I arrived at the Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito in the afternoon, and got a cab to the hostel where i was to stay the night. The cab driver was like every driver you were to encounter in a third-world country- talkative and eager to show the treasures of a country he takes pride in calling home. Once at the hostel, I was shown to my room by the kind-eyed owner, Pablo. The room had five other beds, reserved for the group of volunteers that was to arrive that night.
I left hostal El Taxo to give my friend Andrew a call. He was staying in Quito for the summer. While I waited for him to pick me up, I chatted with Pablo and his wife. Their easy-going, genuine conversation reminded me of Kenya. Pablos story was that of a typical small-town boy moving to the city to establish a descent living. By the popularity and looks of the place, he had accomplished just that. What is interesting about the hostel is how much it reflects its owner. It talks of reggae, fresh jugo, and the shabby easy-living ways of the coast.
When Andrew came to pick me up, he came with his cousin Jaime. As we made our way up to the TeleferiQo, we reminisced of our high school days in Kenya and of our past year in college. Arriving at the TeleferiQo, i got my first close up of the Andes mountains-a view that, putting all cliches aside, was breath-taking.
Ecuador suffers from the dilemma of every third-world country- its cities striving to be developed and its pueblos submerged in the intensity of poverty. The one part of Ecuador that is constant is the hospitality of its people. Putting aside racial differences- indigenous, black, or mestizo- they thrive at making every visitor feel welcome. This, fueled by the love of their land.
I met the rest of the volunteers that night after having dinner with Andrew and Jaime. They were all coming from North Carolina- Katie, Alex, Christopher, Sarah, and Laura.
Posted from Ecuador:
posted Thursday July 2006