Public display of affection is a Cuenca tradition

Sep 6, 2020 | 2 comments

One of the many head games I indulge in while we wait my turn to be back among my friends is dreaming about what I yearn for and miss most passionately in my neighborhood. High on my list is the public display of affection.

I never tire seeing dads carrying their babies like a bundle of flowers, and moms, mimicking a cathedral docent, shambling along while softly lecturing children who are clutching a hem or hand as they make headway along the crowded sidewalk. It is one of my earliest surprises when I moved here, and remains one of my fondest. This simple, daily exercise of public affection underscores the Ecuadorian standard of consideration for others that is central to daily life — and holds dominion over more mundane attachments, like yakking on a cell phone or staring at a Facebook page.

Public demonstration of unreserved caring for kin, neighbors, and loved ones is a mantra only whispered where I hail from, and not always welcome; that is a shame. Being surrounded by daily expressions of love demonstrated by the people of Cuenca is enchanting.

And, how ‘bout them park benches? Sly teenagers are stealing kisses, older folks planning to marry are entangling their dreams and limbs, while seniors, comfortable as alpaca fleece, are warmed both by holding hands and commenting on the bundles of snuggling lovers.

It is inspiring.

I cannot recall all of the many acts of loving kindness that cupped me, that drew my blood to the surface, enticing me to become an active member of this community, but I am thankful for the opportunity to invest myself once again in the daily goings-on of Cuenca.

Fortunately for all of us, Cuenca attracts many creative people who choose to continue practicing their field of expertise by developing programs and investing in the creation of innovative applications vital to improving our lives.

Such is the case with Abby Osman.

Abby is investing in Cuenca on a molecular level. She understands that the bloodline of Cuenca is, in fact, blood. And, she has taken it upon herself to develop a volunteer registry of folks willing to share their blood with those in critical need of a transfusion. You can participate in this essential service by simply contacting and filling out a short Red Cross ( required questionnaire (65+ seniors need not apply), regarding basic health, age, and, of course, blood type. Once you have it, contact Abby.

This is one of the most important exercises in community participation I’ve learned of recently, and one of the most exhilarating.

Imagine how satisfying it would feel to be given the opportunity to save a life. I’m betting It would be, to borrow a phrase from two of my most inspirational heroes, “Most excellent!” Abby can be reached via email:

Robert Bradley

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