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Safe in Mindo

October 1, 2010

Mindo, a very small town in the NW cloud forest of Ecuador, was our fortunate choice for travel yesterday. We left Quito just one day before the police strike closed the airports and the long distance bus terminals. Mindo reminds us a bit of Viroqua, our small hometown in Wisconsin: population around 3,000, farming and tourism are its mainstays, and the surroundings are beautiful. Lush, green, filled with the sound of rushing rivers and a tremendous variety of birds, it also reminds us of the humid Pacific Northwest winters– though much warmer. Rarely does the temperature fall below 65 degrees.

There are no signs of the political protests or transportation stoppages currently widespread in Ecuador. We feel safe– especially after this afternoon’s events. Three young tourists from Europe who were on a chocolate tour at the “hosteria” (hostel) where we are staying were suddenly called away with the message that their room had been burglarized. They returned a while later, reporting that several small things had been taken but they had their money and passports still.

A few minutes later the staff went into the street to see what the noise was from the town square, and they returned to report that the “ladrones” (thieves) had been caught and were being punished. They explained that thievery was “prohibido” in Mindo, and that when a theft occurred the entire city united to find and then publicly punish the thieves, so that they would not return to Mindo. The report was that a few Colombians were found with stolen goods from two burglaries in their car, and that they would remain in jail for four days, being punished publicly each day, before they would be released.

The victims were relieved to hear that they could expect to retrieve their possessions at the police station. Shortly the owner of their hostel appeared to escort them to identify their things. This feels like a human-scale town, where the people know and watch out for one another– something we can all take to heart, no matter where we live.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tyler Robinson permalink
    October 11, 2010 2:26 am

    Sounds like you landed in a good place – Viroqua en Equador! Was a bit worried about your welfare reading about recent political events but sounds like you got out of Dodge in time and are in a quiet place.
    best wishes,

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