By Mark Bradbury
Welcome to this month’s edition of Hi Expat Magazine! Whether you just picked up this magazine for the first time or have been following us since our first issue in December, we hope that you will enjoy what we have in store for the month of May. Personally, I have enjoyed being one of the writers, and I am proud to be a part of this magazine. We hope that you will become a fan of what we are trying to do; speak for the expats both here in Ecuador, and for those who will be coming soon.
When I asked what my assignment was for this issue, I was told that this was a Mother’s Day edition, and that I should do something appropriate. Normally, when I receive my subject suggestion for an article, I have no trouble getting started, but this one is a little different. So, I am going to try to keep it simple, and talk about what Mother’s Day, “El Día de las Madres,” is like here in Ecuador, and maybe a few other things.
I post a photo every morning in my expat group, Manta and Manabi Expats and Amigos, to wish everyone a good morning. Many of the members in my group enjoy the local photos and information; it has become a fixture in my daily repertoire. This morning I posted a photo of the Mother and Child statue that is a focal point of the Mother’s Park, “El Parque de la Madre,” located next to the Central Park area on Manta’s Malecon. The park is a special area, just off the main Parque Central, that is dedicated to mothers and children.
It is usually a fun place to hang out and people watch, especially the kids who are running around enjoying the park’s features. Even though the traffic of Manta’s Malecon is whizzing by right behind you, the park offers a certain amount of tranquility, like an oasis in the center of all the noise. We have enjoyed our time there; you should check it out.
The statue has its own space in the park, and it is a nice example of local artwork. I was very impressed with it after seeing it for the first time. It is dedicated to the mothers and children of Manta and is worth visiting.
This morning, a member of my group asked a question about whether “El Dia de las Madres” was a “thing” here in Manta and Ecuador. I was a bit surprised by the question, since Mother’s Day has always been celebrated everywhere I have ever lived. It certainly is here in Ecuador, but the person asking the question was from the US and was simply curious. I told him that Mother’s Day is definitely a thing here, and that seemed to satisfy his curiosity.
My Mother passed away almost nine years ago, and we all still miss her terribly. She was a good person, kind and generous, and always tried to keep the peace in our home. She was a calming factor when it came to escalating problems with the men of the family, and we all loved her for that. She was a tigress when she needed to be!
She would have fit in here nicely back in the day. The Ecuadorian mothers that I have met over my time here are fiercely protective of their children and will stand up and protect their kids whenever they need to. But they are also the mediators, the kindness givers, and the ones their children look to when they need support or help. My Mother, Latina style!
My partner Irina has a daughter Natasha who lives with us. We’ve all been together for almost two and a half years, and I have seen Irina be an incredibly good mother to her lucky daughter. She has nothing but love and kindness for her girl, and it pleases me to know that she will be the mother of our baby girl in a few months. I have nothing but faith that she will always take loving care of my little girl, because that is what Ecuadorian mothers do. She will nurture our baby and raise her to be a good woman, just like she has done for her daughter Natasha.
This is Ecuador, and here in this country, one of the most important things for everyone is family. “La Familia” is everything! Families take care of their own, and mothers are strong and protective, and kind and generous. They are all that, and more.
A few weeks ago, Natasha went to a big celebration in Charapoto, near San Clemente. It was the 60th Anniversary of her great-grandparent's marriage. Irina was not feeling well, so Natasha went to represent them. Her great-grandmother had never even met the man she had been promised to when they were married, but raised six children with him, and stood by his side for sixty years! She is still a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is the epitome of an Ecuadorian mother, a postcard for motherhood.
If you are currently living here, you may have experienced some of the same things that I have seen. If you have not come to Ecuador yet, then you will probably notice the things I’m talking about quite early in your travels. I have often said that this country reminds me of my growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in the United States. The similarities sometimes amaze me. Mothers and families, and the way they are here, remind me of the good old days of TV in the States; Ozzie & Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, Little House on the Prairie, and so many more!
Is Mother’s Day a thing here? Yes, it is! Every single day!
Viva La Madre!