Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Photos by Ivan and Karla



Text by Karla Gachet

The doctor sterilized the tweezers to investigate the wounds of my foot. “Take a deep breath and if you must shout, this is going to hurt.” Ah! The worse part was not the metallic tweezers piercing through the infection of three different holes on my foot. The worse part was the news that came after, “A fly has laid eggs on your foot.” The words “eggs and fly” began to boil in my brain and I wanted to shout, “Doctor, please cut off the foot!”

 The egg-laying incident might have taken place in Limones or San Miguel, I’m not sure, it could have been in Borbon. When we began the Esmeraldas journey we went without a specific plan. The idea was to document the province in one week. This project marked the beginning of “From the Equator to the land of Fire” trip. The route for the week was San Lorenzo in canoe to Limones, then south to Borbon, down the Cayapas River to San Miguel to finish in the southern town of Atacames. The recommendations began to pour on us before we left to the coastal town: “Take care of your equipment, Esmeraldas is very dangerous… Do not drive at night… Beware of the colombian guerrilla… Did you read of those tourist who were raped and killed?…”

 In the 1500’s, Esmeraldas had the first establishments of African slaves who arrived to Ecuadorian territory. One of the stories is that a full boat of slaves that was headed to Peru, shipwrecked near the Esmeralda’s coast. A group of slaves was sent to find fresh water on the main land and they never returned. If this had happened nowadays people would have said that they did not return because, of course, they got robbed.

 Luckily for us, the stereotype of a dangerous and unfriendly province vanished from the first day of our trip. We found in Esmeraldas what you find in any other province of Ecuador: stories, sorrows, Correistas and nonCorreistas, fried chicken, fries with watered down ketchup, posters of the governor of California in some action movie, etc, only that in Emeraldas this all happens under an intense heat. Emeraldas is a mixture of calm, quiet and blue places with others that ignite with lights of colors and where the volume is raised to the max. The majority of people are black, there is a lot of poverty and violence, and yet it has a rich cultural heritage which they proudly try to maintain.

 In our trip across the green province we discovered hidden places and met characters who became our friends even though we might never see them again. The fishermen say that everything is a matter of luck, sometimes there is plenty of fish and sometimes nothing catches. Sometimes you are so lucky you run into a pregnant fly who picks you as a surrogate mother.



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13 responses to “Esmeraldas, Ecuador

  1. liz gachet

    como funca esto chicos?

  2. Dan

    where art thou(s). Communicate please.

  3. Carlos Gonzalez

    Awesome! Bot fly larvae in your foot! You’re my hero Karla…I hope you still have your foot when you get back and you and Ivan are avoiding further parasitic infestation…Take care and say hi to Ivan for me.

  4. David Coral

    Qué gusto me da saber que ya han empezado el largo viaje. Ojalá permanentemente puedan publicar sus fotos y textos.
    Estaremos pendientes.
    Mucha suerte y éxito.
    David Coral.

  5. Kathryn

    Beautiful photos. Please be careful!

  6. Fearless… What a great attitude – I love it! Keep up the amazing work and best of luck on the path ahead.

  7. Gini Gachet

    Oh Karla-I’m hoping the nasty little fly eggs have gone away. I can only imagine the expression you had on your face when the doctor first told you. Yuck!!!! Your photography is beautiful and genuine. Please be safe on your journey with Ivan! Good luck and may you see alot of different, interesting things along the way. I can’t wait to read more!!!

  8. I would have said cut the foot off, too! Yikes.
    Awesome photos and storytelling. Love the diving kids.
    Have fun and stay safe. No more egg-laying flies!

  9. Marcel

    This is great! I’m so happy that the two of you are able to take this wonderful trip. I’ll check back often and look forward to your wonderful photos!
    Te mando un abrazo grande.

  10. Roxana

    hola, súper chivo lo del viaje…..un abrazo con cariño desde El Salvador!

    Los espero para cuando se animen….


  11. Aguchi

    Estaremos siguiendo su trayectoria muy de cerca. I know you will have wonderful stories to tell the world about our South America. Take care of yourselves. La familia is very proud of you both.

  12. Cris

    amigos!! que bien sus fotos y toda esta experiencia!!
    les mando toda la fuerza y los cariños del mundo!!! estaré muy atento a todas sus publicaciones!!
    os quiero

    • tothetip

      hola mi cris!!! que hermoso recibir tu mensaje, pronto estaremos visitandote, yo creo que en Junio… te pensamos siempre!! un abrazote desde el fin del mundo!!

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