From the Equator on the Equinox – March 2004

For all of you in the northern hemisphere, your days will be getting longer and warmer.

Happy Spring!  The Equinox was actually a day earlier because of the LEAP Year. For all of you in the northern hemisphere, your days will be getting longer and warmer. For us here on the Equator, our days will be getting well about the same, always 12 hours long, with an eternal spring. Although, it has been unseasonably dry this winter in the Ecuadorian Central Sierra, we are hoping for rain before we hit the typically dry and windy summer season.

Ecuador´s biodiversity is the most concentrated in the world. It is one of the 17 countries with the highest biodiversity. Ecotourism is growing worldwide by 10-30% yearly! Let´s hope that this represents a true interest in conservation and sustainable ecology. Keep your eyes on Ecuador, the Miss Universe Pageant will be held in Quito on June 1st, 2004.


Laguna Quilotoa to Chugchilán
Good News: it´s easier than ever to find your way on Ecuador´s best day hike.  The trail from Laguna Quilotoa to Chugchilán is now marked!   There are over 30 signs indicating the trail for this world famous hike.  We continue to promote safety in this area by training guides, and posting hiking information at Laguna Quilotoa.  Thanks to the Mision de la Seguridad and the Black Sheep Inn, as well as the other hostals and Humberto (the horseback guide) in Chugchilán.



Community Work
The Chugchilán library/learning center (est. July 2003 by BSI) is improving every month.  It has a brand new tile floor, new electrical installations, a few hundred new Spanish language books, two new computers and two printers.  The Italian Missionaries from Chinal´ donated custom-built furniture.  BSI sponsored a weekend workshop with Andrew Woodman and students from the British School in Quito.  Three high school students from Quito helped configure the computers and teach local students in Chugchilán computer skills.  Thank you Woody, Andres, Burt, and Daniel, as well as Steve, Joe and Angelique.  Also thank you to Yolanda and Heraldo, our local librarians.

Again with the help of US Peace Corp volunteers, especially Laura Schreeg, Black Sheep Inn sponsored two workshops on family planning, a knitting workshop and a first aid workshop.  Thank you Laura, Nici, Laura, Melissa, Aurora and Juana, Celia and Sean.


We finally got the Xerox copy machine in the school repaired.  We donated 4 soccer balls and 3 basketballs for the elementary school, as well as a Public Address amplifier system to Escuela Rodeo (half way up to the Cheese Factory) and soccer uniforms for a children´s team.



The Great Wall and the Blue Lantern
We are currently building the great wall of Black Sheep Inn.  This 150-foot terraced rock retaining wall is complete with traditional Incan steps.  The wall, located behind the lodge, will also support the foundation for a new laundry area and a possible new building site.  The laundry area will utilize collected rain water, provide a frame for solar panels, as well as reuse gray water more efficiently because of it´s strategically higher location.  And besides all that, the Great Wall looks 'Great'!  It really gives the whole area a more finished look and feel.


The Blue Lantern (full baaar) is now open.  We added a glass door to our liquor cabinet, mirrors behind the bottles and a blue light... sales have skyrocketed!

Other home improvements include a skylight in the cabana so it´s now possible to see the stars at night, and it´s much brighter during the day.  Main gardens have been fenced to keep the pesky chickens from eating our seedlings and production is once again going well.  We have hired Miguel to work 3 days a week between the garden, native tree nursery and training the llamas by carrying firewood to all the guest rooms.


Working at the BSI
Thank you to volunteers Peter, Liz and Suzanne for helping through the last part of 2003.  We are happy to welcome our new managers, Gail Arendell, from North Carolina, and Iain Duncan, from Ontario in April.  They will run BSI while we celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary in May/June.  Our anniversary plans include a 6-week trip to Europe to visit friends in Switzerland, Greece and Croatia.   Ahhhhhhh


Family Visits
Michelle´s brother and family visited for the first time this past winter.  On their third day in Ecuador, Sam, our 8-year-old nephew, broke his collarbone while stumbling down a hill during a photo break´ before even arriving at the BSI!  Thank you very much to Hospital Zumbahua for x-raying and setting the bone.  Two days later the entire family, including Sam, got into a huge water and foam fight in the village during Carnival. One Sunday afternoon it turned into a full out war in the plaza of Chugchilán.  Andy´s Uncle Mark and family arrived the same day as his mom, Evie.  She is visiting for the 8th time.  It´s always great to have her around as she can really see the progress.  Her first visit was in 1996.  Mark was also impressed with all the innovative buildings and architecture.

Yearning to visit the Black Sheep Inn again?  How about a virtual visit? There are a few new features on our website� you can now read about the Black Sheep Inn in Spanish, German, French, Portuguese and Dutch!  Thanks to everyone who helped with the translations.  We have a new page that links to all the publicity that Black Sheep Inn has received over the years, check out:

As always, a big thank you to our staff.  2003 was the best year in BSI history, and without the dedication and amistad of our workers, we could have never gotten this far.

If anyone is interested in donating used computers, printers, Spanish language books, medical equipment or medical supplies, please contact us at: info(at)

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


Michelle Kirby & Andres Hammerman

Black Sheep Drop Ins - Newsletters

Newsletter April 2003

The Black Sheep Inn is honored to have appeared in the March 2003 issue of Outside Magazine as one of the Top 10 Ecolodges in the World.

From the Equator at the Equinox- Sept 22, 2003

On August 7th the Black Sheep Inn received Eco-Certification from Ministry of Tourism

From the Equator on the Equinox – March 2004

For all of you in the northern hemisphere, your days will be getting longer and warmer.