The streets and sidewalks are spotlessly clean as teams of green uniformed men and women daily pick up every speck of trash.
Today, I was at our house in the country which is 15 minutes outside Cuenca via the Autopista. It is an area that is even warmer and drier than Cuenca, a suburb called Challuabamba. The house is for sale but we love to go out there to enjoy the quiet and peaceful countryside. Sitting on the terrace, I was struck once again by the industriousness of the Indigenous Indian people who have so little but make the best of everything. A family of Indians had recently plowed a field next to our house and were planting corn by hand. There were five of them, three women and two men between 25 and 60 years of age. All but the youngest woman wore traditional Indian clothing, velvet skirts and embroidered blouses. The men wore regular attire. All were barefoot and wore hats to protect their heads from the intense sunlight. Two of the men and two of the women were bent over digging with hoes attached to short handles no more than four feet long. The fifth woman broadcast the precious corn seeds into the furrows. It will take them many days to hoe and plant row after row in order to complete sowing seeds on nearly two acres of land. It is a laborious job that would take an American farmer with his tractor and other equipment only hours to complete. At noon, they stopped hoeing and planting and sat down in the dirt to eat rice from plastic bowls. Laughing and talking, they put their tired bodies to rest for a few minutes of a long day.