Testimonial of Rosana Sisalima, of San Carlos
Our house is located between a toxic waste pit and an oil spill. There are 3 [Texaco] oil wells nearby. A big oil spill had just occurred when we moved here. The oil company burned the oil and there was smoke everywhere. The former owner of this farm died of stomach cancer three years after he sold it to us.
I’ve lived here for 22 years. I came with my husband and 10 children from Loja. We bought this farm is surrounded by two open waste pits. So many animals fell in; chickens, dogs, watusas, rabbits. We pulled them out and cleaned them, but they were covered with sludge, and died anyway.
We pled with the oil company to clean up the pits, and they finally showed up only to cover the pits with dirt. But in heavy rainstorms, the pits overflow and waste runs into the streams, contaminating them.
We bathed in the river and got our drinking water there too. We pushed the crude aside and dipped in our buckets, and we ate fish from that river. We never realized the river was contaminated.
I was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1988. I went to Solca [the cancer hospital] and stayed there two months while they burned off the cancer until the doctor told me I was better.
My husband died of stomach cancer. He grew coffee, and worked almost until the day he died. One day he stopped eating. We went to the doctors and they operated but he had a malignant tumor and the cancer had already spread throughout his body. He was 64, so young.
I had a hysterectomy, then in 2004, gallbladder surgery. I had stomachaches, vomiting and diarrhea for over a years. I’ve been seriously ill.
My children have helped with the medical costs. We sold our cattle, and we had to sell half our farm, but I still don’t know how we’ll pay the rest.
Rosana was interviewed in 2004. She died of uterine cancer in 2006.