The Value of Time

Hannah Bouline - Ecuador


April 14, 2013

Time is a very plastic thing – it is swollen and rich at times, and flaccid and bland at others. As my days in Ecuador become fewer and fewer, I have been thinking about time quite a bit, unfurling it like a fern. I look back through my journey this year, and time seems to be compressed. I jumped from August to April in the blink of an eye. Then I picture a moment spent laughing with artisans or family, and this frozen moment becomes the most sensuous and subtle and natural thing in the world.

My new obsession with time is guiding me through my numbered days in Ecuador, as well as my final project with Global Citizen Year and The Andean Collection. The value of time is often underrated. I know this from looking back on many specific moments from this year, and how their unique significance and beauty can quickly compress into a ball of “Where did all the time go?” With this value in mind and heart, I have been working with Sally, the design coordinator for Andean Collection, to assure that assistant artisans are being paid a fair wage for the time they put into specific pieces. By finding more exact times and comparing them to “salario digno” or Ecuadorian minimum wages, I hope to help The Andean Collection and the assistant artisans see the value of time.

Essentially all time represents is that something has changed. There was nothing on the table, and now there is a necklace made of tagua. I had no idea what I was doing in Ecuador, and now the thought of leaving makes me wince. Time passes in between, and what was before is related to what is now. I reflect and see all that I was and all that I now am, and I know time has passed. As I think about my first steps in Ecuador, the compressed version of my memories almost frightens me. I can barely see people and places as they wiz through my head. My stomach drops, and I worry that it is all fading away as quickly as it passed. But then, I recall a true gem, a singular, clear moment, and time is vividly frozen. I can see, hear, even smell this one memory, and it gives me peace. I cannot express how immense the value of these frozen moments in time is, and there are still more to come.

Hannah Bouline