One of the problems with living in a small fishing village is that occasionally it is hard to find groceries or other items we need in town. Our local baker Jesus recently moved with his family to Tosaguas and we were sad to see him leave as we bought our fresh rolls and buns from him three or four times a week.
For the last few weeks I have been riding over to San Jacinto where there are two panaderias (bakeries) to get our rolls. Unfortunately yesterday I timed my ride poorly and arrived in San Jacinto after noon. Most of the shops in town close up around lunch time and sometimes stay closed until two or later. As luck would have it both of the bakeries in San Jacinto were closed for lunch and I had to decide whether to ride back and return later or wait a bit and see if one would open.
While I was waiting for a bakery to open my attention was drawn to two boys who were playing in the street in front of a restaurant. The boys were sorting through a large pile of cut bamboo and taking out cut pieces of plastic. One boy looked to be about five or six years old, but the other was perhaps three or four.
The boys were systematically sorting all of the pieces of plastic tubing from the pile of cut bamboo pieces and carrying them to a new pile. I figured that the boys’ father had assigned them that chore. The younger boy in the blue tee-shirt was especially cheerful and was singing some improvised song about palitos as he raced back and forth between the piles.
It turns out that the boys are cousins and the parents of the older boy were eating lunch in the restaurant. They came out and called their son to the car to return to Portoviejo. I was trying to get candid shots of the boys, but when the parents saw me they did as most ecuatorianos do – they called the boys to come pose for a picture. Ecuatorianos are generally not camera shy!
After the family left for Portoviejo the younger boy continued to carry the “palitos” (which means something like – little sticks) around and played improvised games with the palitos. His father stepped out of the restaurant and apparently told the boy to put the palitos back in the main pile where the garbage men would come to dispose of them.
My little friend looked disappointed for a moment, but dutifully turned to and began scooping up the palitos again moving them back into the trash pile.
In just a few minutes it was apparent the boy had resumed some sort of game in his mind as he sang his little song and vigorously threw the palitos back into the pile of bamboo. For a three or four year old, the boy was a good little worker!
When the boy was almost finished with his game/chore he looked up and saw that I was still taking pictures.
That one last shot of his impish smiling face made the delay worth my time and filled me with renewed joy and appreciation for the happy spirit of the people who surround us here in Ecuador!
Life is good…
Oh, one more thing – I spoke with Anibal (I think that is the correct spelling of his name) who runs a small bakery in San Alejo and he plans to move into Jesus’ old downtown location and open a new bakery next Monday. So we will have fresh rolls and sweets close at hand again by next week.
Life is good in Ecuador!