Portoviejo/Manabi Province/Ecuador – Thanks to the magic of scheduling a post to be published at a specified date and time, this should reach you when the inauguration of Nomadas en Ecuador begins. What follows is my ‘Artist’s Statement’ written specifically for this event. Enjoy! Continue reading
“Good Morning,” I’d say, as I plunked down mugs of hot coffee in front of my regulars as soon as they came in the door. I knew the exceptions that wanted decaf or tea, instead. I knew who might order a little breakfast, after a couple cups of coffee. I knew who needed to get to work quickly, and who would sit for an hour or more. They were friends, sort of, though we only met over morning coffee, and mine was a position of servitude. They felt like family, all of us still groggy from sleep, making conversation in the early morning hours. – (Cindy Ricksgers)
Cindy Ricksgers’ ‘Good Morning’ post reminds us how two simple words have the power to brighten another’s day. The rest of Cindy’s ‘Good Morning’ post is HERE.
“Some days I wake up grumpy; other mornings I let him sleep.” (From a cocktail napkin)
When I lived in Costa Rica, the howler monkeys often slept in the canopy over the roof of my studio/casita. Some mornings they awakened quietly, and other mornings they began with pre-dawn guttural sounds that slowly increased into grumpy roars. On those ‘grumpy’ mornings I would go outside, gape up at them and smile as I replied in my heart-felt “Good Morning! BuenOs dias – Umph-umph-umph-umph!”
My attempts to mock their passive ‘we’re happy and content’ sounds seemed to pacify them. After five or so minutes of quiet time in their presence, I began my day and they began theirs! Like any living being, they just wanted to be acknowledged!
“…Smiling is infectious, You catch it like the flu. When someone smiled at me today I started smiling too. I passed around the corner And someone saw my grin. When he smiled I realised I’d passed it on to him. I thought about that smile Then I realised its worth… ” Enjoy Pommepal’s artful pairing of images to that poem! – Living in Paradise
My friend Francisca smiles when I walk into her tienda and state, “Good Morning -BuenOs dias!” and she repeats, “Gud morning!” It’s a ritual that gives us all a refreshing chuckle, especially when she is the one that laughs the most. Ah! The power of a smile!
Participants in this week’s WordPress theme helped wrap smiles around the world.
My friends remain in a holding pattern while taking shifts at the hospital. Even though the patient’s condition is still listed as critical, the doctors say that he is very strong and has an amazing will to live. The family is finding moments to smile, and at times they laugh. They send heart-felt thanks to many of you who are sending strong energy and prayers in their direction. Thanks, also, for your comments, which I’ve passed along while stating the many countries you represent.
A few days ago after a leisurely ‘Birding Walk,’ I noticed several citrus trees that were loaded with small mandarin oranges. I asked my neighbors why no one was picking them.
“They’re too sour,” Melissa said with a dramatic twist of her face; “Nobody likes them.”
“Seriously?” I marveled, “May I go pick some? I also would like to get a higher view of the trees where I saw a mystery bird.
The mystery bird was absent, but the Peruvian Pygmy Owl watched from overhead.
The cafe, cacao and citrus area offers a great view of the houses below. Moringa grows up here, as well as down near the house!
There were several ‘mandarina’ trees with the tiny little oranges. I sampled one, which was almost like eating an extra sour Lifesaver’s mandarin candy!
“Going back in time at least as far as Plato there have been those who insisted that poets, and artists generally, are mad as hatters. Plato thought they were “inspired” and the Platonic dialogues are full of exchanges between Socrates and assorted poets and artists who are unable to explain to Socrates what exactly it is they do and what it is they claim to know. “ – Hugh Curtler
Well, you see, or maybe you don’t, because I cannot really articulate exactly what it is that I do or do not do – it’s more like asking why a cat suddenly tweaks its attention to an unseen entity two feet to its right – as it leaps skyward and moves laterally three feet to its left – it’s a spacial shift of inspiration that strikes when least expected, Continue reading
From Dictionary.com : Amble “verb (used without object), ambled, ambling.
