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“The House of Baskets”

“If we know exactly where we’re going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we’ll see along the way, we won’t learn anything. ”
― M. Scott Peck

(La Concordia Ecuador)- Several years ago while riding a bus from the cloud forest of Mindo to the Pacific coast, I spotted a simple tin-roofed home with a variety of baskets displayed out front. The sight intrigued me, and I watched with wistful eyes each time I zoomed past in transit.

This past week as Barbara and I drove from Mindo to the coast, I watched for the “House of Baskets” as we reached the ‘rotunda’ at La Concordia. We parked just past the house and crossed a primitive footbridge that delivered us to the yard. Two smiling women immediately greeted us, and Barbara and I stepped into a beautiful cultural exchange.

Never sure if I’d be targeted as a tourist willing to pay twice the normal price, I bashfully asked, “Quanto cuesta?” and pointed to one of the larger baskets to define a starting point.

Nice happy baskets with memories firmly attached1

Nice happy baskets with memories firmly attached1

“15 dollars,”
the older lady replied.  The mother-daughter team of Mercedes and Silvia quickly captured our hearts, basket by basket!

Mercedes and Silvia

Mercedes and Silvia

Wow.  We continued admiring and asking the price of different woven items as the two beautiful ladies patiently answered our questions.   With a 20-dollar budget, I selected a growing assortment of woven items, paid with the ‘twenty’  and received five dollars in change!

Lovely Silvia

Lovely Silvia

Before we left, I asked permission to take their photos, which led to more bonding moments while I took their photos and they took ours!

“Wait,” Mercedes inserted one final request before we left, “Come see our museum…”  She motioned for us to step behind the counter.

“Museum?”  I looked at Barb and said, “Wait Barbara!  They want to show us something,” and we followed Mercedes behind the counter, through a curtained doorway that parted down the middle.

We stepped into a modest bedroom adorned with woven frames and enough baskets of all sizes to justify a new Dr. Suess story.!

“There were big baskets, small baskets, tiny baskets and more.  

Brown baskets, yellow baskets, enough for a store!”

(Lisa B.)

We admired many of the woven family heirlooms before Mercedes reached for two petite baskets and presented them to us as parting gifts.    We arrived with our hands empty and left with our hands – and hearts – full!

Nice happy baskets with memories firmly attached1

Nice happy baskets with memories firmly attached1

For another heart-warming post about why ‘we’ transplants love Ecuador, visit John and Mary McDonald’s post, WHY ECUADOR IS HOME.

Have a good early weekend everyone!   Lisa (and Barb!)

(Ahem, this IS Timeout for Art, so here's my submission for the week!)

(Ahem, this IS Timeout for Art, so here’s my submission for the week!)