Lloa is a small, remote village, South of the Pichincha Volcano, which is the Western boundary of the Ecuador Capital, Quito. Like all cities, towns and villages it was built around a church and a central park.
I treasure opportunities to visit such rural areas because there is a purity in their life and struggle.
A local greeted me as I got out of the car and, with much enthusiasm, promoted the fine dining at a near-by restaurant. - Keep in mind that what is fine dining varies in interpretation.
As I circled the park, looking for photo opportunities, I saw an old woman sitting on the sidewalk beside what looked to be a small pile of straw. A younger lady sat on a bench in front of her, and a dog slept nearby. I went and sat on the bench to converse, curious as to what the two were doing.
The two were clearly very poor indigenous people.
The old woman had a ready smile. There was life in her eyes. Her hands were large for a woman, almost as if swollen from years of hard, manual labour. She explained, as she demonstrated, how she took handfuls of wheat and rubbed them against a brick to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then, she picked out each, individual grain that she used for her daily meal or sold if she had a surplus. The younger woman, apparently her daughter, sat with her but contributed little to her mother’s effort.
Imagine spending day after day sitting on the sidewalk picking grains of wheat in order to live. The senior woman was a dear sole who seemed to not think of hardship; but, just got on with her chore. Her congeniality graced her, and I treasured my moments with her.
It took only a few more minutes to walk through the rest of the town before heading on my way. In several places, the sidewalk was appropriated by residents to dry various food grains in the sun. Doing this is common. I’ve seen piles of grain spread on the flat roof of a house and on the side of paved highways around the countryside. Several places also sold raw milk in whatever containers they could find.
It was a good day !
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