Culture

11 Things Family Members Smuggle From Ecuador

What’s a trip to the motherland if not to bring back 398523 luggages full of recuerdos to give to all your friends and family? Each country has its fill of necessary souvenirs, and here are some things you will most definitely bring back from Ecuador.

1. Panama Hat

While the name can be confusing, the Panama Hat actually originates in Ecuador and got its nickname and popularity after gold prospectors used the traditional hats against the sun along the Panama Canal. The hats have since become a strong tradition in the country.

2. Llama Keychains

If your family is from Ecuador or Peru, you’ve had one of these cuties hanging off your keychain at some point.

3. Embroidered Shirts

@andreagilerkids #ecuadorianstyle #ecuadorianshirt ? Gracias @santoslola28

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Nope, H&M has got nothing on these details.

4. Alpaca…everything

To the best guy I know. Happy birthday pops. Rockin his new alpaca sweater from Ecuador.

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These are the warmest things on the planet.

5. Café

This stuff is the G.O.A.T.

6. Bracelets

Like our Colombian primos, Ecuadorians love to rock the yellow, blue and red around their wrists.

7. Wooden Decor

Ecuadorians love their woodwork and an entire town, San Antonio, in Northern Ecuador, is sustained by their artisans gorgeous works of art. They kind of love religious carvings, so this is good spot to get a Virgen for abuelita.

8. Tapestries

Need a new wall hanging in every color imaginable? Tablecloth? Rug? Ecuador has you covered.

9. Pacari Chocolate Bars

Orgánico y orgasmico. Gracias @ferrivarola por fomentar mi espiritu creativo… a agitar las neuronas…#Pacari #organico #ElBaqueano #ideas

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So… Ecuador has some of the best cacao beans in the world and Pacari chocolate is super extra with their variety of flavors so everyone will find something they like.

10. Ponchos

En el mercadito de los ponchos ?? @ferchoescobarv #Otavalo #Ecuador

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Even if you live in humid Florida, you will find a reason to bring back these amazing, one-of-a-kind handmade ponchos straight from the Andes.

11. Ecuadorian Muñecas

Maybe I am a bad half Ecuadorian but I still don’t know the name of these tiny, decked out dolls that my tíos brought back for me EVERY.TIME. But aren’t they sooo adorable?!

12. Honorable Mention: Balsa Wood Crayons

Is this just an Ecuador thing? I have received a few bundles of these throughout my life and have never really seen them anywhere else. Anyway, they’re suuuper cute and unique gifts.

READ: Here Are The 9 Stages Of Road Trips You Go Through Every Time You Travel With Your Family

What else did you bring back when you or your family traveled to Ecuador?

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Ecuador Is Struggling To Combat The Covid-19 Crisis As Victims Are Being Buried In Cardboard Boxes

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Ecuador Is Struggling To Combat The Covid-19 Crisis As Victims Are Being Buried In Cardboard Boxes

Eduardo Maquilon / Getty

Around the world, governments are trying to figure out how best to respond to the pandemic – often with limited resources and little planning. Hospitals and morgues are at capacity – or in many cases, overflowing with Covid-19 patients.

In Latin America, Ecuador has emerged as the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. The country has been hit especially hard as the government struggles to respond to the growing crisis.

Many fear Ecuador could be a frightening sign of what’s to come as the virus begins to spread across Latin America, a region that so far has fewer cases than the US or Europe – but also has more severe shortages of doctors, hospital beds and ventilators.

Ecuador is giving a glimpse into the pandemic’s potential impact on Latin America.

Credit: Luis Perez / Getty Images

In Ecuador’s Guayas province, where the bustling city of Guayaquil is located, the crisis is so bad and hospitals and morgues so overwhelmed, that bodies are being left in the streets.

The unfolding disaster in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, offers an ominous look at what could soon spread to other parts of Latin America – where inequality, weak public services and fragile economies are common.

“What we’re seeing in Guayaquil is what can happen in most of South America’s large cities, where pockets of cosmopolitan richness coexist with widespread poverty,” said Alexandra Moncada, director of international aid organization CARE, in an interview with the New York Times.

A country of 17 million, Ecuador has one of the highest official rates of coronavirus infections, and deaths, per capita in Latin America.

Ecuador’s official coronavirus death count rose to 272 on Thursday, the latest number available — higher than its larger and more populous neighbors Peru and Colombia.

