Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Living in Cuenca Ecuador - It's All About The People We Meet........

After our morning workout, we walk over to Sra. Marianita's Juice Stand at the market.  We tell her what we would like in our Jugo, and she runs it through her juicer and blender.  Today we had Jugo de Borojo (borojo Pulp. The borojo fruit is famous in Colombia, because of its aphrodisiac and health properties. It is highly energetic, with very high protein content - http://www.borojo.net/) Alfalfa, y Zanahoria (carrot).  Two juices are $1.00. That's Bo getting his morning "Jugo" fix!!

Sra. Elena always has a smile for us when we visit her Cheese Stand.  She sells fresh Queso Pensado (salty and like Mozzerella) and Queso Molida (like Feta but not as salty) amongst other kinds of cheeses.  We are getting to know our special vendors and frequent their booths.  (Notice the children of vendors playing in the aisles while their parents sell from their booths.)

I've added Chanco to my vegetarian diet!  Dona Elsita (no photo yet) and her daughter, Delia (in photo below) always greet us with warm and loving words as they give us tastes of their succulant Chanco (pork) and Chicharon (crispy skin), while serving us a huge $5 plate for two.  Their Batata balls and pickled salad mix top off this regular amazing lunch.

Sra. Delia marinating their to-die-for Batata balls.  Colorful pickled salad mix in front!

This vendor (whom we have not met) specializes in selling cooked hominy, beans, and other varieties of legumes.  Some of the vendors are warm and embrace us, some are shy and humble, some do not make eye contact with us, and few are grumpy and almost rude or indifferent.  A dear Ecuadorian friend told us not to take things personally here, and to accept the culture and way of her people, and especially not to get angry or impatient.  Daily, Bo and I observe these poor and humble people working from sunrise to sunset, setting up their booths, waiting for their daily bread in sales, and many still out late at night until there is no one around to sell to.  To see some of them carrying heavy loads on their backs and walking all hunched over down the narrow busy streets truly breaks our hearts.  Yet it is their way of life and what they know and do proudly.  It is the Christmas season, and the streets are busy with Ecuadorian families and tourists shopping.  I'm sure many vendors are anticipating greater sales this time of year.

Daily we see an old and poor Ecuadorian on the street who quietly asks us for some help.  We are always blessed to give them a coin (dollars here are coins) and squeeze their hand (and quietly pray for them).  Since we've been here, it seems rare to see beggers on the streets.  Yet, it's easy to give to those unfortunates we've encountered, because they are truly in such need and incapable of working. 

 The other night, as Bo and I walked the dark city streets, we came across this homemade barricade behind an abandoned street kiosk.  We met Sr. Luis Garcia, a shoeshine man, who greeted us with an aged handshake and a big and genuine smile.  He was eating a bowl of soup in the dark night, all alone, and he seemed anxious to talk to us, so I asked him specific questions about his life.   We learned that he lives in that kiosk box by his shoeshine stand. He told us his wife used to help him, but she fell right there 4 months ago, and she is now in a care facility, which he visits every morning.  We hope to see him again - and again. 
Mr. Diaz said he has been working on this corner for 64 years!  He is now 94.  His home is to the right of his stand, inside the abandoned kiosk.  Yesterday, when we stopped by to say hello, he told us to be careful that no one robbed us, to have a loving Christmas together, to eat well, and to take care of each other.  he said that since his wife fell and is no longer with him, he has nothing anymore. 
Our friend, Sr. Diaz

Today we received news from back home that someone we were very close to has been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer.  He is only in his 50's.  Life is precious.  Our days are precious and unpredictable.  We should daily count our blessings - and those blessings truly are the people we know and the new people we will meet along the way. 

As we journey through our days in Cuenca, we have no idea how long we will be here.  What we do know is that it's all about the people we are privileged to meet, to smile at, to show concern towards, and to give to - and may we be grateful each day for the important things:  our health, our loved ones, and every new person we meet and are touched by along this Ecuador journey.


  1. Really enjoyed this post and learning the names of some of the senoras stands my husband and I frequent. Your juice lady is right next to ours, Senora Narcisa. I am hooked on the naranjilla and maracuya juice she makes special for me. We also enjoy the hornado from Dona Elsita. We are in the States now, but looking forward to being back in Cuenca.

  2. Hi Gluten Free Gringa,
    We'll have to try your juice!!! Sounds interesting and delicious too. Where in the States are you and when are you returning to Cuenca. We are loving it here, and it's a day to day journey for us. We hope you continue to read and comment on our journey and that you will enjoy what we share. Let us know when you come back and we'll have some juice time together.


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)