Cotundo – My Gateway to Change

Meliza Windmoeller - Ecuador

November 14, 2012

This is the poem I wrote as my “self documentation” when we stayed in our communities for one week last month to “get our feet wet.”


Anxiety and loneliness are prominent

Will the confusion ever end?

The experience of a new culture

In the heart of the Amazon.

I focus on the horizon

As curious Moreno stares wash over me

Simply a gringa

In a Latina body.


Blending in is not a chore

But nor is it a complete blessing.

Patient but somewhat mocking smiles

Follow me throughout the day.

Only one of the frustrations –

Of my new life

That I’m not accustomed to

Never once ceases.


Waterfalls of rapid Spanish words

Fall around my eager ears

Flowing through my struggling brain.

The feelings of uselessness

Everyday watching the doctors

Interact with patients

How can I help?

But I’m afraid.

Afraid of the language barrier

Afraid of the expectations

Will I be successful?

Or will I simply fall?


But I can’t let that happen.

So many questions intruding

On not only my want,

But my need for mindfulness.

The steady warm rain

Muggy but strangely refreshing air

Have a calming effect.


I have faith

Over the remaining 6 months

The jungle and I will find peace.

Not only tranquility of the physical forest

But also with the ‘selva’ inside of me.


Cotundo, Ecuador –

The gateway

To a world of change.

Meliza Windmoeller