Years ago, cultural anthropologist, Dr. Jeff Salz, led us through an amazing adventure as we hiked the northwest quadrant of the Indian Himalayas. From traveling the highest “navigable” road in the world (you’ve got to be kidding), to encountering the Dalai Lama in the remote monastery of Naiko, to making it across three white water rivers on foot, to discovering an India that few see, we loved it all. Hence, we never hesitated when Jeff proposed a new adventure/inventure: “Come experience the cultures of Ecuador.
Through the next series of articles, join me on the resiliency insights I discovered in this last journey.
It began with the flight into Quito, a city perched at 10,000 feet in the Andes. Sprawling below us, lights stretched across the high mountain floor. A driver for Hacienda Jimenita met us in the dark night, taking us on a bumpy road to the gate of what, the next day, we discovered was a 6th generation hacienda. By morning, family members gathered to discuss their plans for the day while two French bull terriers snored on an antique sofa.
Lesson #1: When the world changes, change what you can but keep what you treasure.
We all know the saying that experiences are of more value than things. But some “things” keep the memories and the experiences alive.
In Hacienda Jimenita, photos abound of the families who lived in this wonderful house. The current residents point to Mama and Poppa, Abuela and Abuelo (grandparents), to baptism pictures and favorite horses. You sense the history and the work that continues to create an eco-resort just outside the bustling city of Quito.
Surely, it would have been easier in some respects to quit the ancient land, to give up building, repairing, and building again. It would have been easier to build up a large architectural practice (which at least one of the brother’s has) but then, who protects and safeguards the land?