Ocean, rivers, desert,
Verdant mountains, volcanic rock,
Whales – millipedes.
Humming birds – great parrots,
Changing surfaces – changing people.
Large cities – tiny villages,
Supermarkets – open markets,
Stairwell shops – modern malls,
Sidewalk cafes – food courts,
Street venders – department stores
Flower gardens – dirt yards.
Painted and unpainted homes dot the land
Mansions, high-rise apartments,
Cinderblock, adobe, cardboard dwellings and huts,
Painted gray and black by the earth,
Or by cheerful people
Green, pink, orange, or blue.
Cement highways – dirt streets – narrow pathways,
People riding in cars, airplanes, buses,
Trains, vans, pickups,
Ships, boats, dugouts,
Or on burros and horses,
Some walking, walking, walking.
Agile young soccer players competing on dirt,
Cement, or sparse yellow grass surfaces,
And on sandy beaches,
Professionals playing in giant
Cripples with canes, crutches, wheelchairs.
People spread across the land
Smiling young faces with sparkling white teeth,
Sober, wrinkled, toothless, faces.
Crying babies, shouting venders, whispering breezes,
Brass bands – classical orchestras,
Traditions of home learning,
Training from the fathers and ancients,
Schools of private or public education.
Men, women, and children working the land,
Terraced corn, beans, and potato patches,
Spacious rice paddies – Cane fields,
People filling shops and offices,
Wearing jeans, suits, or native dress.
Living off the land,
Living off the streets,
Clean and dirty.
Tourists looking on,
Old people looking back,
Young people looking forward!
Ecuador, a land of contradictions,
Ecuador, a land in flux,
A place to live, love, and serve.
Traveling we experienced something of this land’s
Ugliness and beauty,
Sound and silence,
Perfume and odor.
Then we returned to the peace,
The studied formal gardens,
The refuge of the temple grounds,
Here we found the same peace
That the people of this land find as
They come one by one
Family by family,
To worship in our Father’s house!
Cerita M. Hewett
August 16, 2009
(revised Oct. 2014)