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, has warned that the real figure is much higher, but that because testing is limited the true extent of infections is impossible to determine.

The government is working on measures to accommodate the growing number of fatalities, according to Reuters. They’re preparing an emergency burial ground on donated land in Guayaquil and plan to bury about 100 people a day in the area, which can accommodate about 2,000 plots. Space has also been made available at two public cemeteries in the area that can hold roughly 12,000 plots.

Meanwhile, hard-to-watch videos and images on social media show a growing humanitarian disaster that’s taking its toll on victim’s families.

Credit: Marcos Pin / Getty Images

With health services, cemeteries and funeral homes overstretched and a strict curfew restricting movement, collecting and burying the dead has become a critical problem in Guayaquil.

Videos posted on social media in recent days show families burying their loved ones in fields or keeping bodies in their homes for days as they wait for them to be collected by the authorities. Lines of vehicles with coffins in the trunks or strapped to roofs have also been seen forming outside cemeteries.

Relatives who have lost loved ones say burying their family members is as agonizing as trying to get them care.

Hundreds died at home, left in family living rooms for days before overworked coroners could retrieve their bodies. Those who perished in hospitals were put in chilled shipping containers that serve as makeshift morgues.

The lucky ones are placed in cardboard caskets because wooden coffins have become too expensive or scarce. Their relatives then wait for hours outside cemeteries in pickup trucks to bury their dead.

Authorities admit that the situation is out of control but that they’re committed to providing a “dignified burial.” However, the current crisis in Ecuador is a heartbreaking reminder of what many countries, especially across Latin America, are facing as the pandemic reaches their borders.

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This Ecuadorian Wants Girls To Feel Comfortable With Their Period, So She Wrote A Beautiful Book To Walk Them Through It

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This Ecuadorian Wants Girls To Feel Comfortable With Their Period, So She Wrote A Beautiful Book To Walk Them Through It

VientresLibresEC / Facebook

Do you remember having your period for the first time? Were you relieved, scared, or confused? Did you think you could bleed to death, or believe that you couldn’t swim or go to gym class? Did you hear someone make joking references to women being “nasty” and think, “I’ll die of embarrassment if anyone knows?” Did you feel like you were prepared? This Ecuadorian writer wants girls to reconcile with their bodies, so she wrote a book to walk girls through menstruation.

In a world that is increasingly progressive, menstruation is often still a taboo subject.

More often than not, what information girls do hear around their bodies is often negative or incorrect, and even school health classes that discuss the subject often focus on the theoretic and biological “systems” that make it work, without ever touching on the real, practical experience of a monthly cycle. As a result a girl’s first period is still likely to be disconcerting for her.

Ecuadorian academic and menstrual educator-turned-author Paulina Vásquez Quirola wrote a book on the subject.

Taking readers on a fantastical trip between awakened states and lucid dreams she tells the story of a girl’s reconciliation with her changing body.

The book, published in Spanish, walks girls through the mystical celebrations of the female body.

From classroom scenes, where periods are shamed, to celebrations in mystical women’s circles, the book offers an alternative to the negative connotations that menstruation still holds in schools when it comes to periods.

The book talks about the ancient Andino wisdom surrounding menstruation.

‘Tribu de Mujeres’, illustrated by José Rafael Delgado, explains the wisdom of the Andes transmitted by elderly women like its protagonist, Abuela Killa. When passed on from one generation to the next, young people learn that menstruation reveals the creative urge and cyclic nature of all living beings and life itself.

Parents, friends and teachers can make the experience a much more positive experience.

By providing girls with accurate information, real-life experience, and practical advice, they can learn to view their menstrual cycle in a totally different way: as an important element of their female nature. “I discovered the importance of understanding ourselves cyclically, of understanding ourselves as part of nature, as part of a whole,” explains Vásquez. “I think that is one of the big issues. Modernity and the system in which we live makes us disconnect from ourselves, from others in the sense of community and nature, the universe, from something much bigger.”

An important way to make girls more comfortable with menstruation is to make sure that they have accurate information.

Not just about how and why it works, but also on the day-to-day, real life business of it. “We live it as something tiresome, as something exhausting. So it’s like, shit, it came! It’s time again! When is it over? Many of us have that negative view of our cycle,” says Vásquez. The more comfortable women and girls are with our own bodies, the more we will learn to handle both the first mentruation, and the ongoing experience.

Tribu de Mujeres is available in Spanish. Visit Vientres Libres to get a copy.

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