Tuesday, Apr 26, 2016
It is our last full day in Bahia. It has been 10 days since the quake living at the farm. This bamboo railed, thatched roof, front porch has been our place to eat together, share our stories, ask questions, figure out plans, relax and unwind when able, and at the end of each busy day try to sleep. It has been exceedingly hot since the earthquake and this porch has been our source of shade in the day and protection from the rain at night. In the dark, humid stillness of the night it has been the place where I think about what has happened, is happening, and may happen as me and my family continue our journey in Ecuador.
We are heading into town to say goodbye to our friends who are still here. I feel sad having to say goodbye. It represents the closing curtain of a lifestyle and way of being that I have embraced with part of my soul and enjoyed so very much. When I take an account of many of my friends here it looks like this:
Already left: Paul and Janet, Roy and Melody, Norbert, Glenys, and Rylan, Linsley.
Whose left: Dave and Victoria, Henry, Luis, Tjaard and Gabriella, Maik and Kathy, Jim, Dave and Miriam, Don and Donna
Life is dynamic. My experience of it continues like a stick riding a river’s surface traveling across a vast expanse. Maybe I am moving and passing new terrain, maybe I am lodged along the edge and observe things move by me, maybe I float calm and peaceful in a pool made from the river’s widening, maybe I fold back alongside of places I have already been, now a new view, or maybe I am caught in rapids as I bounce and plunge through erratic and unpredictable waters. Maybe, life’s dynamic is like this.
Regardless of where I am along the river now, it will be a good day; I will make it so.
Heidi, Easton, and I walked from the mall into town. A large portion of the malecon running along the river has collapsed. There are now benches and light posts sticking up from the sand and rubble in the river’s edge. We stopped at an eating stand along the river. Gabriella, our Spanish teacher, had told us they had the best breakfast soup. It is made with tuna, yucca, onions, and seasonings. We were hungry so we got some. It was very good. The building is just a box on blocks with wood tables and plastic chairs set around it. Low tech, and the perfect place to carry on business as usual. I’m so glad we got to try it.
We walked through town for our last time. We went by our Mercado, the farmer’s market I so enjoy. I saw my friend here. I still don’t know his name, but he and I try to communicate and “chat” every time I come by his stand. In one of our attempts to converse I did get that he has a son either in the US or was in the US. Other than that our conversation has been on the fruits and vegetables he is selling for the day.
The Mercado building is damaged so all the farmers and vendors have tables set up along the street in front of it. As we approached my friend he had a big smile for us, and then he offered each of us a fruit from those on the table he was selling. He only had about 15 of them to sell, which looked like all he had to sell today, but he gave us each one to enjoy. I am going to miss this man and shopping in this market.
We walked to Tjaard and Gabriella’s home to see them. This is the first time I have been in their home and it is nice. The building is mostly concrete, and although you enter at street level, there is a narrow stairwell to go up to get into the living area. Because of all the after shocks, Tjaard and Gabriella have been sleeping outside in a tent.
I asked them what their plans are. They have family in Bahia and at least for now, they are staying. Tjaard said they also need a break, and want to get out of town for a bit. They may visit us in Cuenca.
After saying goodbye to our Spanish teachers and friends, we walked over to H Bar. At Henry’s we said good bye to David, Victoria, and Henry. David and Victoria have decided to leave Bahia and sail to French Polynesia, after that they will continue to Hawaii, arriving in Nov or Dec. Henry is going to keep his place open as long as he can. It is important to him to keep people employed and working, and serve the people who remain in Bahia for the clean up.
I feel sad leaving, for our last time, this town I’ve called home . Heidi, Easton, and I climbed into a cab waiting on the dusty street and headed back to the farm.
As we drove toward the farm we ran into a traffic jam on the road outside of town. Someone made a decision to set up an aid station that was handing out food supplies in this spot. Local people were riding buses, taxis, and in other vehicles to get out here to get what was being handed out. The location made no sense to me whatever.
When we arrived back, Donna had arranged for a pedicure for her and Heidi to enjoy on the last day at the farm. I poured them both some white wine and after an intense 10 days since the quake, they enjoyed some pampering.