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“…you should never have to watch your only children lowered in the ground — I mean you should never have to bury your own babies…” –  (From the song Gravedigger ) –  Dave Matthews Band

Jama Ecuador –  Recently many people opened their doors and hearts and invited me into their private sanctuaries; they shared stories of the night of the earthquake and the days that followed.  One person, Marcos Cevallos Mendoza, seemed more affected than most, and I was eager to find him again and listen to what he had to share.   One person pointed me to one corner;  another said, ‘No, I saw him about ten minutes ago near the new market. ‘

The buildings are gone, but spirit remains....

Almost sunset – the buildings are gone, but spirit remains….

As I stopped at random places to ask for Marcos, heart-wrenching stories added more frayed threads to this town’s patchwork tapestry.  Some suggested that I check the cemetery, which offered an instant solace from the reconstruction chaos in the center of town.

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Just to the right of the entrance.. Seven people who shared the same day of death: April 16, 2016

Just to the right of the entrance, seven people share the same day of death: April 16, 2016.  Four of those were Marcos’ wife and three of their four children.

Marcos was not there, but I was able to visit with a few friends who share this final resting place.   While I meandered in search of Chana and Rosa, this song by Dave Matthews played countless times through my head…

Jama Ecuador Cemetery Entrance

Jama Ecuador Cemetery Entrance

GRAVEDIGGER
Cyrus Jones 1810 to 1913
Made his great grandchildren believe
You could live to a hundred and three
A hundred and three is forever when you’re just a little kid
So Cyrus Jones lived forever

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Gravedigger
When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Gravedigger

April 16, 2016

3 little unmarked graves…

Muriel Stonewall  1903 to 1954
She lost both of her babies in the second great war
Now you should never have to watch
Your only children lowered in the ground
I mean you should never have to bury your own babies

April 16, 2016 - 7 years old

April 16, 2016 – 7 years old

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Gravedigger
When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

…………………………………………………………………………………

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Cemeteries provide comfort, even when the permanent residents are strangers.

(Below:  Rosa was waiting for visitors on a sweet hillside surrounded by roses, lovingly planted by her grandson.  The next day I was reunited with Chana… )

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The spirits of Chana and Rosa surely watch over their beloved town where many people still live in tents or make-shift housing.

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As I prepared to leave, two spirit animals escorted me out of the cemetery.  Fitting from perch to perch, their curious presence gave me comfort… perhaps they were mystical connections to my friends?

Chanita and Rosita, the new guardians of the cemetery.

Meet Chanita and Rosita, the new guardians of the cemetery.

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