Shoulders to work alongside and to cry on

Carlos Montanes | Ecuador

Carmita stared at the immensity of the Pacific Ocean in front of her home city of Pedernales in Ecuador as the sun’s light was fading and the stars started to appear. She could not have known that shortly after, on 16 April 2016, her house and her neighbours’ houses were going to collapse under a 7.8 earthquake.

A few hours before and 9,000 miles away, a 7.0 earthquake had shaken the Kumamoto area in Japan, in an unrelated event except for being part of the so called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’: the earth´s most active volcanic area where various tectonic plates adjust from time to time.

When OM teams came to visit Carmita’s community a few days later, she told Ana María, one of the team members, how fortunate she was because contrary to many others she only had material losses. Carmita and the people of the community of Pedernales were very touched by OM’s presence in the disaster areas because they didn’t just bring material gifts but gave also themselves by listening to people, talking to them and hugging them. Seeing all this, Carmita started to help alongside the OM team, following their example.

Another lady, Rosita, from the affected community of La Estancia, between the mud and the debris told the OM team, “Thank you so, so much that you have come and have continued coming, you have been a shoulder which we can cry on and you have given us hope, that things will improve in the midst of our fear of the aftershocks and even more, of another earthquake”.

Ana María and Alfredo, two of the OM leaders have offered their shoulders to their fellow Ecuadorians to help carry the burden of this destruction and to rebuild on the rock which is Jesus. They’re receiving support to provide temporary shelters and homes made out of a local variety of bamboo, plastic and simple materials. Alfredo and Ana María are taking the burdens from the affected peoples’ shoulders where they visit, they let them cry on theirs and cry with them, but mostly helping them rise again with Jesus as their cornerstone.

Published: Friday, 26 August 2016
Credit: Carlos Montanes
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