May 16, 2016.
Just a typical day for us in our “new” village.( San Clemente, Manabi, Ecuador)
We live in more rural area now and this village has an estimated population of 2000 residents. There are only 2 paved roads and the “town center” is paved with rustic hexagonal bricks. The rest of the town has dirt roads.
Most of the homes are fairly simple, and the people are too 🙂 There are many multi-generational families and it’s especially neat to see how the village truly does raise a child together.
Almost everyone does some type of farming, although we do have a few tradespeople, mom & pop shops, and small businesses also. We see many young children, hopping along with their mothers or grandmothers… and often both. The kids that are bit older, say 6 and up… are in school in now, but it is not uncommon to see them working alongside their fathers if and when they are needed.
The moms and grandmoms.. they stay home. They cook, they clean, they hang the laundry on the line, they run around all day after the kids. Sometimes they have vegetable or healing herb gardens. Many of them have chickens. They are happy with this. They aren’t concerned with getting a college degree, landing a job in the city, or driving a fancy car. And just like me, they wear cut off sweats and a tank top, a sweaty, messy mom-bun… and if the urge strikes, a cheap pair of flip-flops.
(Hey, I think I just might fit in here!!!)
The children and elders alike are welcome everywhere and no task or event is deemed inappropriate for any of them. We hear of grown siblings that take turns caring for, feeding, and driving around their elderly parents. The elders aren’t sent away and forgotten. Rather, they are completely integrated into the lives of ALL of their children and grandchildren.
We frequently see babies taken along on bicycle and motorcycle rides. I still struggle not to stare, as it still comes as a shock to me that these babies are never dropped. Often a Mother will be riding along with her baby perched on her knee and crutched under her elbow.
The men, more often carry them in the front of the bikes… literally resting them on the bar between the seat and the handle bar, while balancing them with one hand. We have a neighbor, whom I’ve seen on many occasions, driving his motorcycle while holding his granddaughter in this same manner. We know that she is only 14 months old, but she magically perches behind the handlebars with the balance of a cat! Slowly, I am learning to smile when I see them.. rather than to panic. It is a cultural norm here, and as safe or unsafe as it might be… it has now become a charming site to me.
We adore this town, just as much.. or maybe even more than the previous one.♡