Working Lives Ecuador

Working Lives Ecuador: Missionary

You could definitely say 71 year old Father Pio Baschirotto is special.

The Salesian priest from Italy runs the mission in the small village of Zumbahua, a four hour drive from Quito. He arrived here in 1973 and has never left.

Ecuador Direct graphic

With no private income, Pio Baschirotto lives simply at the mission. His life's work is to improve conditions for the local Kichwa indigenous people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.

He says he has learned more from them than he has imparted. His greatest lesson?

"The value of solidarity, of giving a hand," he says. "When a hut burns down, everybody goes and helps to build it again."

Examples of the changes Father Pio's initiatives have made are dotted around town. One is a craft school where local teenagers learn to make furniture.

He also counts Ecuador's leader as a friend. The two men met after President Rafael Correa spent a year in the area as a youth volunteer.

It had such a profound effect on the young economics student that this remote Andean town is often referred to as the birthplace of President Rafael Correa's 'Citizen's Revolution'.

So what does Father Pio think of the job President Correa is doing, especially for indigenous people?

"I've been in Ecuador for 41 years, I have seen many governments but none of them has cared so much for the poor," he says.

More Latin America & Caribbean stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Where in the worldWhere in the world?

    Think you’re a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s Geoguessr


  • Crashed droneClick Watch

    Drone maker introduces no-fly zones in the US, plus other technology news

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.