Meeting Lively Senior Citizens in Saraguro, Ecuador

December 16, 2012 at 3:37 am 1 comment

The senior citizens of Ecuador seem quite remarkable. They have eaten organic food most of their lives, walked to where they needed to go, and used herbal remedies for their maladies. They seem sturdier, and to have lived longer and more healthful lives than many North Americans, despite the fact that Canada and the U.S. have a much higher standard of living.

Those I’ve observed in cities and small towns work, unless quite privileged. Even if living on pensions or with family, they are active, unless disabled by a crippling disease. Some work in order to survive (boomers get ready), you see them on street corners selling religious objects, candles, candies, gum, cookies, and other small items. In Saraguro, they are selling textiles, jewelry, and produce which they pack and carry on their backs.  There are, of course, those who live even more difficult lives, lives of abject poverty. Your heart goes out to all, as it would to elders in any country.

Saraguro Senior Center, Ecuador

Saraguro Senior Center, Ecuador

charming policemen who escorted me to the senior center

charming policemen who escorted me to the senior center

Within minutes of arrival in Saraguro I asked the local policemen, a group of three, if seniors gathered somewhere. They said “yes, we’ll accompany you!” And they did, to the last building at the top of a hill!!  Note the sign above the door, roughly translated as “Gathering for a Better Life!”

I enjoyed a whirlwind visit at the Tecnica del Adulto Mayor (the senior center). The director is Angel, a delightful fellow who eagerly shares about the Monday through Friday gatherings of city elders. Up to 30 arrive daily for conversation, exercise, spinning yarn by hand, other activities, and a warm lunch.

The population of the city is around 30,000 and because of the few minutes I had before driving on to Loja, I did not learn how many seniors live in the area ,what percentage of the population is over 65, who the youngest is, who the oldest is, what their challenges are, etc.  I would have wished to learn more, but I am grateful to have seen the environment and to have felt the lively energy of  the seniors.

The center is small and intimate, perhaps 700 square feet with a small courtyard in the middle. One room has desks and chairs occupied by women spinning wool. In another area you’ll find a group of men chatting away. There’s a kitchen, a bathroom, and the director’s office. The assistant manager is a young woman named Elizabeth who sweetly insisted I try to stay for lunch.

Saraguro senior men

Saraguro senior men

senior lady spinning wool

senior lady spinning wool

other senior ladies

other senior ladies

Elizabeth and the cook

Elizabeth and the cook

Director Angel, Guendalina, Miguel and Angel from the city offices

Director Angel, Guendalina, Miguel and Angel from the city offices

The atmosphere was playful and positive; the experience a pleasure.  The endearing and welcoming people at this center will put a smile on anyone’s face!!

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Entry filed under: Travel blog. Tags: , , .

Delighted by the Town and People of Saraguro, Ecuador!! Loja, jewel of southern Ecuador

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. FJ  |  December 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Excellent article Guendalina!

    Reply

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