Stuck in a gulley

Problems, they constantly rained upon his life, sometimes in downpours and sometimes in drizzles, but they always arrived with the right answer, tucked neatly in the arm. 

Camino a Ibarra Carretera Tulcán a Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
On the road to Ibarra          Highway between Tulcán and Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“What do you mean by that? Right now, you’ve completely lost me and left me stuck somewhere, in the middle of a gully. Do me a favour and explain yourself. I can’t understand what you’re talking about!” She answered utterly confused and dejected, staring at him, her face reflecting her anguish.”

“Right now, my dear? What I’m talking about is precisely how, right now, I see the most beautiful woman in the world. The one I love and always dreamed of. And sadly,  I see her full of anguish; she’s distressed and so very worried about the future of her son. But also, if I look back, I can reach out and envision this young girl holding the world in her hand and so full of plans for the future.”

En el parque Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The park           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

He waited for a moment to observe her reaction. As he noticed understanding, quietly reflected in her beautiful eyes, he continued.

“She was so beautiful… that girl I fell in love with so many years ago. Do you know, by any chance, ma’am, whom I’m referring to?”

“Of course, I do, dear. You’re always so kind and so gentle. But, that was a different situation”, she replied, thoughtful, yet slightly reassured.

“You really think so?” he quickly interrupted.

Fachadas y sombras Imbabura, Ecuador
Facades and shadows          IbarraImbabura, Ecuador

“But, those were other times and they’ve become history by now”, she continued, clearly more at ease, and with the slightest hint of a smile on her face.

“And, you do know that histories tend to repeat themselves, my love, since the beginnings of time.”

Volcán Imbabura Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Imbabura Volcano           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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A retrospective oulook

As he contemplated his future, he never lost sight of his past

En el parque Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The park          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

The father set his gaze upon her, with a look that overfilled with tenderness. When he answered, it was in his softest and most endearing voice.

“Let’s consider this carefully, my love. Life isn’t easy, nor is there any reason at all to complicate more than it already is, wouldn’t you agree? You see, just like it happened once to us; now, it’s their turn to grow up. And they’re doing a fine job of it, as it is. Still, if you don’t believe me, look at how they pulled a fast one on both of us, just a little while ago.”

Barrios de Ibarra Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The city’s neighbouhoods          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“But, they want a house… in a tree!” she exclaimed completely distraught.

“Yes, Ma’am. That’s exactly what they want.” He replied looking at her intensely and carefully picking his next words before he continued talking to her.

La calle Flores Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
 Flores Street          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“Let’s consider this carefully, my love. Look, I don’t know the reason why, but, as it turns out, most of us prefer to look ahead, when maybe what we should be doing, at the moment, is to look back, instead.”

El parque de La Merced Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
 La Merced  Park          Ibarra, Imbabura, 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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Rumba on the street

And when they woke… it had all been, but a dream.

Fiesta Ibarra. Imbabura, Ecuador

With flavour          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

The food appeared to be endless, for it was served abundantly and all day and all night. Inside the house, but mostly outside, where the grills were loaded with all types of meats, spicy sausages, and of course, pork rinds. Some of the spits included cuys, a kind of a field mouse, brought in from Pasto, in the south of Colombia, near Ecuador.

La salsa Juayua, Sonsonate, El Salvador
Salsa           Juayua, Sonsonate, El Salvador

The dancing, extended out to the street, to the rhythms of salsa; since there were so many people arriving, they just didn’t fit inside the house. Still today, those days are remembered by the people; and it is said that during the good luck party, not even the street dogs went hungry.

An incontrovertible fact, witnessed by all present; is that as time went by, the dogs wouldn’t touch the corn arepas, even if they were well done, for they had definitely acquired the taste for the meats from the grills.

Rumbeando la calle Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Street rumba          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Till today, when somebody talks about being lucky, the reference is: as lucky as a Marroqui, or also: like a dog, in a rumba from Cali.


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The party

As so it came to pass,  one morning upon waking, he understood that the time had arrived… to try something new

La rumba Ibarra, Imbabura, Evuador

The party           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Meanwhile, the days and their corresponding long nights slowly went by, while the happy family, especially the very happy father of the family, partied non-stop, reveling in the magnificent and mostly spectacular good luck, whom without invitation had decided to splendidly visit the family.

