Friday, June 1, 2012

Orphans all grow up

Chronologically there are a other posts that should go up before this one, but this one just happened and I wanted to get it typed out and make sure that all of you who have donated and pass a very special "thanks," I just received on to you all as quickly as possible.
I went out for a walk on the beach this morning, took my body board with my just in case the waves were any good. I, as usual, ending up collecting a bunch of cool rocks and shells (what is it about cool rocks and shells that make us pick them up like we have the biggest plans in the world for them?). I plopped down at a spot near the shade to take a look at my collection. I've been on this spot of beach a lot of have pretty much been the only person on the beach for long periods of time. Today there was a little more activity than usual, but still calm and mostly alone. I had some really cool clear rocks with tinges of yellow and purple and pink-I found out later it's quartz and is supposed to help pull out pain, or bad energy, when placed on a sore spot. (Maybe I'll try it on this weird bite/rash/thing on my foot.)

While I was surveying my collection-and the waves-I was approached by a man, probably in his late 20's early 30's who looks native, who also checked out my collection. I felt a little silly because really...I'm collecting shells I don't know what I'm going to do with. He had come out of a house behind me somewhere and had brought with him some broken pieces of clay. He said they were pottery from an island afar off and that the darker they were in color the older they were. He had some that were almost entirely black. (Me, the ever unromantic skeptic, thought, "that would be pretty cool....if it's true".) He went on to check out some of my rocks and shells as well. This is how learned that my rocks were actually quartz and could help heal me. He spoke very good English, and with only a tinge of an accent that didn't sound Ecuadorian.

He told me a his story. He was an orphan in Quito. He was found wandering the streets on his own when he was about 2 1/2 and placed in a orphanage there (Quito=capital of Ecuador). He wasn't there a terribly long time but he says when something that big happens you remember it. And that I believe. On the streets alone at 2? Yeah, you're gonna have some memories of that, and of the orphanage too I'm sure, which he said he did. He was adopted by a couple in Quebec, Canada, explaining he speaks French better than English or Spanish. Now the tiny bit of accent makes sense. Although I'm sure his English and Spanish are just fine. At least his English was perfect.

He saw the burn on my knees from the yesterday and asked if I'd like some aloe for it. Yes, please. (I'm burnt enough that and bending and creasing of the skin stings, but it's not the worst burn I've ever had...guess I was body boarding much longer yesterday than I realized. I thought it was about an hour, turns out it was closer to 2+ hours.) We went to the house he'd come out of and met the owners, a couple of Minnesota, and he cut me a piece of aloe off one of the plants growing nearby. God is so smart to make aloe grow in places where the sun is the strongest :)--you know beaches, desserts, etc. He showed me around the grounds a bit and we went to the top of a small lighthouse attached the main building on the grounds. As you can imagine, the view was terrible :-P. He pointed out some land he owns nearby and hopes to turn into a rental place with surf lessons, etc. Very cool for him. Said his mom and grandma came from Canada just this past February to come visit.

He says that his mom knew when she met him that one day he would end up back in Ecuador. He is of Incan decent and very much looks native to Ecuador. Funny how mom's just know some things. He said when he came back he spent time in Quito, including a night in the orphanage. He also traveled in the jungle and round about some of the places his ancestors would have come from. I don't think he knows who his biological parents are and I'm guessing he knows his ancestry by his features, very "typical" he says of Incan people. And I would agree he looks very much like the indigenous people I've met.

It was a nice morning stroll, and it was an interesting conversation. It was nice to hear about his plans and about how he'd overcome some of his "holes" from being an orphan. And he talked about his supportive family and his one white brother but he also still refers to the orphans here in Ecuador as his brothers and sisters. 

As I was leaving he said, "thank you for taking care of my brothers and sisters" and did a hand to mouth kiss towards me in gratitude. I thought since so many of you are helping me out with taking care of his "brothers and sisters" that I should pass that thank you on to you. This man speaks gratefully of the opportunities he had growing up and all that he knows from growing up in Canada that he wouldn't have ever known, or had the chance to know growing up here. He was apparently a swim champion in Canada and was able to compete quite a bit world wide. He also attributes his size (he's not much taller than me but he's bigger than most Ecuadorians) to growing up elsewhere :). That one may or may not be true but certainly his education, his family, and a lot of other experiences he's been able to have would been have been much less likely had he grown up in an orphanage in Ecuador. He does seem like a very well-adjusted and appreciative man.

And my sunburn feels a ton better already. Thanks for the aloe, Pablo!


Amy said...

Thanx for sharing this story Amy!

Michelle Elise said...

I wish I'd discovered this blog before now - love your writing and your adventures!