by Laetitita P.
Guayaquil, Ecuador. Like everyone else in the world, the inhabitants of Isla Trinitaria – the neighborhood where Heart’s Home is – go about their day. Suddenly the ground begins to shake and everything stops! Light at first, it quickly becomes violent and lasts almost a minute – a very long minute.
Most people, coming out of their homes, begin to pray and to ask God’s forgiveness. Obviously, we find ourselves in the dark, without electricity. An atmosphere of incredible communion makes itself felt in the neighborhood. When the ground finally stops shaking, it’s the people who are trembling, realizing what just happened.Everyone gives thanks to God, realizing that many others did not have that chance. A solidarity is born almost spontaneously: each person goes to their neighbor, says hello and embraces them.
This solidarity experienced in the heart of our neighborhood quickly takes on a national dimension. When the electricity returns to Guayaquil, and the country realizes the breadth of the destruction in the Manabi and Esmeraldas regions, volunteers organize themselves quickly through social networks and rush to offer their help. The next day, centers for receiving donations have multiplied.
This painful event has given birth to a profound compassion in the heart of Ecuadorans. Prayer groups organize everywhere. A new generosity is born. We ourselves spent two days helping out at the donation center, sorting piles of clothes that were over thirty feet high and putting together hundreds and hundreds of kits with candles and matches. One of the teenagers next to me, who was making the clothing kits, was drawing a little heart on the tags indicating the size and sometimes adding a word of encouragement!
In the middle of these immense piles of food and clothes, it seems that everyone – rich and poor, Ecuadoran and foreigner – are united. So it is that this people – divided by the coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon; between different races and languages, and also politically divided very strongly in these past few years – this people so torn apart, all of sudden, has become one.