Wonder and Adventure

Our First Month in Ecuador

It has been a relaxing and life adjusting time for LaRena and me.  As most of you know I have had the opportunity to travel throughout most of the world.  I’ve been on every continent except for Antarctica.  On most of the trips we took world wind tours in between meetings, conferences and training sessions.  This time is different.

 

We arrived in Ecuador a month ago.  We settled into a nice casita and recently moved to a new one this past week where we will be for about a year.  Instead of the world wind tours, we have gone on small excursions near the town of Cotacachi.  I spend a lot of time going to the local market where we get fresh fruits and vegetables and to the local butcher(a real butcher with hanging carcasses, the occasional cows head and lots of pigs feet).  The vegetables are grown by the local Kechwa people on the mountainside of the Cotacachi Volcano.  Some vegetables are grown in local green houses and some come from the coast of Ecuador like the pineapples, which are soooo good.

 

Life here is a blending of the third world and ultra modernity.  The transportation system is far, far superior to that of the U.S.  The bus system is anchored by luxury bus coaches, the kind gamblers use to go lose their money to gambling centers in the U.S.  There are no smelly, vomit slippery floors on buses here.  The cost is ridiculously low.  45 cents to Ibarra, which is 20 miles away and $2 to the capital, Quito, which is two and a half hours away.  Intercity taxi rides are one US dollar.  I can hire a private driver for about $45 for the entire day.

 

There are what seem to be third world events happening all around us.  The economy and industry is mainly small private agricultural farms in this part of Ecuador.  I can hear roosters crowing all day and night and the lowing of cattle is ubiquitous.  Poverty here is relative.  This may gross some readers out, but I saw and old, old lady defecating in the streets early one morning.  At first I thought, well I’m in a third world country.  Then I remembered all those mornings I walked up the steps from the parking lot in Cincinnati only to be met with defecation on the steps left by the homeless people who lived along the banks of the Ohio, River.

 

Nearly everyone who knows I am here has warned me to be safe.  Implying I am in a dangerous place.  The well intended friends are probably concerned with drug cartels and violence.  Yet when I read on the internet of all the slayings of prosecutors and law enforcement personnel in the U.S. I am reminded of the lyrics from the old Lennon and Jackson song, Ebony and Ivory, “people are the same where ever you go.”  So please put your minds at ease, there are no drug cartels in Ecuador to speak of and little violent crime.

 

The natural beauty is incomparable and we have only seen a small corner of this wondrous country.  The people are exceedingly nice; even the “gringos” that have invaded this area are pleasant.  Everyday we discover some new aspect of life here, which validates our slow pace and leisurely attitude towards visiting all of the sites.  There are places we are anxious to see, but we have found savoring each moment to be far superior to hopping quickly from site to site.  For example, as the clouds cleared today from around the Imbabura Volcano, I could see snow covered peaks in the distance that took my breath away.  This on a bus ride to town of Ibarra to pick up groceries for the next two weeks.  Sure, I could have taken a tour bus out to see such sights, but discovering while simply living each moment is far more fulfilling.

 

So we are settling into life here in what can only be described as a routineless routine and loving every minute of it.  The flowers and the hummingbirds; the song sparrows and kestrels; the farm animals, the native Kechwa people; the gringos and Mestizas all combine to produce a wonderful diversity so representative of the wonders of God’s creation.  I love it!

 

Dr. DImage

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