1. to go at a slow, easy pace; stroll; saunter:
He ambled around the town.
2. (of a horse) to go at a slow pace with the legs moving in lateral pairs and usually having a four-beat rhythm.
3.an ambling gait.
4.a slow, easy walk or gentle pace.
“We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air.” — Seneca
In the past three weeks I’ve been from Ecuador to Costa Rica and back via a stopover in Panama to visit my friend Barb. These were quick-but-very rewarding visits that combined ‘business’ with pleasure. Comparing the three countries, I definitely give Costa Rica and Panama the top scores for quality of internet!
Panama wins on shopping opportunities as well as the dramatic skyline contest… Continue reading
“There is nothing to playing the organ. You only have to hit the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” – Johann Sebastian Bach
POR LA ESPERANZA – ‘de un Pueblo que se levanta’
18/08/2017 8:10 pm
Organista: Leisbert Moreno
Portoviejo – Manabi Province, Ecuador – Letty Quadrado, a dear friend from Jama and Portoviejo exclaimed, “Lisa! I live here, but you know more about where I live than I do! How did you know about this concert?”
With a smirk I replied, “A little inside information; the owner of the house I am renting is the person who has been repairing the organ for this concert!
I learned more over the past two days and stopped by the cathedral to meet the young maestro in person. He is not only dedicated to his music, but he has charisma as well!
So what inspired a young man from Portoviejo Ecuador to devote his life to the discipline and training to become an organista? The catalyst happened when he was a teenager; Leisbert’s father Pasqual Moreno played the organ in Portoviejo. When his father was sick and unable to play, Leisbert was the substitute!
The experience propelled him into new directions! Leisbert has been studying for three years in Roma/Rome and has also studied in Germany. He is the only professional ‘organista’ from Ecuador, and will be playing at 8:10 pm on Friday night/tonight in his home city of Portoviejo!
Friday night’s program – with Spanish titles – includes:
Leon Boellmann – “Suite Gothique”
Paul Barras – “Meditation Et. Cortege”
Johann Ludwig Krebs – “Tocata y fuga en la Menor”
Eugene Gigout – “Tocata en si Menor” Continue reading
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” -Paulo Coelho
Manabi Province, Ecuador – Years ago when making the commuter flight from Quito in the Andes to Portoviejo on the Pacific coast, I often studied the landscape below. After marveling at the beauty of Chimborazo poking through the clouds, I wondered about the lower elevations as the plane prepared to land. A large body of water always intrigued me, and I assumed it was ‘never-never land’ – perhaps like the Darien Gap swamp between Panama and Colombia.
“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Several months ago, my friend Xiomara helped rekindled that interest when she mentioned she’d be working upriver from Portoviejo. Deciding to close the chapter of ‘Casa Loca,’ it was time to move forward, and many places held my interest. I had been combing the Province via Google maps in search of a quiet area with a good source of pure water – away from pollution and surrounded by natural forests. I did not want to make a temporary move, and I suspected that patience would be rewarded.
Scouting via Google Maps, I was disenchanted – and shocked – at the continued deforestation. Out of curiosity, I zoomed to the little hamlets where Xio would be working and was delighted to see that large body of water! We coordinated meeting when she traveled to the area, and while she was working, I scouted around, loved the extremely-peaceful vibe, and returned for a second day of exploring the area. The locals pointed me to the ‘Swiss cabanas’ which turned out to be so much more than simple structures! Continue reading
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
“Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.” – Walt Whitman
“Today: Soak in what’s real and what’s real is unhurried. The ground. The air. The exhale. The planted seed. The shift. The season.” – Victoria Erickson
- Manabi Ecuador – “Poco a poco” – little by little, I have been weaning away from Casa Loca. Last year’s earthquake altered the lives of many, and my choices and opportunities have been more abundant than many of the locals’ options. With no sense of urgency, I allowed my own internal GPS system to guide me to a new place to call home.
