Money might come back any moment – but if love ends it will never return.
I got to know Aida as the host of her hostel „Casa Aida“ in La Esperanca near Ibarra in the north of Ecuador. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. In the 70s, when it was an outrageous thought to accommodate „these shabby stealing scapegraces“ she invited a group of destitute hippies to her modest house, struggling for survival herself. This and the fact that her village is situated in a blooming area of magic mushrooms led to the foundation of her still existing hostel. Illustrious guests like Bob Dylan, members of Pink Floyd or Manu Chao have enjoyed her hospitality as much as we have and she still likes to think of these times despite all the hardships in her life.
¿What makes you happy?
It makes me happy to receive people here, to make them happy, to see joyful people in my house. That makes me happy, to share happiness. I hate to see people sad. I feel happy if first of all people are happy.
Last night you told me the history of this house and I would like to know which is your favorite memory, what is most worthy remembering for you?
I like the memory of the young people´s arrival. I had no money, I had nothing. They put up the tent up front. I was a little curious why of all things they were here. They told me they found this open field and that therefore they felt like putting the tent here because what they saw was peace and tranquility. And they were even more content when I told them that they can stay as long as they want. And they told me that this was the best thing that had ever happened to them. After all hoteliers across the country had told them to leave because they have no money to pay the hotel. But I was not happy about this, I felt sad because – how can people reject someone who needs a place, a home to rest well? I did not ask if they had money or not. Neither did I worry that they have no money, I have a large patio. Why should they not stay? I had no money, but I invited them to share the poverty of the yard. And I was happy because I had great company. That’s was when I was the happiest, and I could share my joy with them and see them happy, protected. It was the happiest time of my life.
I always went to sell hamburgers in Ibarra starting from 5pm and I could not return the same day, I had to wait until the next day to come back. I stayed at a bus station, sitting, well-covered until they closed the place at 3 o´clock in the morning. I arrived here at 6 o´clock in the morning to bathe my kids, to make breakfast and to send them to school. And when did you sleep? I slept one hour per day, not more. How is this possible? I started to turn pale, to lose weight, to turn really slim and pale because I just slept an hour a day.
And what a strong woman you were! To get a divorce a a woman with 3 kids…
In former times there was no obligation like now that the father has to work to support his kids. He never gave me a penny.
What gave you the strength to go on with all of this? This is incredible…
I got the strength from being a mother of 3 kids. I would not abandon my kids, I had to be responsible likewise as a father and mother of 3 and not make them feel unhappy. I wanted to bring them happiness and companionship as a mom, so I mad any sacrifice to give them food. Later on I was tired of working there in Ibarra making burgers, because I did not rest well and suffered a lot. So I came here, and I went to ask the families if I could iron shirts for them. I ironed with excellence because I liked it. I was always working.
I was very young. I had a lot of invitations to go for a walk, everything… but I said „no, I have to work for my kids and I do not want to leave them alone.“
I wanted that my kids should never suffer and get to know what hunger means here. I wanted to take my hands and work. A lady gave me a job, she gave me 100 shirts at night, I also had to work very hard. So the other day my kid came and asked me: „Mami, if I don´t go to school with proper shoes for physical education they will throw me out of school and they want me to come with new shoes.“ That´s why I went to ask for 100 shirts to iron, to make 100 sucres in order to buy shoes for the kid. And I ironed 100 shirts per night. From 6pm until 6am. I did not mind not having slept, not having rested. I wanted the money and I was happy to buy shoes so that my daughter could go to school with new shoes.
I always wanted to work to have money for the food for my kids. Sure, a lot of people have told me that I was very strong, very courageous because any other woman might have told herself: „I will go with another man.“ And go with him so that he will bring home the money. I was afraid because I wanted to… I wanted to make my kids happy and not abandon them for a man. So that there should be no strange man in the house for them not to feel good.
And the proof is that there are no more daughters, not more than 3… there are now 2, one died at the age of 20. She did at the age of 20 in a car accident. This was the hardest thing that could have happened to me, now I am left with just 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. Each of them has 3 kids.
I believe this all was a very powerful lesson of love and protection for your kids. What is the best lesson that you have learned from your parents?
I had neither a dad or a mom from 7 years on but I learned from my grandmother. My grandmother was also a single mother and she worked hard. A good role model. And I have a good example how to educate my grandchildren because here is now more money than there has ever been.
If you could give an advice to yourself at the age of 20, what would it be?
Make money. I tell this to the youth, to the mothers who have a kid. I tell them not to have more, to set up a small business, an honest work and be exemplary mothers. May they never leave their kids. May their kids always be like the chicks with the hen, below the wings, warming themselves. And may the mothers always keep on giving advice, protection for their kids, giving them the human warmth that only mothers can give. May they take care of their moral, be honest, honorable and may they be the most loving mothers because money might come back any moment – but if love ends it will never return. They need to give a lot of love to their kids. The love of a mother is sincere, sweet, pure. She wants the best for her kids. If someone said to her: „You lose your life and I will give life to your kid.“ – I say „Yes.“ I lose my life but my kids keep on living. I advice the youth who has kids or are going to have them to incorporate this great love. But may they not choose a bad path but always select the best in order to have a great and good life and future. May they pick a straight and honest path, a path of work and ambition to be a good example for their kids.
featherytravels.com also wrote about this amazing woman, check it out.
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