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Joanna Bender lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, with her partner Stacey Jaudon. Her professional background is in communications and leadership development; she currently enjoys working as a freelance editor, writer, and marketing consultant.

CuencaHighLife launches Expat Journalism Fund to expand news coverage

By Joanna Bender |

By Joanna Bender CuencaHighLife is expanding its editorial coverage and is launching a community journalism fund to support the effort. “Readers have been asking for more in-depth news and people features and the Cuenca Expat  … Read more

Common Ground restaurant seeks help after robbery

By Joanna Bender |

On early Sunday morning December 18, the popular local eatery and expat hangout Common Ground was robbed. Video footage from the apartment building behind the restaurant shows four men leaving with the stolen items, including  … Read more

Ecuador’s best coffee comes to life at Moliendo Aroma Café on Paucarbamba

By Joanna Bender |

By Joanna Bender Ecuador is known for producing fine coffee, and yet most of that good coffee is exported to the United States and Europe. Locals often have to be satisfied with a basic coffee  … Read more

The evolution of a dream: Popacuchu Café grows into Popacuchu Tours (part 2)

By Joanna Bender |

By Joanna Bender When Pete Breckinridge and Michelle Bakeman, the husband/wife team behind the popular Popacuchu Café, closed and sold their thriving business recently, locals mourned the passing of the café. This 2-part series looks  … Read more

The evolution of a dream: Popacuchu Café grows into Popacuchu Tours (part 1)

By Joanna Bender |

By Joanna Bender When Pete Breckinridge and Michelle Bakeman, the husband and wife team behind the popular Popacuchu Café, closed and sold their thriving business recently, locals mourned its passing, especially Michelle’s one-of-a-kind desserts. The  … Read more

In Cuenca visit, U.S. Ambassador reflects on his first eight months in Ecuador

By Joanna Bender |

By Joanna Bender U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Todd Chapman is in Cuenca this week to meet with local officials and expats. It was his second visit to the city, and, on Monday afternoon, he sat  … Read more

Adding meaning to the moment: The Jazz Society of Ecuador

By Joanna Bender |

For New York pianist Jim Gala, playing jazz music is all about adding something meaningful to the moment when music is being created. And it’s not something you do by yourself. “You’re a thread in  … Read more