San Marcos: Enter as a Guest, leave as Family

Ecuador traditions

One of the most captivating features that drew Illa’s attention about San Marcos was the fact that people still acted as one, as a family. Nowadays we have gotten accustomed to living in a world where we do not know who our neighbor is, what is their name and even worse how they are feeling. It is sad to see the way in which our lives have turned into monotonous routines when they should be the whole opposite.

However when we look at San Marcos, it looks like hope should not be lost just yet. Walking in the streets of San Marcos is like walking into history. One of the most beautiful things that we have experienced here is the sense of Illa, which is the sensation of family and warmth.

How? Simple. Let me tell you a quick anecdote on how it takes less than a day to leave your heart in San Marcos. In the town, there is non-profit foundation called Muchachos Solidarios which provides protection and food to hard working, young teenagers who travel from different places of Ecuador to work for their families’ future.

One day we were asked by one of the members of this foundation if we wanted to join them in one of their meals. This was such an honor to which we couldn’t deny. From the moment we entered the house, we felt the type of warmth and love one can only feel at home, which is impressive right?

It is unbelievable to expect that we received more than what we gave. The effort, the love and the passion that is put into every meal for the children is breathtaking, and believe me these are not just words, this is the truth. While we were preparing the children’s meal, Monica (head member of foundation) showed us step by step to make the perfect tamales, the perfect ceviche and more. Her way of showing us her preparation was different from the one we are accustomed to. Why? All of her words were real and you could sense it, you could feel it by the way everyone around the kitchen worked. Somehow you could feel that they were doing what they were doing because they wanted to, not because they had to.

Not only did they show their love on the preparation, when the moment of serving the food arrived, that is when we realized we were not guests anymore but family instead. How? Simple, from the loving sweet nicknames to the funny and heart-warming conversations we had with the children and the members of the foundation. It was on that moment where we realized that we were all brothers and sisters. It was like we all knew each other without really knowing each other, we all understood each other without talking for hours, we all felt each other connect.

That is San Marcos, you enter as a guest; as someone who thinks that does not know what surrounds him or her. However when you leave, all those feelings of disconnection and unawareness turn into love and family. How disrupted right?

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