time. It is not a DSL connection, BUT it is much more reliable! A good internet connection is key for both the research and purchase of alternative energy equipment this year. We have to spend that prize money as promised!!

Satellite Technicians at Work

Pure Water - Ozone 03 Treatment
NO MORE BOILING WATER FOR 10 MINUTES! After an epidemic of bad bellies at Black Sheep Inn (extreme apologies to any guests who suffered), we tested the water and found that it needed treatment. Because of drought and a water shortage over the past couple years, Chugchilán’s water source has become compromised. In addition to a mountain spring, surface water is now being diverted to the town’s tanks to augment the dwindling water supply. Results of the water test found it was contaminated with bacteria.

We researched several different purification methods, and decided to invest in a water ozonification (O3) system for the Inn. We found Ozone to be the most healthy and natural way to get safe drinking water; this method has been used since the late 1800’s and is also used in purification of produce, poultry and meats around the world. Also, if we ever decide to put in a hot tub, we can sterilize the tub with Ozone as opposed to using nasty chemicals, and constantly having to change the water. Hmmm… sounds like we should go for it!

As far as the village water system, we’ve researched sand filters, ultra violet lamps and controlled chlorination that will help to guarantee clean water for everyone. We welcome donations for this project. At the moment we are supplying the chlorine to help treat the water.
Black Sheep Inn Business
Black Sheep Inn Ecolodge is now incorporated as an Ecuadorian company: Operadora de Turismo BlackSheep Inn CIA LTDA. This is a legal step forward that will help BSI grow over the next couple of years. No, don’t worry, we are not expanding!  We simply want to remain ‘Outstanding in Our Flock’ and be outspoken leaders of ecotourism and environmental conservation worldwide.
New Managers
In mid-December, Karen O’Krafka and Santiago Hidalgo, a lovely Canadian/Ecuadorian couple, were hired as managers. Karen had heard about our place from Iain Duncan, last year’s manager extraordinaire. They went to University together! We rang in 2006 with the BSI full of guests, and had a great celebration, including the annual New Years 70’s retro dance party, bonfire, fireworks and ‘globo’ launching (a globo is a homemade tissue-paper hot air balloon). At midnight in the plaza there was the burning of an effigy of you know who... once again.

Ecuador Hotel Help

More New Managers!
Starting April Fool’s Day 2006 we will welcome Claudine and Buffalo from Emandal Farm California ( Santiago and Karen will stay on and we have hopes for smooth sailing from here on with a team of four managers, in addition to our trusty staff. With four fulltime managers, BSI should be able to make more dreams come true, and also provide the downtime that is so important in this business.

Goetz, Michelle, Karen, Santiago y Andres

Chugchilan Changes
Andres has been elected “King of the Garbage” in Chugchilan. He and Pia (a Danish woman who lived in Chugchilan for a few months researching the success, failures and effects of NGO projects) attended various town meetings and began teaching what it means to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The village has purchased a small parcel of land just north of town and soon we will begin building a recycling center. We also welcome donations for this project.

The market in the center of the village was torn down to make room for a small public park. Chugchilan Peace Corp volunteer Denis is teaching local farmers how to make an organic fertilizer for their crops called BI-OL. The village is starting the process of installing a new water source with help from the Municipal government. The new water source should triple the current water supply and hopefully include a purification system.
Community Andean Folk Music Ecuador Cultural Changes
Black Sheep Inn now has an Andean Musical instrument lending library! We purchased guitars, charangos (10 string mini-guitars), panpipes, flutes, cañas, maracas, and drums from a traditional instrument maker in Peguche, near Otavalo. The instruments are being been lent out to local communities in order to promote and preserve their own cultural traditions. Any Andean Folkorico music teachers want to come up and do a workshop?

Speaking of workshops, once again high school students from the British School of Quito spent a weekend in the Chugchilan Public Library/Computer Learning Center working side by side with Chugchilan’s local high school students. It is great to see the cultural exchange of knowledge between Ecuadorians!

