Friday, March 13, 2009

Children of Ecuador

A few years ago, my travels took me often to the city of Quito.

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is nestled in a long narrow valley in the Andes. You are surrounded by spectacular views at an elevation of around 10,000 feet.

Besides the natural beauty, unique culture and indigenous crafts available, what I loved most about Quito is the people. Humble, incredibly hospitable and kind.

I'm including these images in my latest blog because I love the story behind them.

During my layovers in Ecuador, I would often frequent the street market for sweaters, scarves or various artistry. I was also absorbed in the people and life I encountered on my walks. The artisans would set up along the sidewalks or in permanent stalls to form a "market". Women would often sit while watching their "store" as well as their children. Many of the children would play in the street, offer to shine your shoes, or sell you candy or gum. Beautiful children.

Before one of my visits, I contacted several neighbors and asked for toys their families may have outgrown or abandoned. The response was quite generous!

My visit to the street market this time also included passing out toys to the children I met with. My only requirement was that they had to allow a photograph with their toy.

It was a fun day for me, as well as the children. I will always remember the surprise and slight confusion associated with these gifts. Then watching them go off and interact with their new treasure.

I think of my visits to Ecuador often and fondly. I hope to make it back there someday and experience the simple kindness and life of the Ecuadorian people.

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