Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Aspect about the Spoken Word in Ecuador

National traits symptomize aspects to a country. Since I arrived in Ecuador in October 2015, I´ve discovered traits about Ecuadorian people I find engaging. My landlords invited me to their home to celebrate Christmas. I had a wonderful time with their extended family of grandparents, sons and daughters, cousins and in-laws. I found they laughed, danced and celebrated with an exuberance and humor uncommon to my experience in the United States. One common trait to Ecuador is the people here know how to have fun and enjoy themselves.

Tunnel entrance in Guayaquil city.

Another aspect I´m finding true is that in Ecuador people share a sense of collectivity. The good of the community is valued. Networks of friends aid to surmount individual, difficult life circumstances. People ask for help from one another without feeling embarrassed to either do so or to have to do so.

The health of the country environmentally speaking is valued as a whole, as well as the health of individuals. Signs on freeways remind people to not contaminate the water. Packs of cigarettes display graphic pictures of cancerous lungs or amputated legs. Quite a few Ecuadorian friends of mine have remonstrated against my smoking cigarettes, clearly concerned for my physical well-being. Not so in the United States, where friends mostly consider another´s smoking to be none of their business.

One aspect common to the people in the United States is to place a high value on good work. Most every employee and business in America strives to produce genuine quality products and excellent customer service. In Ecuador my experience has been this aspect is valued to a lesser degree. I had invitations to a party printed and the business failed to include the address to my apartment. At an upscale restaurant, even, the waiter failed to bring all I had ordered. A representative of an internet service provider came to my apartment one morning, investigated and then declared my location made a situation such that service would be impossible to provide. In the afternoon, a different rep from the same company made an unscheduled visit and told me that service could be provided.
Street scene in Guayaquil city

Among Americans as a whole a high value is placed on the content of the spoken word. It is considered important in the United States to do what you say you are going to do. I´m finding to my consternation this aspect is less valued as a whole in Ecuador. An Ecuadorian fellow I know suggested we meet to get together and talk. I agreed and invited him to dine with friends the next Friday at my apartment. He didn´t show at the appointed time. He didn´t show at all and didn´t call to say he would not. The same type of instance happened with another friend I was to meet at a coffee house. In a third example, an Ecuadorian friend asked for a favor. I agreed.  We set up a time and place to meet. I waited in vain for him to show, and I waited in vain for a telephone call from him to explain why he wasn´t there.

As a result, I am enjoying those engaging aspects to Ecuador. As well, when I find a business that does quality work, I make special note of it. Furthermore, I find that if I am to live in Ecuador, I must become less trusting.