In a lush green valley between Papa Imbabura and Mama Cotacachi lies the small village we now call home. Cotacachi , a town of about 8000 inhabitants, offers quiet streets, lovely plazas, and breathtaking views. After two and a half years in a bustling city, we are enjoying the quiet simplicity of this semi-rural area. We live about half a mile from the center of town on a dirt road where our indigenous neighbors drive their cows to and from pasture every day. Along the way into town are tiendas, restaurants, small shops of varying kinds, and people who never fail to smile and speak.
In the main mercado we buy fruits, vegetables, corn and beans, rice and most of our groceries for the week. On Thursday mornings the town has two organic markets, where we buy the prized yellow sweet potatoes, good artisan cheeses, homemade breads, and local organic shade-grown coffee. Not to mention the extra goodies we discover there: blueberry muffins, pecan pie, brownies, and pineapple empanadas.
At home we are finding an easy rhythm to our days. From the front yard we have an unobstructed view of the ever-changing vistas of Mt. Imbabura. Early mornings and late afternoon always find us on the front porch. We are continually mesmerized. Our back sunroom and terrace open onto a view of Mt. Cotacachi which catches the morning sun and delights us as we breakfast each day. Our large yard offers Yapa room to run and play freely. We have an avocado tree, two lemon trees, a mandarina tree–as well as trees which don’t produce fruit–and an amazing array of flowers. We have also created beds for herbs and vegetables. We are blessed with a crew of energetic, knowledgeable, and friendly gardeners who are teaching us a lot (and doing the heavy lifting!).
Every Saturday morning a lovely young woman named Lourdes arrives at our front door with fresh flowers. For five dollars we adorn our house with 25 long-stemmed roses, grown locally. We walk through our neighborhood several times a day and, after only three weeks, already know many of our neighbors by name. Without exception, the people we have met here have been friendly, helpful, and welcoming. Our new indigenous friends are introducing us to their customs and even teaching us a bit of Kichwa.
We sleep to the sound of silence and awaken to the singing of birds. Frogs croak outside our windows; the breeze brings melodies from our wind chimes. We are enchanted as we watch numerous kinds of hummingbirds flit from feeder to flower. We are discovering birds we have not seen before. And late nights and early mornings always yield stars. We have found peace and beauty here that neither of us has ever known.