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Jama Ecuador - Little-dog Candy barked and barked and barked at the Gringita, to the family's amusement....

Jama Ecuador – Little-dog Candy barked and barked and barked at the Gringita, to the family’s amusement….

 “Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How well do you know your neighbors; your neighborhood?  If you live in a petite town, you probably know them on a personal level.  Hopefully they are ‘good neighbors,’ ones who make you smile, and if they are lucky, your presence makes them smile as well!  Once when visiting a friend in a larger city (in Mississippi) I asked about the next-door neighbors.  He shrugged and said he didn’t know them.  In disbelief I made some general exclamation but kept my stonger reaction in check.  Just because a neighbor doesn’t extend the first token gesture — doesn’t mean that you cannot!

After meeting this gentleman, I was invited to the back of the house, where water was stored in a bucket, they cooked on an old tree stump yet had dignity and strong spirit. he showed me a snake skin, and we discussed a little snake that they call a 'bejuco' becuase it looks like a litte vine..

After meeting this gentleman, I was invited to the back of the house, where water was stored in a bucket;  they cooked on an old tree stump Even though the earthquake stripped them of their belongings, it did not rob them of their dignity and strong spirit.  He showed me this snake skin, and we discussed a little snake locally called, ‘.___-bejuco’ becuase it looks like a litte bejuco/vine.

Challenging neighbors have sometimes dotted my past, but I eventually realized they had extreme personal burdens or wounds, which had nothing to do with me.  By being neutral, many times I witnessed the softer side emerge.   We as humans often don’t take time to consider how uncomfortable the other person’s shoes might be.

After visiting the family with the dog, and the family that cooked on the tree stump, I saw this person across the street. With a pinch of guilt, I 'only' waved, but plan to go visit this person soon.

After visiting the family with the dog, and the family that cooked on the tree stump, I saw this person across the street. With a pinch of guilt, I ‘only’ waved, but plan to go visit this person soon.

There are many people still in recovery mode on Ecuador’s earthquake-ravaged coastline.   I’ve had time to walk slowly through neighborhoods and talk with friends, talk with strangers, and to marvel (and laugh) at children’s natural gift of inner joy.  I realized that in good times we often don’t stop to exchange greetings with strangers, and in bad times, we’re so busy trying to survive, that we also forget that others are doing the same.  In good times or in bad, we sometimes forget to take time to listen – truly listen…

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A four-generation family lives (thrives?) in five ‘basic’ structures  at the end of a street near the river in Jama Ecuador.   You’ll soon meet them, but here’s a preview via the next six images.

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You can barely see her father's face in the window in the background.

You can barely see her father’s face peering from the window in the background.

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Unhibited joy! This was a very unexpected and impromptu photo; it made me smile, and I hope it gives you one as well!

From the vantage point of one vacant corner, ghosts of demolished houses still stand strong.

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From 2012 – This was a classic two-story home.

2013 - Across the street from that classic house were others of character...

2013 – Across the street from that classic house were others of character…

The greatly-altered views paint contrasting emotions on my soul.

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Standing on the empty lot and looking across the street….

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Same empty-lot, different view…

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One lot behind that same spot are two petite structures. Isabel stares from the window of her little casita made from salvaged boards. You will meet Isabel in a future post.

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… The ironic twist to this post is that it started as a post about our neighbors the birds!  The Backyard Bird Count is this next weekend (as is Ecuador’s Presidential Election!)…  Consider getting to know your feathered neighbors a bit more – hey, by inviting your own neighbors to help count the birds!

Young Jesus enjoys helping others ... someone like Jesus would be a perfect one to ask to help count the birds!

Young Jesus enjoys helping others … someone like Jesus would be a perfect one to ask to help count the birds!

*** This post was not ready to publish, and while editing a photo, the cursor leaped out of the frame and vanished, the computer sort of froze, and then it said, ‘Your post has been published.’  I suppose it wanted these stories to be shared sooner and not later!

"We will never lose hope."

“We have lost our house, but we will never lose hope.”

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Don’t forget the GBBC this weekend!

The Great Backyard Bird Count.

L

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