People are people no matter where you go. Even though some customs, languages, skin colors, dress and religions are different, we are the same. We enter and leave this world in the same manner. We have the same kind of emotions across the world; some are sad, some happy, some love and some hate. I haven’t been to every place on our big green and blue planet but I have been walking up and down on the face of it for long enough to know all the simple truths. Yes, in Ecuador, it is as I write.
When men have families and don’t have work to provide for their needs, they are troubled by their plight. Their expressions and body language reveal their anguish. When your baby needs milk or your daughter needs medicine or your son needs pants and your wife needs shoes to replace the ones that are full of holes that she wears everyday anyway; it’s on your mind. Right there. Front and center. All day. Everyday. It’s relentless. It nags at you like a strong wind, tugging and pulling at your heart strings that no jacket or windbreaker will be protecting. You want to give your family what they need but you can’t, you have no money because you have no job. So you seek work.
In Ecuador, you don’t fill out an application on the Wal-Mart computer and then kick back with your buds waiting for that telephone to start ringing. You don’t necessarily fill out a paper application at a business, send them an e-mail and try to get an interview either. Some people are fortunate and have a professional job that pays well or good enough to have a quality of life that is acceptable. The vast majority do not.
As I approached Plazoletta San Francisco a few days ago, there were several hundred men milling about the eastern end past the Otovolan Market. They are all looking for work. Other men who need their services drive by to see if there is anyone they might want to hire that day or perhaps for some longer period of employment. A few are hired, most go home without work. Sometimes the men who seek employment have a particular skill to offer over just simple manual labor. In that case, they sometimes have large canvas tote bags with them that carry the tools of their respective trades. Often, they may take out a tool and hold it so that those hiring can recognize them as tradesmen of sorts. An example is that a carpenter often holds up a level. A mason may have his trowel in hand.
In my photograph, the man with the red shirt had been holding up a level. The man who is standing has a tape measure on his belt. All three of them have that facial expression and body language that to me conveys some desperation in their search for employment. I watch as they cast their furtive glances in all directions, necks craning, tenseness etched on their faces. They hope to spot a potential employer checking them out in the crowd. They don’t want to go home, they want to work. They need the money. Their families need shelter, clothing, food and drink. I’m talking about the basics, there are no extravagances. These needs are the bottom rungs for the ladder of “Maslow’s Need Hierarchy”.
I see it everyday, all day. Applying a broad but accurate brush stroke, Ecuadorians are hard workers. There is not always work to be had though, so many suffer. Jobs are gifts, opportunities for us to take so that we may make provision for ourselves and those who are close to us or in need. It is a blessing to be able to work as those without a job will tell you. It keeps me in the thankful mode, always.
That’s my story. Espero que te guste!!