A relatively small country (256,400 square kilometres) with a small number of inhabitants (17,400,000), but which offers a great climatic diversity linked to the three regions: coastal, Andean and Amazonian, as well as the natural treasure of the Galapagos. The population is also varied: whites, Indians, blacks and mestizos make up the majority of the population.
I live in Guaranda (2,700 m a.s.l.), a town of 30,000 inhabitants located in the inter-Andean area and overlooked by the Chimborazo volcano (6,263 m), which, measured from the centre of the Earth, is considered “the closest point to the sun”. The main activities of the city are linked to administrative offices, commerce and school centres, while agriculture and livestock breeding are developed in the surroundings. There are handicraft activities but no industries. It is interesting to see the swarming of the people of the surroundings, with their traditional costumes, who invade the city to sell the products of the countryside and to get supplies.
The Brothers from Spain arrived here in 2000 and run the “Colegio Verbo Divino” with 1,700 pupils. At present, school activities are carried out online, because of the pandemic, but with obvious difficulties linked to the technical means that not everyone has, and to the prolonged situation that discourages the commitment of many. The carnival, the city’s typical entertainment event, has also suffered.
The community is also involved in vocational promotion to encourage local young people to follow in the footsteps of Brother Gabriel. There are currently five Brothers from Ecuador and two from neighbouring Colombia, where we recently lost a young man of 28 to Covid.
I have only recently come to this world: I observe, discover and learn. I work in indigenous pastoral work (catechesis) in small, dispersed centres. To the question: “What are the people like?” I respond with a first impression: friendly but rather reserved. It seems to reflect the weather, which, at a bright glow of the morning sun, turns greyish-opaque during the rest of the day.
Br Luciano Zanini (Semplicemente Fratello)