Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William A. Ward
(Ecuador) – Located on the outskirts of Jama, the petite community of ‘Verdum’ is barely noted by those who race to the beach near La Division or to return. The owners of the shrimp farms and their workers ebb and flow throughout the day, but Verdum is a sleepy little hiccup along the route.
I often stop at the little tienda when I walk to town, and if I am going home, that’s my ‘last stop’ to buy something cold to drink or pick up a few odds and ends for the kitchen. Partly hidden beneath an almendra tree, the inconspicuous wooden structure suggests a life of eclectic construction. Half of the tin-roofed building sits in the open, where a walk-up window receives all-day use; the other nestles beneath the almendra tree, where locals sometimes swap stories while sharing bottles of cold cerveza at the end of the day.
What I like most are the salt-of-the-earth people who live here. If Zoila is shelling peas or beans, I smile and pull up a chair and happily reach for a handful of legumes as we discuss the weather or the dust or the mud or what color paint I am wearing. Cars and trucks zoom past, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake; the drivers rarely stop to buy anything from the tienda.
Zoila and her husband Marco have lived in Verdum about 40 years. I asked her how they met, and she said (with a coyish smile) that he worked for her father on his farm in the mountains! Marco now drives a mototaxi and delivers people and cargo throughout the day. He often parks beneath the almendra and waits until someone calls for a driver.
One day I presented an idea of painting the facade of their little tienda. Continue reading