Pasando la voz Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Spreading the word           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Always generous, he shared the celebrations with his neighbors. In the beginning, the guests were only those that lived on their street. But as the word began to spread, soon people arrived from all parts of Cali:

Allegados e indiferentes
Those close and those indifferent          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

those that knew them and those that didn’t, those that were close to them and those that were indifferent; but in the end, it happened that the majority of them only knew that the drinks and the rum were really good, and they were also, on the house.

But, all of them did have one thing in common; they had arrived in time to share in the good luck and the immense new fortune, with the Marroqui family.

Fiesta en la calle
Party on the street          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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At the cocoa farm

And so, carrying but a small pack, he admired the grand immensity of his world

Vista al valle Vilcabamba, Provincia de Loja, Ecuador
Vilcabamba Valley            Loja Province, Ecuador

For the next six months, Oscar worked and helped out with the different chores at the farm owned by Miguel Enrique’s family. He learned many new things about cocoa farming. During those months, he saved all his wages; and by the end of this time, he found himself with a small stash of money.

Mediodía en la calle Cotocachi, Imbabura, Ecuador
Noon on the street           Cotocachi, Imbabura, Ecuador

The world appeared to be so huge and with so much to offer, so many places to discover. Miguel Enrique’s father was very grateful for his involvement while working at the farm. He recommended him to his friends. Some had cattle farms, while others grew different types of crops, and they were scattered in various parts of Ecuador.

El mirador Otavalo, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador
El  Otavalo viewpoint           Otavalo, Imbabura Province, Ecuador

So, Oscar set out to find his place in the world. This was how, on a wonderful sunny Ecuadorian morning, he set forth to the highlands of that beautiful country, as he continued his travels towards the south.



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Aurora’s labours

Kids and pets, just treat them the same.

El valle Valle del Imbabura, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador
In the valley             Imbabura Valley, Imbabura Province, Ecuador


Early next morning, Miguel Enrique, his friend from their days at collage picked up to take him to breakfast.

Early next morning, Miguel Enrique, his friend from their days at collage picked up to take him to breakfast.

Valle Sagrado Valle de Vilcabamba, Provincia de Loja, Ecuador
The Sacred Valley         Vilcabamba Valley, Loja Province, Ecuador


Miguel Enrique remarked how much he would like him to stay and help out with the farm, offering him a job.

As it happened, Aurora, his father’s favorite mare, was pregnant and about to give birth.

De regreso a la finca Valle de Vilcabamba, Provincia de Loja, Ecuador
Back to the farm         Vilcabamba Valley, Loja Province, Ecuador


“You look more nervous than she does, maybe we should ask Aurora to comfort you,” he bantered, laughing in a good mood. “Take it easy. It may be the first time for both of you, but everything is fine and will be alright. The colt is a little out of position, but nothing to worry about, and that we can’t handle. Happily, with a little help from Aurora; it will all be over and successfully in a short while.” . 


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Arriving at Ibarra

 “Right now and at the moment, I have just arrived from the border,” he began to reply thoughtfully “Which I’m sure many people will truly believe to be quite far away, but still, on this occasion and in my own personal opinion, I have found it to be actually close by.”   (Excerpt from “The treasure”)


En el centro de Ibarra, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador
The colonial quarter              Imbabura Province, Ecuador


A few hours from the border, near a city by the name of Ibarra, he had a friend. His friend studied Agronomy, and they had shared an apartment for a couple of years.


Fachadas Ibarra, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador
Ibarra’s facades            Imbabura Province, Ecuador


Since the first impression, he liked Ibarra enormously. Immediately he noticed a difference in the accent of the people. That and having to chance currency made him realize he had effectively changed countries.

En la plaza Ibarra, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador
At Ibarra’s Plaza         Imbabura Province, Ecuador


He passed his first night out of Colombian lands in the Hotel Barcelona, which overlooked the beautiful Plaza de la Merced. It was an old building and quite agreeable.


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