Sunday, May 5, 2013

Seniors in Ecuador

Something came up very recently that started lots of us thinking and I thought I'd share it with you and see what you think.

We have a man here in Cotacachi who is very, very ill.  In fact, he is likely in his last days.  He has no family we know of either here or in the States, is one a very low income, and (this is the very hardest) can't remember his PIN for his bank account so someone else could take his money out to get care for him.

People here, both friends of his and other concerned people, are cooking food for him and visiting with him for several hours a day, making sure he gets the correct meds, cleaning his sores, and helping him bathe.  We took up a collection for his rent for May.  Now what happens?  People will help care for him for quite a while but it's a difficult thing to do for any length of time, especially for people who have other things they do in their lives.  I can't help right now because I'm going to a pet sitting assignment tomorrow that is out of town and it would cost me money to get to and from and that's not in my budget--not to mention I would have to leave my little charges to their own devices while I was in town.

A friend who is very interested in this from the standpoint of being a nurse and thinking in the longer-range terms of what about the rest of us talked to me yesterday about what my plans are and whether or not I had considered these issues before coming here.  She told me she has talked to quite a few people who came here with the understanding that health care is free here.  Uh, sort of.

OK, first, here's my plan, part of it figured out before I got here and part of it as I have discovered more about what is and isn't available here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quito Market Trip

One of the high points of the trip was a quick trip through a neighborhood market.  This is the market Sarah generally goes to when she can.

We were driving down the street and all of a sudden, there it was, the beginning of the market.  The vendors set up all up and down the streets in this little neighborhood.  It's amazing.

Squash anyone?  There were trucks and displays of squashes this big and even bigger.  It appeared they would cut a few of them in half or even in quarters but it was still enough to feed a small army.

Textile work isn't all for women here.  In fact, when it comes to weaving and the fibers used in it, women spin but only men weave.  Here a man is doing mending or alterations, not sure which--maybe both.

More squash--oh, anyone want a pair of shoes?

These fish heads were the size of large dinner plates.  I would have gotten more photos but the fellow who was running the stand was furious with me for taking pictures.  I have no idea why.  Maybe he's in the witness protection program and thought I was taking his photo.  OK, he was just grumpy.

Crab legs anyone?

When I say you can get just about anything here, I'm not kidding.  Padlocks, knives, scissors, and other assorted items, all on this little cart.

As I said, I was in Quito for Santa Semana, Holy Week, and one of the traditions here is a dish called fanesca.  It's absolutely fabulous (I had some Sarah made herself) and I'll be looking for it up here next year.  At any rate, one of the things in fanesca is salted fish.  There were any number of stalls at the market selling salted fish when we were there.  This is just about the only time of the year they will be there.  Once Easter has passed, the fish disappear--who knows what happens to them.  I know one thing, they don't go to waste.

Are these not the loveliest chickens you've seen in a very long time?  They're huge.  Of course there are the feet and heads right out in front.

Ecuadorian tortillas are very different than any I've ever seen anywhere else.  I've only eaten them a few times--they don't seem to get any better with exposure.

Squash in the foreground, clothes in the background, pots and pans, plastic ware, and a little glass ware in the center.

I love the stacks of tomatoes.  That's one dollar's worth of tomatoes.  The bags of limes in the lower right-hand corner are a dollar as well.

Then we arrived at the street where all the live animals were sold.  There was quite a variety, starting with chicks,
moving on to adorable puppies,

cuy anyone?  That's a guinea pig.

There were lots of kittens (she brought them to market in the bag she's holding),

ducks, chickens, roosters, geese, more guinea pigs in the crate on the right, and chickens almost ready for the stove on the sidewalk.

Turkey anyone?

Roosters by the bag.

Bunnies by the dozen--this one was sharing his temporary home with a few ducklings.

It was quite a sight.  It was easier to see and take pictures if I didn't think about where all of these little guys were going to end up.  I was fine with ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, and such but it got a little tougher with some of the animals we think of as domestic pets.  I can stay in denial and think about them becoming pets but there's part of me that knows it isn't so, at least not for the majority of them.  Ah well, different lands, different cultures.  Sometimes it's easier to accept the culture than others but it just is what it is.

More to come, of course.  There will be at least one more museum and another church in the future.  I really love this stuff.