Life’s lessons

The best lessons of his life, were outside of the classroom

El Artesano Loja, Loja, Ecuador
El Artesano Store           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

So, as it happened, his father spared no effort in transmitting his vast experience to his young son.

El balcón Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The balcony           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

He didn’t limit his teaching to matters concerning the farm, but went further still, trying to explain the world that surrounded them, communicating a wealth of knowledge he had accumulated throughout so many years.

La boutique Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The boutique           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

Magnifico displayed a frank and open curiosity about every little detail they discussed. The child seemed to assimilate it all instantly and with an extraordinary ease.

La zapatería Loja, Loja, Ecuador
La shoe shop          Loja, Loja, Ecuador


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What comes around…goes around

He never did plant what he wouldn’t wouldn’t serve at his own table

Después de las lluvias Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
After the rains          Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

“I agree, Camila. It’s too bad, but I think you have a point there. I also felt she was on the point of tears and very scared. It’s just very silly. She should know she’ll never lose me.”

“The way I see it, my Dad clearly understands what’s happening, don’t you think?”

Portal del parque Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
A portal in the park          Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

“Yes, sir, your Dad is a sharp man!”

“Look, do me a favour. If we have kids and all that… and you see me going through that kind of a situation, just punch me a few times ‘till I come out of it!”

Carrito de frutas Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
The fruit cart         Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

“Oh, no you don’t, Camila. No way. So sorry, my dear, but that’s a favour I can’t and won’t do for you”

“Why’s that, I’m asking you to”

“Yeah, but I know you too well, and you’d probably punch me right back!”

Calle General Torres Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
General Torres Street           Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador


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Abandoned nests

Though the nest may be so comfortable, it is hopelessly left behind, in the moment when wings reach out for flight…

Confluencia Tena, Napo, Ecuador
Confluence         Tena, Napo, Ecuador

Camila was the first to break the silence. Her voice reflected a meditative state of mind.

“You know something?”

Atardecer en el río Tena, Napo, Ecuador
Sunset in the river           Tena, Napo, Ecuador

“Excuse me?” was Magnifico’s reply. He was also lost in his own thoughts.

Vista de Tena Tena, Napo, Ecuador
City view          Tena, Napo, Ecuador

“It seems it was easier than I thought. But, I must admit that I feel sorry for your folks. The way I see it, your mom is terribly worried. And I’ll tell you another thing, she’s scared because she feels we won’t be kids for much longer and she won’t be needed soon. She frightened thinking that the day will come when you leave her to go with me. Actually, she believes she’s is going to lose you…”

Volcán Sangay al atardecer Macas, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador
Sangay volcano at dusk         Macas, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador


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The trials of growing up

A new life is invariably begins with labor pains

Las calles Tena, Provincia de Napo, Ecuador
The streets in Amazonia         Tena, Napo Province, Ecuador

Outside, holding hands and deeply pensive, Magnifico and Camila walked. Without having heard the conversation between the parents, they too were totally engrossed in their own reflections concerning the morning’s events.

Sombras en el puente Tena, Provincia de Napo, Ecuador
Lights on the bridge           Tena, Napo Province, Ecuador

Juana, the shepherd, if only in performing her job, though not by breeding, was attentively watching the mischievous goats and insuring that they didn’t stray on their own, bringing them back to follow the path with an occasional bark or a nip.

Encuentro de culturas Tena, Provincia de Napo, Ecuador
Cultural clash           Tena, Napo Province, Ecuador

 The sun was warming the morning up , dissipating the cold weather from the night before. The kids were so engrossed in their thoughts that they never noticed how beautiful the morning was.

Mediodía en el río Misahuallí, Provincia de Napo, Ecuador
Noon at the river          Misahuallí, Napo Province, Ecuador


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A mother’s heartbrake

There had been moments of doubt in her mind and quite a few at that, but there was never one to vanquish her, for even the darkest nights, inevitably ended in a new dawn with its own light…

Madre e hijo Parque de la Merced, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Mother and son            La Merced Park,  Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Mother looked exhausted. It seemed she had fought a storm that with sudden violence had assaulted her world, consistently so placid and easy-going. She couldn’t grasp what had happened during that morning. The day had begun so perfectly well…

Cargando al hijo Parque de la Merced Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
A child on her shoulders           La Merced Park, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

How could it be possible that her child wanted to set up his own home? Now, as it turns out, he wants to leave us and sleep under some other roof, God know why! And, how can it be that this… little boy, has suddenly turned into a young man, so full of ideas and so abruptly with no warning? No way, this just can’t be! Besides, he’s going to live with Camila? For heaven’s sake. They’re just a couple of kids and have so much more to learn… She’s a dear, I have no doubts about that, but how can she consider living in a house stuck on a tree? And for a moment, she had me convinced.

Una nueva vida Parque de la Merced, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
A new life         La Merced Park, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Finally, she unexpectedly broke the prevailing silence.

“And you, sir, what do you have to say about all this?” she asked her husband, her face dark with unaffected worry.

Un pequeño adulto Parque de la Merced, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
A young grown-up           La Merced Park, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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Views from the heights

Compartían su amor por el mundo observado desde las alturas de su imaginación

En el portal Pasto, Nariño, Colombia
The archway          Pasto, Nariño, Colombia

Inside the cow shed and in the continuing silence, Magnifico’s voice was heard, perhaps, a bit too loud:

“You’re so awesome and just too beautiful, Camila”

Camila, utterly surprised by the outburst, replied, “Excuse me?”

Talking directly to Camila, he answered: “Sorry Camila, I was talking to the other Camila, you know? The one right beside me.”