About a month ago, after first scouting an area via Google Maps, I drove along various country roads, exploring with an artist’s curiosity. Great impromptu moments greeted me at each stop, and though I cherished the moments, I knew there was a jewel of a place waiting to be discovered.
Yes, I am in the process of moving, poco a poco, and I will spend most of this week moving the more difficult-to-transport items. I will not be online often, but will be writing offline to share more information about the new area I will call “Home.” I look forward to sharing the stories!
Enjoy the random images taken in the past month. I should be back online tonight. Continue reading
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.” -J. Krishnamurti
Quito Ecuador – This past week Miguel, owner of Hotel Andino, sent an email to warn me to expect ‘something different’ for my one-night stay. When I arrived, Miguel explained that they were full with an out-of-town group of business people, but there was one option. He seemed hesitant, and I said that I loved surprises –“… Show me the space!”
We went into the main part of the house, and I wondered where in the world an extra room could be, and then we stepped toward a petite door located beneath the staircase. Like a child, I grinned and waited for Miguel to open the door. Continue reading
Remember those Q-tip arrowheads from last week? They are much more believable this week! Comparing the images, you can probably spot many subtle changes.
Ecuador — “I have a confession to make,” I said to my friends, “I did not give that little doll to a child in Jama. I kept it.”
My two friends looked at me and waited for the rest of the story.
“It represents the challenges we’ve faced over the years, especially the most-recent one. It will always connect me back to that day.”
“That day” started when I took the 7-hour bus to Quito to meet three friends. One would be leaving the country – hopefully with one of her precious little dogs if all of the hurdles could be cleared at the airport. Continue reading
“…Sweepin’ the floors, open up the doors
Yeah – turn on the lights, getting ready for the night …” – Rodeo Clowns by Jack Johnson
Jama Ecuador – Grand re-opening of Kahlua Discoteque – July 15, 2017
Heartwarming; it was absolutely heartwarming to witness so many people helping Fernando Cevallos Sabando prepare for the grand opening of Kahlua K 7.8. Equally heartwarming was seeing those same workers dashing home to clean up, change into evening attire and return to celebrate the many months of hard work. Everyone hoped that the community would be equally thrilled to stop by and show off their dancing skills!
Fernando asked if I would take some photos to help record this happy event; hopefully the following pictorial will transport you to Kahlua via the magic of cyberspace. Pick up a paintbrush or help carry the heavy items upstairs, and your cover charge is free! Pack your work clothes and your party clothes and prepare for a festive evening!
Don’t be bashful; step inside and join us! It’s ladies’ night – no cover for you gals who like to dance! Continue reading
“Haven’t seen people reading newspapers like they used to,” Amy stated in a recent post. – The World is a Book
The above image was taken the week before she published two photos of people reading in public areas. The comment thread supports that reading ‘hard copy’ is a vanishing art.
In contrast, here’s an image from last night’s San Pedro-San Pablo event on the Pacific Coast.
Cayambe Ecuador – From one side of the country to the other and halfway back again, I’ve been in transit a lot and online a little. On June 21, I reached Cayambe Ecuador after dark and decided to stay in the city instead of my normal stopover at Hacienda Guachala.
This alignment of choices placed me square in the middle of a June Solstice event, where the locals still honor Pachamama, known to others as our dear Mother Earth.
This event is part of a month-long celebration called the Fiestas de San Pedro* y del Sol, which bridges the Catholic religion with the ancient Indigenous customs. – *This year’s festivities will continue until July 8, but the San Pedro customs are observed throughout the country, sometimes for several more months. On June 28, I will be attending Jama’s on the coast.
