Reposted w/ permission of Margarita Goodhart - Otavalo, ECUADOR Resident for 35 yrs - 10 APR 2013:
This is something that I have posted about 10 times, but I see there
are new members and readers here all the time....I shall post it
again....the truth rings here....please try to understand it!
are certain things about Ecuador that have gone on for decades and
perhaps centuries. We gringos cannot change these things, they will
always exist. Noise, Trash, Corruption, bad biz ethics, lack of being on
time, and many other things.
This is Ecuador, South America. Do not
think that any one of you can come here and make changes, the country
will resent it. And once again, I will reprint an important passage from
an important book.
This very poignant quote, that Nicholas
Crowder has used in the introduction of his book, Culture Shock, is
taken from Walker Lowry's "Tumult At Dusk: Being an Account of Ecuador,"
written in the early '70s and is unfortunately out of print at this
..I shall copy it here for all to read, as I believe it is good
'food for thought.'
"During his visit to Ecuador, he and his
companions became aware of a murder at a ranch named Ila. They were
concerned, as many North Americans would have been, and thought
something had to be done.
But a Colonel offered this advice:
is right, Senores. Whatever you do you will only make things worse.
Forgive me for saying it but you do not understand this country. You do
not understand its people. You think that because we have houses, cars
and clothes like yours, because we talk of democracy and freedom,
because we read your books, borrow your money, buy your goods, we are
"But we are not. We look like you, sometimes we talk like you,
but we do not think like you. The difference, Senores, is not great but
it is important. If you do not see it, the things you do in this
country will be wrong.
You will only make trouble. Your motives will be
good but you will always be misunderstood. You will try to make friends
and find only enemies. You will be disappointed. You will condemn this
country. Or you will make fun of it. You will go home and say this
country is ridiculous, that everything is hopeless.
"But who are
you to say, you who have never understood us? Senores, try to
understand. Look at this country with open eyes believing only what you
see. Look at our people. Look at our history. Look at our land. Do this,
Senores. Do not worry about Ila. Ila is not your affair. Adios,
(Reprinted from "Culture Shock! Ecuador", Nicholas Crowder).
If you are going to Ecuador and you want an insight into the
hearts and mind of the Ecuadorian culture be sure to get a copy of
Nicholas Crowder’s book (Culture Shock Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette) ..also, be sure to visit with the owners of Ali Shungu Mountain Lodge,
Frank and Margarita.