When The Heart Knows, The Talent Grows


Dateline: Octovalo, Ecuador


In the tiny restaurant beside the railroad tracks, our band of adventurers had our first dinner. Popcorn is served with every soup course. Potatoes and beans prevail. Chicken is the offered meat… notwithstanding the hens and peeps walking across the rails. Three young men come to showcase their instruments and indigenous music. Fascinating. Intricate.


But it is only the next day, when we go to the tiny house/studio of the musicians’ leader, I learn of his foray into making instruments and then teaching at the school. Juan’s eyes gleam with pride as he handles a guitar made from the shell of an armadillo. Bamboo stalks, carefully chosen and seasoned, transform into notes that surely the Greek god Pan might have breathed. We discover he taught himself how to make and mold the instruments. He is probably the first music teacher in the village.


That he loves what he does is clear. He has created his life around his talent. How many times might I downplay a talent to fall into the routine of my life? Something to ponder.

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