The night manager of Hostal Cayambe told me of a ‘children’s parade’ that would start at nine in the morning. Her description was quite modest, and the extremely-colorful parade lasted several hours! Continue reading
Jama Ecuador – Each week oversees the repair or slow destruction of earthquake-damaged buildings in the area. A few buildings worthy of saving now have stronger spines and will preside over the newbies. Some city blocks are almost empty, and one adjusts to seeing open skies where two-story buildings once stood. Some might see an empty lot, but many ‘ghost buildings’ still reside in the memories of many.
The old park in the center of town was razed, and a new ‘historic’ one will replace it. Less than two blocks away, a second much-larger park will have areas for strolling, sitting, exercise, skateboards, as well as providing public bathrooms and a little sandwich shop. Progress throughout town is slow, and the incoming and outgoing streets serve as dump sites for construction materials like gravel or sand or are littered with debris waiting to be hauled to a landfill.
One friend pointed to a well-built two-story house that appeared to have few structural problems. “See that little house in the back?” She pointed and then added, “They live there because they are too scared to live in the big house.” Continue reading
Ecuador – A search for lupine images took me back to a post, Twenty-One Wishes, which I wrote last year while helping friends in Mindo’s cloud forest. The title referred to the 21 shooting stars that blessed my pre-dawn hours in August. Seeing the post allowed me to reflect on images – from the handsome Black-Striped Sparrow to the lupines near Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak and to the memorial for my dear friend Marta. I also noted the comments, which were unanswered but greatly appreciated during that time.
Thanks to all of you who faithfully followed those stories during that 15-month period – especially when the earthquake hit – and I was offline most of that time. I apologize again for causing great worry when your queries went unanswered, until I was able to send a smoke signal that I was hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter. Manabi Earthquake -First Report
What burned strongest today when I pondered the post and the word ‘Wish,’ was a song by Trevor Hall called Wish Man.
Enjoy the story he tells before singing the song, and ponder, ‘What’s your wish?”
“Down by the bayou,
Down by the bayou, I saw
Good things inside you
Good things inside you, they call
Into my memories of old,
Tell me what you know!
I saw a man there,
I saw a man and sat down
I shook his hand there
I shook his hand,
he laughed loud
And put a question to my heart
A question, oh, so sharp”
I marveled at his story, as he could have ignored the man when asked, “Hey Wish Man, what’s your wish?’ – but he didn’t. He stopped and gave the man respect, which prompted a profound interaction – one that inspired a great song. Continue reading
From the acoustic-friendly cushioned experience at Quito’s National Theater to a rustic sea-level setting on the beach at Bellavista/Don Juan, ArtesXManabi left a trail of beautiful memories. Please visit their website and facebook pages, and give them a ‘thumbs up’ for their kind and generous efforts. If you live in Ecuador, perhaps you can coax them to continue their show in your community!
The slideshows showcase the events, including one dance workshop – on the beach – with the children!
ArtesxManabi – Slideshows
Thank you, ArtesXManabi for your display of unconditional love for your fellow man.
Playa El Matal, Jama Ecuador — 7:00 PM 16/April/2017 – Locals gathered at Playa El Matal just past sunset to release hand-made lanterns on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake. For half an hour, I enjoyed the low-light show before saying a quick goodbye and driving to attend the mass at the Catholic church in Jama.
Please take my seat and join the locals of El Matal via the photos below!
“The earthquake was presaged by a magnitude 4.8 foreshock eleven minutes before the main quake struck, and followed by over fifty-five aftershocks in the first twenty-four hours.” – Wilkipedia
Jama/Manabi/Ecuador — This post is scheduled to be published on the one-year anniversary of the 4.8 earthquake that preceded the historic one that hit 11 minutes later. Imagine what it must have been like to wonder, “Did we just have an earthquake?” as the twilight faded into the night, and then be jolted into a nightmare that shattered the coastline.
This year, at 6:58 pm, the people of El Matal and Jama will release hand-made lanterns at the time the earthquake hit a year ago. I will witness the lantern release at El Matal and then attend the mass that follows in Jama.
Please join the sparrows in a moment of reflection, not only for those who are opening tender year-long wounds, but also in support for closing those wounds. May this also extend to all who are suffering worldwide, as love for our fellow man is greatly needed.
