As I am walking to work in the morning, I am mesmerized by the dominant view of wispy clouds floating past the beautiful visage of the Imbabura volcano. One week has passed since I have moved-in to La Calera, an indigenous community near the market town of Otavalo. It’s an interesting and important change from Quito. Life is definitely different here, and yet just like home, too.
The community is poor and doesn’t have many resources, so I’ve been learning to make adjustments to a simpler lifestyle. This involves: hand washing clothes in the outdoors on a stone sink, having some days with no functioning shower, sink, and toilet, and eating less food than I’m used to. This experience is something I’m starting to adjust to and am enjoying it because I am gaining a whole new perspective on life. Living here has made me thankful and appreciative of the opportunities and things I have back home. It makes me remember how often I took them for granted, and didn’t appreciate their true value and how hard others worked to make them available to me.
Overall, this transition has been smooth, thanks to my warm and affectionate host family. Even though they are busy people, they take time to chat with me and help me practice Spanish. After dinner, my host mom sets a pot of tea for the family and we’ll sit and chat about our day and how things are going at our jobs. The care and concern they have for each other, and all the happy and funny moments they have together seem like all happy families around the world. In that, they are indeed rich, and I am grateful and reflective that they are willing to share this treasure with me. Oh, and guinea pigs, too. But, I’ll tell you more about that in my next entry.