Christmas Tree Decorations — Entrance to Hostal Palo Santo (Jama Ecuador)
“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…”
Luchy’s girlfriend, Karen…
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!
Jesus, Luchy’s nephew, often helps (with a huge heart and grand smile) at the restaurant. He prepared the cafe con leche, garnished with an artful swirl on the surface!
These palms line the front of Palo Santo…
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.
Photo from better times – before the earthquake
“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
Tent Community between Jama and Playa El Matal (Ecuador)
Another day when I was buying ‘takeout’ encebollado for breakfast, someone on the street called, “Lisa!” Many times as they share their stories, they release a bit of their noble and very private pain. It is true that tears are the escape valve for the heart.