Below are images taken yesterday and last night at various events in honor of those affected in the Canton of Jama.
QUITO, Ecuador – Life sometimes gives us sweet little packages wrapped in unique ways. Because I planned to visit Quito’s Casa de la Cultura regarding the ‘on hold’ exposition of my paintings, I reviewed their website last week: CASAdelaCULTURA
The ‘Events’ page mentioned a fundraiser for the coastal community of Don Juan, which is 10 kilometers from Jama in Manabi Province. Casa Loca is about half way between the two areas!
A fundraiser for the community of Don Juan? My imagination raced with possibilities as I tried to connect the WHERE with the WHO. Who inspired this, or was it a random and compassionate person or persons who visited Don Juan and realized they could use some support?
My plans were to be in Quito at Casa de la Cultura the same day the Las Artes por Manabí would be held at the National Theater! After the meetings – which went very well, I inquired about the event. Yes! It was scheduled for that night!
Friends Stephen and Xiomara joined me that evening, though we were not quite sure what we would be watching! We gladly paid our ten dollars to help support the Don Juan community in the canton of Jama.
The show, which showcases Andean Contemporary Arts, started around 8 pm. Enrique Males, a popular musician, has been creating melodies for 50 years and calls attention to ‘cultural respect.’
“…His songs remember famous people of Andes. For example, the indigenous general Rumiñahui (from spanish conquerors of Quito, 476 years before) or Mama Dolores Cacuango, a political figure of 80’s that talked about human rights, but from the thoughts and traditions of indigenous communities.
With all this context, the performance tries to remind the people to love Allpa-Mama (Mother Earth), to be at peace with themselves and with each other.
The connection with Don Juan’s people is the joy for life, the desire to improve and be more sensitive and creative, using Arts and our ancestral culture to be a big family, from the coast (Jama) to the Andes (Quito). ” – Sayri Wladimir Cabascango – Las Artes por Manabí
Like thrilled children, we sat toward the front of the National Theater and looked forward to the show.
“When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don’t get mad when someone does that. Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask you for help.”
― Lori Goodwin
Ecuador – There seems to be a running clock/calendar that keeps track of the days and months since the earthquake destroyed much of Ecuador’s central and northern coast. Each month when the calendar approaches ’16,’ I note the time and remember the 7.8 earthquake that hit just after 7 pm on April 16th. Does anyone ever get past that feeling of premonition – or wondering if it might hit again?
When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home. ~ Rumi
Ecuador’s Andes: Eastern Slope – Cosanga – Western Slope -Mindo — Having just returned from a ten-day trip to the eastern side of Ecuador, I chuckled when I read Judy Edwards‘ Thought For the Day, shared above.
My friend Susana had often mentioned their ‘little cabaña’ tucked in a quiet area somewhere on the ‘Eastern Slope” of the Andes in the Napo Province, gateway to the Amazon. Over the past year, she’s been fine-tuning details for a birding tour for a group of ladies from the USA and had asked if I’d help during their time at their Cabana El Aliso. The tour would start on March 1st in Quito, end on March 10th in Mindo, with lots of great experiences in between.
Of course! I would love to help! I looked forward to seeing their cabaña and the surrounding landscape, but first needed to take care of my life on the Pacific side. While in Jama, I received an email from Susana regarding plans for the week before the birding tour.
“…hopefully we can travel to la Cabaña El Aliso. How about Friday, Feb. 24th? This weekend (25-28) is Carnaval and I would like to spend these days in the Cabaña. Can you come with us.” – Continue reading
“I thought it was the end of the world,” – Marcos Cevallos
Jama, Ecuador – When people share their stories of the 7.8 earthquake that struck 10 months ago, many use the same description as Marcos: “I thought it was the end of the world.”
