This is day eight of the decree for all Ecuadorians to stay at home. The only thing I miss so far has been my daily walks. Two of the sisters of the family who run the hotel chose to isolate here because they would not be permitted to travel to the hotel from home each day. They thought this would be a good time to do extra cleaning, laundry, etc. while the hotel was closed to guests. I had already stocked my supplies for at least two weeks (I later learned the isolation is for three weeks) so I was surprised by the knock on my door the first day of home isolation. Isabelita had a tray of breakfast food.
“Good morning. Breakfast?” She said in her best Google translation of Spanish to English.
As her sister and she were staying in the hotel and had to eat and use the food in the restaurant so it would not spoil, I was invited to join them each day.
Isabelita loves to cook so at each meal I am presented with traditional Ecuadorian dishes, mote pillo, fried yuca, arveja con guineo, and my favorite, sango. Today as a change of pace she prepared spaghetti carbonara. All were excellent!
The city of Loja has decreed that persons over sixty have to arrange for a younger person to do their errands because the covid-19 virus is more harmful to seniors. Ecuador has always treated its senior citizens well with discounts on bus fare and air travel, shorter senior lines at banks and grocery stores, etc.. It is therefore no surprise the city wishes to protect us from the virus.
Tomorrow the two women will go to the market to restock needed supplies. Their brother will drive them because it you have the proper permit you can drive on even or odd days based upon the last number of your license plate. I remember during the 70’s gas crisis in the US a similar system was used to purchase gasoline.
As I have partaken of their food for the last eight days, I made a financial offer to help with the groceries.
Kerily opened the translation app on her phone. “We are ashamed to ask for money.” She wrote.
Since my return to Loja a bit short of four months ago, the family who runs the hotel along with the staff have treated me as part of their family. I have been invited to join them in the Carnival celebration, birthday parties, beers after work with the staff and desserts appearing at my door. In addition to our meals we spend an hour each day in language exchange helping each other. I am a member of the family.
I am blessed and honored to have been adopted by two families in Loja. I open the phone and type into my translation app, “There is no need to feel ashamed. What is mine is also yours. We are Family.”
Kerily smiles and accepts my donation.