Power of Community

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

Power of Community

La Calera Communty HouseComing together as a community is a power that many do not practice today, but it is a tradition among the indigenous of Ecuador.  In the Cotacachi area are many communities where indigenous people live and  carry on the ways of their ancestors.  Today you will see a few tell tale differences with modern things like cell phone usage and vehicles and some modern conveniences, but despite these things there is little difference in how the community is structured compared to years ago. When there is a matter concerning the community, a meeting is called and everyone is invited to participate.

Last Sunday I was invited to such a meeting concerning the water irrigation project that Circle on the Square and others are contributing to in order to improve the water availability in La Calera community. The initiative was started by Phyllis Cooper, longtime resident and active community supporter from the United States.  In the meeting people took turns standing and addressing their fellow citizens.  It was a respectful sharing with airing of feelings and perspectives on where the project stood at the time and what was needed going forward.  No confrontation, no animosity, some laughter, and I believe some agreement took place in a bit over an hour.  Workmen, young mothers with babies, old men and women, and children filled the space.

I wanted to take a picture, but since I was a guest I was not sure it was appropriate.  Instead I took a shot of one side of the Community Center with a horse in the foreground and  mountains in the background.  I must say I was impressed at how cohesive feeling the meeting was.  This is not to say that all meetings are that way, but I was struck by how orderly and friendly and united the people seemed, and the few visitors present were all greeted and treated with respect.  I found that to be refreshing since many community meetings in the U. S. are full of contentiousness, divisiveness and controversy — or worse. In the U. S. there is not a lot of peaceful coming together such as I witnessed that day in La Calera. I think U.S. citizens could benefit from getting back to being able to see each other as one community again.

3 Comments

  1. Although my forebears are never described as indigenous to the US, they did arrive long before the American Revolution and continued to worship in their own unique ways and today some continue to keep such ways alive. Yes, we are the Pennsylvania Dutch and we have changed with the times…but cooperation is standard practice and taught at birth. Unfortunately, modern ways attack our roots as much as anything else…the easy life seems great…but some i know yearn to go back to the past…perhaps they are arriving in Ecuador now??? 🙂

  2. Laylita,I stumbled upon your blog when I was trynig to find a recipe for Ecuadorian Fritada. I lived in Ecuador in 2011 and I miss it so much!! I made your Fritada recipe and it tasted just like I was back at a little store front near my old apartment where I would get Fritada about 3-4 times a week! I was so shocked at how well it turned out! I refer to your blog quite often now. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!!

    • Hi Gordos, sorry for my late reply to your comment. Glad you found a great recipe! By the way, you addressed me as Laylita and I am not she! I’m Julie Powell and you were commenting on my blog entry about working together as a community. Take care.

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