With no electricity, there were few options for connecting the desecrated zones with the outside world. Many kept cyber vigils in hopes of gleaning tidbits of information and passing that information to others. News reports illustrated the devastation and provided interviews with people who survived the terremoto. Many people from around the world met Marcos via the following news clip, beginning at minute 2:20: Continue reading
“…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. ‘
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.
Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles. — Alex Karras
Jama Ecuador – Taking a timeout from the earthquake-recovery zone. I watched my friends harvest a shrimp pond about a kilometer from town. It seemed surreal to be surrounded by stunning landscapes under the influence of a pristine sunny morning while the nearby town provided little aesthetic beauty.
After harvest, my friends and I enjoyed a hearty brunch, said our “Goodbyes,” and I stopped to check the progress on the ‘kit’ house. Continue reading
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! Continue reading
February 16, 2017
Ten months ago, a subtle 4.8 ‘bump’ gave no fair warning of the 7.8 nightmare that would soon turn Ecuador’s northern coastline upside down. No one suspected that in ten minutes, they’d be scrambling for safety as the earth rolled in spasms and tossed people across rooms like a cat toying with a mouse. From Catholic News.com story about Jama, “The ground moved like waves on the ocean,” he recalls, while a pall of sulfurous-smelling haze rose over the town.”
Over the months, various people described that terrifying minute and its after effects:
“My sister was outside, and she wrapped her arms around a light pole and hung tight until it stopped.”
“From the upstairs window it looked very black to the north, and then the house started shaking. I ran to the kitchen and turned off the gas.” She choked back tears and told how the house rocked back and forth before starting to fall.
One man described how the earth pulled apart and a geyser of black water (?) shot skyward behind his shattered home.
“I don’t know how I got out alive. Things were falling, crashing, and I had to crawl…”
“I reached town, and everyone was gone. I did not know where they were.”
“There was a tsunami warning, but I first checked on my parents and then went to the hills. We spent the night on the hillside.”
“We swam across the river to get to town.”
“Thieves stole from the pharmacy after we left for the tsunami warning.”
“We were too scared to go back inside. We sat in the street until morning.”
“Look; I lost everything. I don’t have any clothes.” she frowned at her hand-made blouse and shrugged.
“Lee-sah!’ One person called from the far side of the street yesterday. A look of desperation bled through his attempted smile. This man with the perpetually-happy personality seemed broken; he explained that his family was still living in a tent, and he was concerned about providing food for them.
I’ve been working on posts to share stories of different people who have opened their hearts and invited me into their make-shift homes. Two posts will follow today, and more as time permits.
Thank you in advance for reading with an open and loving heart.
“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!
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.
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… Continue reading
“Art is the signature of civilizations.”- Beverly Sills
(Ecuador) Using my.yahoo.com as email provider home page, I view the most-recent emails, the 5 top news stories, news of Ecuador/Latin America, weather stats for specific locations, and science and arts stories. The custom page provides a quick summary of the day’s pulse when I log onto the internet.
One column features amazing works of art, and whenever possible I follow that link and savor Lines & Color’s ‘Eye Candy’... This week featured a black rectangle to illustrate a more-serious post. Please take time to read Charley Parker’s Lines & Colors Is On Strike Today –
From Lines & Colors: “…Yes, it’s a small, mostly symbolic gesture, but so are the recently announced plans by the incoming administration to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting…”
I pondered how to share my own thoughts regarding the importance the arts play in our world. The best option seems to illustrate with images from old posts, where art played a large role in bringing people together while introducing them to the magic of self discovery.
We’ll start in Jama Ecuador, where locals are still recovering from the earthquake. I am not sure if this tree is still there, but in the past, the whimsical art continued to smile at those who considered looking up…. Continue reading
“You will fail many times but in failing you’ll learn and in learning you’ll find your way. Remember, there are no mistakes in life but only lessons, and lessons will keep on repeating until learned.” Paulo Coelho
Mindo Ecuador – The tragedy of last year’s earthquake has had an unusual effect on me; my patience and tolerance, thanks to several challenging lessons, have strengthened. A project-in-progress for the ‘Artist’s Nest’ has tested that statement!
