By Teresa Drake
I have heard so many horror stories from people about having their pockets picked, being robbed, etc. after an accident or while sitting in a café enjoying the view and a meal. It shames me to admit that it made me afraid of what could possibly happen to me or my husband in an emergency situation. Sometimes I even had nightmares about it and that was disturbing the sense of peace and tranquility we achieved here in Cuenca.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were returning home from the Saturday Mercado at the Empressa Electrica with our produce. About a half block from our apartment, my husband suddenly announced that he cannot move; his knee popped and his mobility was severely compromised.
Thinking he could make it the rest of the way with a cane, I grabbed our bags of groceries and ran back to the apartment. As I grabbed the cane, I told my sister, who is Ecuadorian, that my husband was having a problem with his knee, and out the door I ran, asking her to stay put. She had just gotten out of the hospital after emergency surgery.
As I darted through the gates and headed towards my spouse, I saw a large crowd gathered around a man on the ground. It took two seconds to realize the man was my husband. He had passed out from the pain in his knee. These Ecuadorian neighbors, people to whom I have only said, “Hello,” due to my limited Spanish, immediately came to the aid of my husband and called an ambulance on my behalf. They did their best to calm me and let me know all would be fine.
Those reassuring hugs, pats on the hand, and helping my husband until the ambulance arrived, were nothing short of miracles in my mind. Despite all the horror stories that I had heard, I knew to the contrary that here there be angels.
These people went out of their way to assist, to calm, and to offer aide. We may not have spoken the same language, but our hearts and our spirits communicated just fine. All these people stayed with me until the ambulance arrived and made sure we were safely tucked inside.
My landlord and my Ecuadorian sister, went to the hospital to help us with whatever we needed.
All the horror stories have been put to rest and I now tell people that stories they have heard are not the norm here. Yes, there are challenges. Yes, there can be bad apples like anywhere else. However, unlike anywhere else I have ever been, people here possess kindness, and desire to help, befriend, and welcome you as their friend.
Here there be angels. This is our new home country.