We ended our time in Ayampe, on the coast, with a visit to a nature reserve. It was a sunny day (!!! The only sunny day that week!!!). The nature reserve has a beach (Playa de los Frailes) that is stunning.
I had to laugh about myself; when we walked onto the beach, I saw in the distance a piece of secluded beach. I instantly wanted to go there. While walking there (there were hardly any people on the beach anyway, but still…) I pondered this need to be secluded and alone. Or ‘the first one’. Like when fresh snow has fallen and you put your mark on it (or in my case: I HAVE TO eat some of it when it is all fresh and new).
When we neared the area, we passed a couple that looked Dutch. And I realized this could be an urge that comes from being in a country with too many people on top of each other. Maybe.
Eventually we climbed a small hill and ended up in the secluded patch of beach. O wow, it was so beautiful! It felt like being in paradise. When Eric and I went into the water, it was so clear you could see the sandy bottom (which was the first time I saw this in Ecuador) with all the little crabs, shells and fish. A bit further along huge birds (pelicans?) were diving for fish. They didn’t find us very scary, so they came up to a meter away from us. The sky was completely blue, not a soul in sight.
It brought tears to my eyes to realise what we have lost (again). My desire would be to be able to live there, on that spot, to be a pioneer and claim a bit of unclaimed land for myself. But we can’t do that anymore. That time has passed. Now is the time to learn to live on a very polluted planet with too many people.
But there, in that bit of paradise, I could pretend this wasn’t the case for a little while. A guy with goggles disturbed ‘our’ little patch and reminded me there were more people who like to experience this beauty.
The kids were looking in small rocky puddles, crawling with life and waiting for high tide to change environment, for interesting shells and stones.
It was a beautiful end to our 'official' ‘search and travel’.
We arrived in Quito on Thursday the 31st of March. We had booked an Airbnb just outside of Quito, near where our Ecuadorian friends live.
We were going to meet with them on Saturday, so we had some time to rest from the 8 hour drive and the dramatic change in altitude and climate. We arrived just in time to experience the change from wet to dry season. With June, the dry season came. The last rain we saw, fell on the first of June and only sunshine after this, day in, day out. Because of Quito’s altitude it doesn’t get humid-hot here. It just gets to about 25 degrees, dry warmth, with clear skies and nice cool breezes.
The perfect climate actually.
When we arrived we had to get used to the pollution here. Quito has grown out of proportion and all surrounding towns have become one big mass of urbanisation. The roads are busy all time of day and night. Hardly any cars have filters and the diesel engines spew black smoke. The smell is terrible. Especially in Quito itself, but also in the areas outside Quito. When we have the windows open, we smell the exhaust fumes.
Having lived in one of the most unpolluted areas in the world, this the last year, it was a big change. Yangana falls within the biosphere of the Podocarpus Cloud Forest reserve. Not only the air we breathed, but also the water we drank, came from there and was among the cleanest in the world.
The other thing that is part of being near a big city, is; you can find everything there.
We decided, when the business would bind us here, that would be a good thing. Our kids could do anything they wanted to do. Mar could start up guitar lessons again, or Karate, Lem could go to an American High school (which he feels drawn to for some strange reason), Bear could have Spanish lessons from someone who is specialised in working with kids who have a language problem, etc.
This all sounded good in my head, but of course it could be that the kids have a totally different idea about this.
On Saturday we met with our friends and discussed the business further. We decided to go for it and get a RUC number (Chamber of Commerce number) together. I would be president and Maria would be
the CEO of a so called ‘Sociedad de Hecho’.
Eric would be employed by the business (to reduce our taxes in Ecuador) and Ramiro would assist with everything.
When we went to the Notary appointment on Wednesday, to get this legalized, the Notary told us that we needed to start an Ltd instead. This would take a bit more time and money, but would work better for export purposes.
Our Dutch accountant told us the same. We also needed to start a bv in the Netherlands (and in every other country we would be exporting to).
So we left the Notary without having achieved anything official yet.
From Saturday on we were busy every day from morning till night, to arrange all the business- related things and get some order in all the emails and reading material about international trade, the product we want to export, etc. The product is hard to find in Ecuador and would have to come from Peru, which caused some additional import issues.
We noticed that we hadn’t used our brains for a while and we were ‘rusty’, so it took a while to not get exhausted from this.
On Thursday evening we received an unexpected message from our Ecuadorian friends, that they had to stop with the joint venture. They found out that they had some unresolved financial and contractual stuff from a previous business. To resolve this would take a lot of money, time and energy. Without resolving this, we could not start up an Ltd and they realised this would put too much strain, timeline wise, on the success of the business.
This left us in a bit of a shock and doubt as to whether we should continue with the idea without them, or abandon it altogether. We decided to leave it till the next day, Friday and re-discuss it.
On Friday we talked about all the pros and cons of starting up ourselves and of letting it go and doing something else.
At some point I asked for a ‘sign’ of some sort, because even meditating didn’t give me any clarity on it. Immediately after asking for the sign, an email came in from Americans who had the product for us-here in Ecuador- and were interested in doing business with us.
I decided this was a clear enough sign for me and we would continue together.
On Saturday morning we met with our Ecuadorian friends to make sure we would tie this up in a good way and part as friends. We had a good talk, some emotions came out, we understood things better
from them, as did they about us. We parted as friends and can still count on them for practical help and advice, which is great.
All through this, my court case plays a small role in being exhausted and emotionally triggered, as well. At some point I misunderstood a letter from the Court and got into a small panic. I thought they only started the case so they could put the outcome (that I ‘lost’ the case) in a big newspaper and scare all similar working midwives to death. A colleague/friend put me at ease and told me they do this with every court case; it is a public hearing and the outcome is put in a newspaper. It was not a personal/individual thing.
I realised how easy anything -that is related to the ordeal of the last 2 years- upsets me. It almost feels like PTSD. Nightmares, not seeing things clearly, etc. I will be so glad when it is over.
The hearing will be soon. After this I hope it will be settled with the judgement that I am guilty, should be put out of my profession -or am not guilty- and that is it. I hope to keep the damage to an already very damaged and fearful Health Care System as small as possible. To let it blow over (whatever the outcome) and let it not make things even harder for my colleagues. To let the craziness remain the same craziness and not get fuelled into an out-of-control chaos with more witch hunts on an even larger scale.
Maybe someone - or groups of people- will be able to make a more effective change to the system when the time is right. Because right now 95% of the people would not understand anything about the way I worked. Most people still feel safer when someone else is responsible for their lives and makes the decisions for them, instead of they, themselves.
I just hope that for the group of 5% there will always be a matching Health Care provider. And maybe, in some future, most of the people will be ready to live with the knowledge that it is always and only ‘yourself’ where everything in your life starts and ends with. And that only they themselves can make all the choices, because no one will ever know what is best for them, but themselves. And that death is an essential part of life that has to be faced openly and not avoided out of fear. And to accept that when push comes to shove, we have no say in this and no control over this and that all else is an illusion.
So it has been an eventful week on mental and emotional level. The planning for the next week(s) is as follows:
On Tuesday we go to Olon (the coast again!) to finally see Nikki and JF again and have some fun with them for a week. The Tuesday after we go to Cuenca to meet the American people with ‘the product’ (more about this in the next blog). We booked an Airbnb there till Friday the 22nd of June. After this is ‘the big unknown’ still. No idea where to go from there, yet.
But we are free as a bird and we are sure the next step will unfold somehow at some point.