Two local workers have been helping with a 3-day project that has stretched into eight. If I sweep the sawdust and debris five times, there’s always a sixth, and most likely a seventh, though at the end of the day these two sweet workers clean the entire area well before leaving.
When I grab the broom to sweep the steps yet again, I find that I don’t sigh and say to myself, “Again…” or get frustrated at redundant tasks. I think, “What those people who have no home would do to have this problem!” In addition to lessons learned via my nephew Don, “While the Worlld Outside My Window Goes Insane” , I think of those on the Pacific coast that lost so much, and I ‘Let it go’ instantly.
Whoosh! Gone. Not worth it. That post (above) connects me back via the photo tribute to Don; with 124 comments, it’s surely one of the most popular ones for inspiration.
And the lack of stress and frustration is genuine! There’s no psyching myself into trying to dump the stress; it’s never allowed residence or even a Timeout Corner as each day brings new surprises.
The workers are so kind and sweet, and Perejil (a nickname) does amazing work. He’s very patient and goes to great details, so the work has taken longer than expected. It’s worth the extra days, and in the story of my day, my week, my life, what is important is the quality of each day — and each day as been crammed with positive experiences.
Are you curious to see the project in progress? Put on your hard hat, as there’s no hand rail, the main reason this project began! Continue reading
“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.” Ram Dass
(Jama Ecuador) After traveling for 5 or more hours, I recently reached Jama in the late afternoon. Palo Santo Cafe was closed, but someone was inside – preparing for the night. I knocked on the door and asked if I could use the internet – to send a smoke signal that I’d reached my destination for the day. “Of course,” lovely Karen smiled as she opened the door and invited me inside. “Stay as long as you’d like…”
I sat at a table and quickly vanished into cyberworld while they worked in the kitchen. Just as I was packing my things to leave, young Jesus – Luchy’s nephew, motioned for me to stay. He pointed to three coffee cups on the counter and whispered, “Shhhhh…” Smiling, I unpacked the computer and played my role in the coffee break surprise.. Yet ten minutes later, the cups of not-so steaming coffee were still sitting there, and I thought perhaps I misunderstood. About that time Luchy and Karen emerged from the kitchen with hot ham and cheese sandwiches for everyone!
I camped at their hostal this past trip and enjoyed more quality time not only with the family, but with many of the locals as well. One night when I was walking from their restaurant to the hostal (2 blocks) someone called my name. It was a friend I’d not seen in over a year. She and her four precious children are living in one of the tent communities. She looked great and seemed happy, and we both enjoyed the 10-pm exchange on the almost-deserted street.
“When someone feels particularly isolated or in pain, we don’t need a great deal of information in order to come to his or her aid.” Ram Dass
“Wherever there are birds, there is hope.”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
Jama, Ecuador – Arriving in Jama just before dark, I was happy to see Luchy Cevallos unloading items from his car at Palo Santo Cafe. “Lisa!!” he smiled, “Come in and have a cafe!” I accepted on the condition that I share the tasks before they opened at 7. He also prepared a pizza that we shared, and then he dashed to the cabanas to prepare #3 for me to spend the night. Yay!
Business was brisk, and I suspected that each dime would help with repairs on his hostal. When I left at ten, people were still visiting while enjoying good food at a very fair price.
I also took photos to compare before and after, so here’s an ‘after’ photo taken in front of Palo Santo…
Compare the photo above with one taken a few years earlier:
More before/after comparasons:
Turning back time to 2008: How well I remember walking the lazy streets of Jama as if I’d stepped into a time warp from my childhood. Cowboys nudged their cattle along the streets at the end of the day. The town slowly changed over the past seven years, but the April 16th earthquake turned Jama and neighboring areas upside down.
Many have shared their stories.