Hugging the cow and speaking to everyone, he proudly said, “Camila here, is done with today’s milking. And, she must be in a very good mood this morning. Today, she’s done more than her share of the milking!” Camila, was Lencha’s youngest calf. Like and any good mom, she mooed her compliments to Camila from her stall in the shed.

Carrera 6ta Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia
Sixth Avenue           Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia

He continued, immediately after, as he turned toward his father. “If it’s alright with you, Dad, Camila’s joining me this a lot morning to take the goats out to graze. She’s been thinking about how to set up the house in the pine tree.”

Camila quickly added, “I’ve made some drawings of the house. They’re in my rucksack. I like them and I think they’ll do very nicely.”

“I was sort of thinking that the kitchen and a place to sit around would be at the lowest level, something simple and at around twelve feet above the ground. Right where the actual play-house right now.”

Balcones Pasto, Nariño, Colombia
Balconies          Pasto, Nariño, Colombia

Then, there’s some wooden rungs to get up to the bedroom. To the side and in-between both rooms, we could place the bathroom. You get to it, going down a bit from the bedroom or going up from the kitchen. Of course, with those views up there, all the rooms would have picture windows to take in the scenery from above.”

“I’m so sorry, but I can’t show you the drawings yet. First, I’d like the lord of the house to see them,” she commented laughing.

Dad and Mom listened in absolute silence, very pondering quietly. So many thoughts raced through their minds.

Las Lajas Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia
Las Lajas           Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia


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High reaching plans

If we could make our lives could reach as far… as our dreams

Ribera del Magdalena Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Magdalena’s river bank           Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

“Since you love to scamper all the way up there in those high places, it’s fitting to build a house high above for you. Down on earth, where the rest of us live, you be bored to death after a while. The clearing below is beautiful, but that’s where your folk like to do their Sunday picnics. We can use what’s already built. We just need to enlarge it, and we’ll have a great place to live.”

El ciclista Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
The cyclist           Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Magnifico carefully thought how to answer, and after a while, he smiled as he said:

“Of course, you’re right Camila. That’s exactly it! We’ll extend the house and include a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom to fall asleep in as we look out at the stars through the window.”


Puente sobre el Río Magdalena Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Bridge over the Magdalena River          Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

“You know what surprises me? I can´t believe how well you know me!” He added while smiling from one ear to the other.

“And what did you expect, after all these years of hanging out with you. Sometimes, you’re just so conceited…”

La lancha Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
The dinghy         Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia


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A house in the heights

From his vewpoint high above… the world below appeared to be but a fantasy

Hotel Carmen Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia
Hotel Carmen           Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia

“But, come on, you just love climbing all those hard to get to high places, just like a monkey, so I get this feeling that you’ll get to be very bored after a while! Back there, anywhere you look, it´s just flat lands.”

“Yes, Ma’am, that’s true enough. So then, how about the old pine tree clearing? There’s the trusty ol’ pine tree and plenty more trees I can climb over there.”

Subidas empinadas Neira, Caldas, Colombia
Steep rises           Neira, Caldas, Colombia

“Nice, but what would happen to the Sunday picnics with your folks? You can´t take that away from them, can you?”

“So, Camila, if it’s neither in the back of the orchard, nor in the clearing, it would good to know where you suggest we build the house.”

En la esquina Neira, Caldas, Colombia
The corner          Neira, Caldas, Colombia

“You see, but you don’t, do you? You wouldn´t find the spot even if we were standing there. On the pine tree, of course. Right where your father built that tree house for you. Of course, we would want something bigger…”

Calle Santander Manizales, Caldas, Colombia
Santander Street           Manizales, Caldas, Colombia


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Houses and where to place them

Looking back, he understood that his first love of his life was also, so much fun!

Vista al lago Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
The bridge        Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia

“So Camila, which would you prefer: some place behind the orchard or in the pine tree’s clearing?”

“Well to be honest, neither of them.”

Magnifico was puzzled and he remained thoughtful for a few minutes.

Figuras en el agua Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
Figures in the water           Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia

“Well then, where do you propose we build the house, Camila, or maybe you want us to live in the open and under the stars?”

“Don’t be silly, not even Georgina, your mule, lives without a roof over its head with these nasty, cold winds” Camila answered as she played carefully arranged her hair.

Cargando café Supía, Caldas, Colombia
Packing coffee         Supía, Caldas, Colombia

“You said that there’s a place behind the orchard, didn’t you?”

“Yes Ma’am, that’s what my father told me.”

“But then, the way you love to climb all those high places like if you were a monkey. Don’t you think that you get real bored after a while? All that land is flat anywhere you look.”

La siesta Guadalupe, Santander, Colombia
The siesta       Guadalupe, Santander, Colombia



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Plans for life

In life, many plans never turn out, but still, we can keep on dreaming

Estación San Antonio del Metro Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
 Metro Station            Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

“You know, Camila, the land is to build a house, and I was thinking of you for that house.”

“Umm… got it! Of course, It will be a pleasure. I’ll be happy to help you build it, but on Sundays, when I have some time off from chores.”

“Thanks Camila, but that wasn’t what I had in mind. I was sort of thinking that you would like to live there.”

“Aw, thanks, but I already have a home with my parents, and I like it very much. At the moment I can´t see myself living alone.”

El Hueco Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
El Hueco           Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

“What do you mean by alone? I was talking about when we’re married.”

“Married? And how do you know if I’d marry you? You haven´t even asked me to marry you…”

“Now listen Camila, that’s what I’ve been trying to do!”

“Well, really! Then where you should have begun, don’t you think?”

Estación San Antonio Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
 San Antonio Station           Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

“Camila, will you marry me?”

“Of course, I’ll be happy to marry you. Or, perhaps you thought I would let you marry someone else? Just do me a favour. Ask again in five years when we’re old…”

Atardecer en el centro Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
Sunset in the city centre            Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia


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