Jama-El Matal (Manabi Province) Ecuador
Having just returned from a visit to the coast (Jama) where the earthquake turned my friends’ worlds upside down then slammed them to the ground, I would like to share what burns strongest in my mind and soul. Yes, some friends cried when they shared their stories, but their tears also released a bit of grief. More than tears, I saw smiles. Proud brave smiles that burned as bright and strong as the brilliant sunlight on their altered landscape.
Esperanza – Hope. Without hope, people’s souls would atrophy. My friends and I witnessed esperanza in most every place we stopped.
A buzz of activity kept the center of town in perpetual motion. A steady stream of people puchased ten-cent servings of fresh rolls at the open-air panaderia, relocated only a slight distance from its original place on the block. The vegetable vendor location shadowed the panaderia, just like it did before the earthquake, and a second one held its usual spot on the other side of the one-way street. There was comfort in walking up to the glass-fronted bakery counter and requesting caramel-colored cubes of banana bread for my travel companions and me – and oh yes, delicate rolls of chocolate bread and — ‘look at those fresh orbs of bread that are still cooling – we’ll take some of those too.’ Continue reading