Dear Ecuadorian Family,

Ecuadorian family
From left to right – the taxi driver, his wife and two of their daughters.

To the Ecuadorian family who took me in and looked after me when I was penniless in Quito, years ago.

Thank you Mr taxi driver, for being patient, for driving me to a dozen different teller machines when my card wasn’t working, but especially for taking me back to your home and looking after me. You said I shouldn’t sleep on the street, that I would probably get knifed and/or robbed. You were probably right.

Ecuadorian family
The family and friends outside church on Sunday, Henry in front.

Thank you for moving you, your wife and four kids onto the floor and giving me your only bed. I felt terrible about it, although I realised after several minutes of protest that you wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Thanks for introducing me to your children – Henry, Carmen and I forget the names of the other two girls it’s been that long. The two weeks I spent with your family, at the end of 1999, I’ll never forget. I even enjoyed going to your Sunday church sessions, even though I’m not religious.

Ecuadorian family
Left to right – Me, Henry, birthday girl, Carmen’s friend and Carmen, wearing my hat and playing my flute.

Henry, it was cool teaching you guitar, you were a good kid, and now hopefully you’re a good man. Little Carmen, I bet you’re a gorgeous woman by now. And to the girl who had her 13th birthday, for which I rode on the rooftops of buses to get to (months later) – during a nationwide strike in Ecuador – I hope you liked your necklace. I picked the seeds in Vilcabamba myself.

Ecuadorian family
Henry rocking out.

To the mum – thank you for feeding all of us, for dinner and breakfast the next day, all for US$1. This was a real eye-opener for me. Your cooking was great, and so was your character, sitting patiently at the British Consulate on many days while I got angry with Lloyds Bank in England, who took their time sending me my money.

Ecuadorian family

I hope I gave you enough in the end. Well, I could never repay you entirely. I felt terrible I lost my diary with your address. I know you struggled to find a better life, I wanted to give you the answers, but I didn’t have them. For me it’s easy, I come from Australia. Like I told you, it’s a good place.

Ecuadorian family

I wish I could contact you all, I would find a way to repay your kindness, or at the very least come and visit you again.

I hope you’re reading this someday.

Your friend Andy, or as you liked to call me, “Andresito.”

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