Musicians from Moya in Front of the Great Wall

Thank you everyone for donating PC’s and Laptops! Last year we purchased 5 new monitors to keep up with all the computer CPU donations. The library looks better than ever with a landscape and quote from Cevallos painted on the front wall, “He who reads a lot and travels a lot knows a lot.”
We were also visited by a group of industrious indigenous folks from Peguche who work with Marcos Lema from Hotel Casa Sol in Quito ( The group is starting a tourism project and spa called Andean House. Marcos wanted the community leaders from Peguche to be inspired by Black Sheep Inn’s best ecological practices and innovative designs. And we were simply happy to have more contributors to our famous composting toilets.
Family and Personal     We had a very tranquilo island vacation in Panama (
Thank you to Karen and Santiago for learning the ropes so fast, and allowing us to get away. When we returned to exotic Ecuador we had a wonderful family visit during Carnival. The crowd included Andy’s mother Evie, brother Arnie, sister-in-law Janet, nephews Haydn and Avery and Michelle’s nephew Zack. We showed off some of Ecuador’s jewels to our family, visiting hot springs in Papallacta ( an Incan Hacienda San Agustin de Callo ( and of course the Black Sheep Inn!  We also enjoyed the sun museum at Equator - Mitad del Mundo. Ecotourism Travel
   Our private Villa Dock in Boca de Toro, Panama
Ecuador Peace Maker Carnival Ecuador Hacienda Hotel
Haydn with Water Gun for Carnival Zack and Arnie Feeding Llamas
The Future
New manager’s room is close to being finished, along with a new cold food storage room, which is tiled and sterile and when completed will allow us the space to double our current office size. The business has grown heaps over the years, but the office is still a tiny cubicle!  BSI headquarters needs to expand a bit to keep up!
Breaking News from the Heart of Ecuador
STRIKES-PROTESTS-PARO. The past 2 weeks there have been very strong protests against the signing of TLC… the Free Trade Agreement promoted by the USA. We support the protests, but at the same time apologize to anyone who has experienced the extreme inconvenience paralyzing the central corridor of the Andes. It was not a good time to be traveling through Ecuador, unless you wanted to join the protest!

Currently at Black Sheep Inn things are very tranquilo… we haven’t had normal transport arriving or departing for over a week. Yet we have had a few serious volleyball games, until the court started flooding! We are experiencing torrential rains. BSI pond has reached an all time high, finally making use of the culvert we installed in 2002. When it rains it pours!

That’s all for now… drop us a line to let us know what’s happening in your part of the planet!


Have a great Spring and Summer.  Until the next Equinox in the fall...

Please keep in touch, The Black Sheep

Michelle Kirby & Andres Hammerman
click here for archived newsletters

Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador
tel. (593) 3 - 281-4587
P.O. Box 05-01-240
Chugchilán, Cotopaxi

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B.S. News from the middle of the world!
Just after the Equinox:  September 21, 2005

This newsletter is sent out twice a year, in March and September.  This is NOT Spam, please do not put us in your bulk mail or block sender folder.  If you do not want to receive this "Drop-ping" let us know by clicking here.  To view the entire newsletter complete with photos click here.

Click here for archived newsletters

Return to Black Sheep Inn Homepage

Your votes count Sustainable Tourism Ecuador Hotel click here.

VOTING is now over and we WON!  Thank you for your support!

Vote for the Black Sheep Inn!!
Black Sheep Inn is a pending finalist in the following prestigious Ecological Awards around the world. 
1). Smithsonian Magazine & Tourism Cares for Tomorrow 2005 Sustainable Award   You can help us win by voting at  The rules of the contest are that you can vote once a day from all of your email addresses until October 31st.  If Black Sheep Inn wins we will use the $20,000 prize money to convert the Inn to Solar/Wind power.   We need your help to reduce carbon emissions and get off the grid!   Please vote as often as you can.  
For Details: Solar and Wind project
Award Ceremony in Cancun, Mexico on December 4th.
2). The 2005 First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards in the category: Best in a Mountain Environment, organized by online travel agent  Award Ceremony in London, England on November 16th.
3). IH&RA Environmental Award 2005 – (International Hotel & Restaurant Association.)  The award is $2,500!  Award Ceremony in Beijing, China on October 28th.
4). 2005 Skål International Ecotourism Awards – (International Association of Tourism and Travel Professionals.)  Award Ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia on October 16th.
5). DRV Environmental Award 2005 - DRV is the Association of German Travel Agents and Tour Operators.  Award Ceremony in Dubai, Untied Arab Emirates on October 15th.
These awards involve an extensive application and judging process.  We are excited and honored to be chosen as a finalist.  PLEASE help us win the Smithsonian Magazine & Tourism Cares for Tomorrow 2005 Sustainable Award!  by voting early and often.
Solar Power Panels Ecuador Hotel ECO Improvements
A Submersible Pump mounted beneath a wooden raft in the pond is powered by two 85-watt solar panels (which are on a rack near the pond). No battery necessary! When it is sunny, water is pumped from the pond all the way up to Arriba, the upper cabins, and stored for irrigation of the veggie gardens. To see details about the pump as well as our proposed system to get off the grid.

Animals Grazing while Water is Pumping

Alternative Energy Pump Ecuador Hotel New laundry area is open. Due to it’s strategic location, the laundry area is designed for multi-functional use, creating 2 new water resources; 1) water collected from the roof of the drying area and 2) recycling the gray water. The higher location means we do not need to use pumps and it boasts a great view while washing your clothes!

In June BSI hosted two GIS Masters students who were writing their thesis on the cloud forest of the Iliniza Ecological Reserve.  They were taking samples in the forest and comparing data in satellite imagery dating back to 1979.  

