The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance. – Jodi Picoult
Jama Ecuador – Every so often, void of pomp and circumstance, a large truck backs onto the eastern end of a small vacant block and unloads organized piles of boards, bamboo and roofing materials. The truck then drives away.
In December I witnessed this for the first time and noticed random clusters of people loading the materials into smaller trucks. One of the people watching over this process was one of Chana’s sons. I approached him, gave my condolences regarding his mother’s death (See Angels Watching over Us) and asked about the mystery event. He told me that a church from another area was the benefactor of these ‘kit houses’ – donated to those in the campo/country who were receiving no help. Feeling a bit like an intruder, I refrained from sticking my camera into the lives of strangers. With patience, I hoped to learn more when a more-appropriate time presented itself.
We are stronger than we think. We have emotional, spiritual and even physical resources at our disposal. We may get knocked down, but we don’t have to stay down.” – Steve Goodier
This month, my first time back since the December visit, I was again walking past when a truck unloaded another cluster of kit houses. I felt stronger, more ‘entitled’ to learn more in order to share this story with a larger audience. I took a few photos from the far side of the block then cautiously approached from a corner tangent.
“Leeee-SAH!” someone called from a mototaxi that was parked near one of the stacks of supplies. I waved, aimed my camera in that direction and wondered who was greeting me with obvious affection… I looked at the lady standing near a stack and thought, “I’ve never seen this lady before..” I smiled, asked her name, permission to take her photo and closed the gap between the taxi and me.
“Leeeee-SAH!” exclaimed a second person, one with an armload of boards. He stretched one of his long spindly arms with a heartfelt greeting. Ah.. the puzzle pieces were falling in place. His brother and father and I have many ties through various people. I think that the brother Carlos was in the room long ago when a mouse ran in my direction, and I screamed and flat jumped high onto a chair! They later commented, ‘You screamed like a girl.”
After a heart-warming reunion with the cluster of happy people, I was invited to go to the site where the house would be built. Yes, Giddyup! Let’s finish loading this truck and roll forward!
With several things to do that day, I promised to stop by in a few hours… With anticipation of seeing the progress, I approached the entrance to their property.
Oh my… what a tender moment; this dear precious man greeted me with an unguarded smile. His sparkling eyes possessed an even-greater smile.
Resiliant – an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change – Mirriam Webster
Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going. – Yasmin Mogahed
After spending a little time with Abuelito/Grandfather, we resumed our journey to the building site.
We admired the work in progress, walked to the nearby river, discussed erosion and of course the night of the earthquake.
I first thought she was serving food or drink, but nails filled one container!
Preparing to leave, I asked permission to return the next day to check their progress.
“Si,” they smiled then added, “The house will be finished tomorrow.”
Their prediction shocked me, and though I had plans to watch a shrimp harvest that next morning, I definitely wanted to check their progress when the harvest was finished.