“…It began like the usual earthquakes – starting slowly, and we became aware – Earthquake – and assumed it would be finished in a few seconds. But it didn’t, and the slow subtle start sort of tricked us… I was in the street outside my house when it happened… first it wasn’t scary – it was like a normal earthquake and then it got stronger. One house fell and then another and another… and I looked at our house and thought, “Please don’t fall…” – and it didn’t…. A few more minutes, and I think the house would have fallen down.”
” The ivory-bill is so iconic: big, beautiful, mysterious—a symbol of everything that’s gone wrong with our relationship to the environment. I thought if someone could just locate an ivory-bill, could prove that this remarkable species still exists, it would be the most hopeful event imaginable. We would have one final chance to save this bird and the bottomland swamp forests it needs to survive.” From Surfbirds.com – interview with Tim Gallagher, author of The Grail Bird.
“Earth’s population of wild vertebrates — all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish — declined 58 percent from 1970 to 2012. (That’s up from 52 percent in the 2014 report, which spanned 1970 to 2010.) In other words, the total number of wild animals with backbones has fallen by more than half within one human lifetime.” Russell McClendon – Mother Nature Network (Oct 27/2016)
Mindo Ecuador – Something happened last month that had a profound effect on me. I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach it, how to share it with you – with those who might be interested – but even more for those who are not. Continue reading
Hola Ground Control, this is Zeebra on the Magic Carpet, presently in a Holding Pattern over Latitude Zero, though we are veering slightly north and slightly south. Skies have been clear with no turbulence, and presently we have one passenger who seems to be content with her travels so far.
Maintaining zero turbulence at Latitude Zero has required a bit of focus, so I will divert my attention back to my passenger and continue searching for unique destinations for her Cloud Forest experience.
Would you like to see a bit of what we’ve done so far?
(Mindo/Pichincha/Ecuador) -Observing the day of October 08 to acknowledge our feathered neighbors on this planet, the Mindo Bird Guide Association (Asociación de Guías Naturalistas de Mindo) partnered with local, national and international sponsors and hosted their second Bird Fair. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to participate, starting at dawn yesterday, October 08!
Early-birders gathered for a dawn bird trek, and depending on which birds we hoped to see, our groups split in different directions. I shadowed my friend Sandra Patiño, who guided us along a high ridge where hummingbirds, barbets and toucanets shared the spotlight while toucans and pygmy tyrants provided the live soundtrack! Continue reading
“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” – Mary Oliver
A small poster in dramatic reds and blacks caught my attention last weekend; a stunning photo showcased a cluster of performers for the National Ballet, scheduled to perform on Tuesday September 6th. Taped to the door of the closed tourism office, the poster radiated a mystical allure. “Lazos de Tierra – Fiesta en el Mar” – A Free Event – Ballet Nacional de Ecuador.”
“Oh well,” I mused, “It would be nice to attend, though I don’t plan to go to Quito.”
Before resuming my errands, I decided to check the fine print for the location. Otavalo and Cuenca often have cultural events, and I was curious about what city would be hosting the performance.
Mindo! A ballet in petite Mindo?
I looked again to be sure I had read it correctly.
Yes, the National Ballet would be performing on Tuesday night! I enthusiastically passed the information to friends, and they seemed as surprised as I!
……. Fast forward to “Hora: 19:30 — Martes 6 de Septiembre”…..
Since my camera does not work well in low light, I wasn’t expecting to take many photos. Cynthia pointed out that the entire front row of chairs was basically empty, so we scampered forward and claimed a prime vantage point!!!
The curtain rose in almost total darkness, and the audience peered with collective expectations. As the lighting increased, the darkened forms of dancers began to rise from prone positions. I groped for my camera and managed to get a few blurred shots. The scene quickly morphed to full throttle, and as dramatic lighting showcased these talented dancers in stunning costumes, the camera performed quite well!
What follows is a pictorial summary of the event.
Ladies and gentlemen – please take your seats; the lights have dimmed! Enjoy the show! Continue reading