Anchoring the Raft

Ecological Architecture Ecuador Hotel  Return to Black Sheep Inn Homepage

Big Buildings
We are currently adding a 2nd floor on top of the bodega.  What?  Where?  Is this confusing you?  The bodega was the first adobe structure that we built on the property in 1995, besides Terrible’s adobe doghouse.  This bodega is a narrow storage room on the side of the kitchen between the Great Rock Wall and the Main Guest Lodge.

The new managers room on the 2nd floor of the bodega will be the first room with a private bath!  It will have a small personal composting toilet, hot shower and sink.  All of this luxury is for managers whom have yet to be hired!  If you know someone who would fit in well at the Black Sheep Inn, then send them to: our opportunities page.  We’re hoping with more comfortable living conditions, managers will decide to stick around forever!

Adobe Walls on the 2nd Floor

Business Running Smoothly
Chris & Amanda from the UK, traveled around the world and in May arrived at the Black Sheep Inn. They managed the BSI so that we could go to the states for Andy’s brother’s wedding and helped us through one of the busiest busy seasons ever. Thanks! They will be here through the end of October and then they head back to UK. We will be sad to see them go!

Mark & Megan from Australia, volunteered from early July until late August. They helped with the solar pump installation, gardens, and planting trees.

Andy joined a local soccer league here in Chugchilan. The league has six teams. Games are played every Sunday on a field at the Italian Missionary’s. Mark also joined the team Rojo for a few games. Imagine running around for an hour and a half at 10,000+ feet in elevation, often playing against a bunch of teenagers! In the first round team Rojo came in 4th and in the second round we are currently between 1st and 2nd place. Michelle is an amazing technical director, keeping us on our feet and running from the sidelines.
Ecuador Soccer Chimps

Ecuador Soccer Champs

Ecuador Soccer Game
Mark, Michelle and Andres Jumping Rojo Beautiful View from the Soccer Field
Terrible, our oldest dog visited the vet to get a couple of his teeth pulled and cleaned. In order to clean his teeth, they had to give him anesthesia. Well, Terrible had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia and had heart failure!     !!!     Luckily the vet was able to perform CPR and miraculously resuscitate him. Terrible is back to his old wiggly and waggly self and now has great smelling breath to boot.

Upon arrival at the BSI, Wendy Scott took off to do the ridge hike, stepped in a hole and broke her leg. Thanks to the well-stocked first aid packs and training we were able to splint her leg, carry her down the ridge and get her to the hospital in Zumbahua. She had her leg set in Quito and decided to stay in Ecuador for the rest of their 3-week vacation.

Cesar, our trusty mason’s 10-year-old son, battled Aplastic Anemia since last September. It was a very sad time supporting him and his family through treatment in Quito. Unfortunately Rodrigo Cuyo Vargas passed away in April.

Kudos to Yolanda and Geraldo, our librarians, who keep the Library/Computer Learning Center open for public use! Additional thanks to all who have donated used computers and books, and those who have helped carry down the donations in their luggage. Black Sheep Inn is opening a musical instruments lending library so the local youth can form Andean Folkloric bands.

We have participated in several community meetings helping Chugchilan organize and plan ahead for its growing tourism potential, while retaining it’s cultural charm. We are learning more and more about how rural third world communities grow and progress.

We celebrated ten years of living in Chugchilan Ecuador with a crazy fiesta. We had a great Bar-B-Que, lots of drinks, cigars, live music and fireworks. Neighbors and guests participated in the madness. We also inaugurated our new volleyball court behind Mitad guesthouse. FUN FUN FUN

Musicians and Thief Ecuador Hotel

Sparky Ecuador Hotel Birthday

Ecuador Hotel Volleyball Champs
Dimas the property Tax collector and Singer Andres -
The Human Firebomb ! !
Volleyball behind Mitad Rooms

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VOTING is now over and we WON!  Thank you for your support!

****Please Vote Black Sheep Inn for Sustainable Tourism Awards****

As stated on the voting page: “Sustainable Tourism Awards does not use, sell or transfer to a third party your email address.  The email address is only used to validate the voting process.  At the end of the voting process all email addresses are deleted.  By voting, you will be notified of the winner.”

Your votes count Sustainable Tourism Ecuador Hotel click here.

You can vote DAILY until October 31st.

 Thank you for your support and let us know what you are doing and if you are voting!

Have a great Fall and Winter.  Until the next Equinox in the spring...

Please keep in touch, The Black Sheep

Michelle Kirby & Andres Hammerman
click here for archived newsletters

Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador
tel. (593) 3 - 281-4587
P.O. Box 05-01-240
Chugchilán, Cotopaxi

Return to Black Sheep Inn Homepage


SKY Magazine
Top 10
* May 2009 *

Eco Club Eco Lodge Award
2006 & 2008

Ecotourism Award Skal International

Responsible Tourism Best in Mountain

Smithsonian Magazine Sustainable Tourism Winner

Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Finalist


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Photos by Black Sheep Inn, Ecuador except when noted.
Last updated: September 21st, 2009