Cuenca, a city in the middle of the Ecuadorean Andes, is a place with a complex history that now embodies this past with very specific local aesthetic, political, cultural and social presences. As Fikile Nxumalo (2016) reminds us, place is not a physical backdrop to human activity; rather it is an active “‘gathering’ of human and more-than-human bodies and stories that require attention beyond the individual child’s experiences” (p. 644). In this way, we view Cuenca as a place that is not only composed of pure or ‘natural’ elements, nor is it made of a collection of paralleling, self-contained parts. Cuenca is porous, leaky and fundamentally contingent upon what Anna Tsing (2015) calls ‘contaminated diversity’, whereby cross-boundary pollution, both materially and discursively, transforms this place in new, often uneasy directions.