Posts tagged ‘seniors in Ecuador’

Meeting Cesar, a 102 Year Old Ecuadorian in Perfect Health

I enjoyed a very Good Friday.

I worked on projects in the a.m. and at 12:15 walked in the rain from the Zona Roja to Cuenca’s El Centro. Since I’m from Los Angeles where it rarely rains, I was reminded of the times I’ve walked in the rain in Paris.

At 1:00 pm I met up with a British teacher of English at a French café on Parque Calderon. The teacher is always fun to talk to; he’s been in Ecuador 17 years and provides me with remarkable insights about what I seem to be experiencing.

When it was time for my British friend to leave and meet up with other friends, an elderly man walked in, accompanied by his family. The family seated him on a bench about 2’ from me. Oh my. I had the biggest smile on my face watching him and listening – his conversation was sharp and clear, his appetite impressive, his cheerful demeanor inviting.  It was meant to be, we met up.

Cesar and his niece

Cesar and his niece

The man’s name is Cesar and he is 102 years old. According to his niece, he does not suffer from any ailments, he is in excellent health. You could tell by his remarkable energy.

Cesar was driven to Cuenca from Guayaquil earlier in the day by his grand-nephew – a 3 hour trip on winding roads – to visit family!!!

I asked how Cesar spent his years, he said he had studied English, was an English teacher but did not work often as there was not a lot of interest in learning English when he was a young man. I asked his niece how he managed to pay for his life if work was sporadic, she said he inherited money to last a life time so he never has felt much stress.  I was wondering, is this one of the secrets to longevity?

Cesar wanted to practice his English with me: Are you married? How much money do you have?

Guendalina con Cesar

Guendalina con Cesar

Cesar is cute……very cute… and was a wonderful gift on this day (as was the chance to see my British friend again).

Happy Easter Cesar!! And thank you; you and your generation are an inspiration!

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March 30, 2013 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Meeting Lively Senior Citizens in Saraguro, Ecuador

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!!

December 16, 2012 at 3:37 am 1 comment


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