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I don’t know that guy, but tell me about him

Published on April 07, 2021

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I’m sitting in the Sheraton Hotel in Cuenca in preparation of my flight out in the morning to Quito, and then from there to the Miami, Florida.

As you all know, I’m going to go get my COVID vaccine(s), and I’m also going to go spend some overdue time with my mother.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen her. Of course, this is not an uncommon situation in the times we are living in. So many people are going thru this very same thing.

But I’m happy today. I’m happy to be going and at the same time also happy to know I’ll be coming back here.

I say that whole-heartedly. Because what I hardly ever talk about anymore is how much this country makes me see things I didn’t see before (or had stopped paying attention to). I used to talk about some of those things in the early days of this column. But over the last couple of years, politics, and this virus, have taken the front seat to what I used to bring up here.

But not today. And the reason is so difficult to explain I’m almost afraid to share it. But here goes.

I read several Ecuadorian papers almost every day. And I always finish reading them with a little bit of hope. I see all the problems that the country has, but at the same time I see resilience in the people mounting multiple fronts in the efforts to fix them.

And what I also see in the newspapers I read, is a leaning toward humanity. It seems that the writing of the stories here is simply just more focused on the people in the story. It’s as if we are being told about something that happened to our friends, our neighbors or one of our relatives.

Now, perhaps this is a style of writing that can be seen in many South American newspapers, I don’t know because I don’t read them. But I certainly see it here in almost all of them.

I’m not sure if I’m being very clear about this.  I guess the best way to say it is that the newswriting here makes me feel like I am part of the story. Now I’m not saying that all the stories are good, or that the writing is extremely informative (because it frequently is not), but rather that it comes across as being from the heart.

That’s part of what this country is about. It’s part of what many expats see but can’t explain when they come for their first visit. It’s an intangible thing that they can’t even explain to their adult kids when they tell them they are moving south, way south.

There is a humanity here in the people that is easy to miss. They don’t brag about their attitude toward others. They don’t discuss how much a neighbor’s pain means to them.  But they genuinely care for each other. You can see it on their faces.

You can feel it in the way they write about each other. You can see it in the way they welcome so many of us.

I’m glad that the US political environment is taking a slow breather—I of course wish the virus would as well—so I can get back to the things that I used to write about in this column.

I’m not saying I’m done with either of those other subjects. But I am once again ready to point out the good I see here in Ecuador.

Be safe everyone. And watch out for your neighbor. Because he is more than likely watching out for you.

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