I am a proud

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Little Old Man of Ecuador - Happy New Year!!!

Mini Old Man Package

Mini Old Man ready to burn
One of the best benefits of geocaching is friendship. Along the way we make meaningful friends who stick with us through the years. Several years ago while living in Ecuador a new geocacher popped up on the scene and began to find some of my caches and to hide his own which I would find. We lived in Quito, the capitol, while he lived in Riobamba, a beautiful mountain city a three-hour drive to the south. On one of his trips to Quito we were able to get together to go geocaching. I blogged about our day of geocaching in an earlier blog (21 Nov 2010). Not long after we had the opportunity to visit his area and find some more caches. Jimnet2005 became our tour guide as we traveled out of Riobamba east down into the jungle. He has a number of caches in the high jungle, a beautiful area to visit. Since those days we have moved twice. We left our beloved Ecuador in early 2011 to set up in the jungle of Peru. All through this time Jimnet2005 has kept in touch. Although we have missed the opportunity to geocache together, we have maintained email contact. Several months ago we decided to return to the USA indefinitely. We've been settling in here to our home and making all the adjustments one makes after living for 24 years overseas. In the midst of all this a few weeks before Christmas a package arrived in the mail. It was posted in Ecuador! It was from my good friend Jimnet2005!! I quickly tore the package open and to my surprise was a miniature Ecuadorian Old Man. In a previous blog (2 January 2011) I tell about the Ecuadorian tradition of making a life-size stuffed man using old clothes and cloth stuffing. These are set out in front of homes and often displayed for several days before the New Year. Masks are sold on almost every corner. After placing the mask (often of a political figure) on the stuffed man he is displayed in a make shift house on the sidewalk. Come midnight as one year ends and a new one begins the Old Man is set on fire. Some old men have firecrackers in them. In Ecuador the first hour of the new year is a pretty smoky one as hundreds of thousands of families burn their old man. What's it about? Saying good-bye to the old year and its problems and welcoming a new year along with its hopes. Now here I am in the USA, at home with my extended family and my friend has sent me a wonderful piece of Ecuadorian tradition.

K.K, sumajman & MasterYoda1 burning the old man

Good bye 2012 and welcome to 2013
The miniature Old Man set in a small aluminum foil tray. The little doll was pre-soaked in gasoline. I was surprised that it came through the mail. It has a little paper pad where you can write down your aspirations for the coming year.

On New Year's Eve Day I took off to hide a New Years cache for the community to enjoy. Be sure to check out Ring it in 2013 (GC43JG7). I used a specially decorated container my daughter gave me for Christmas. I had a little trouble placing it at first. I missed the fact that I was too close to a member's only cache and had to move mine. I finally got it located and resubmitted. Finding places for park & grab type caches is increasingly difficult with the high density of these types of caches in our area. Later in the evening we got together with two of our daughters and their families. Daughter #3 is away on vacation in Mexico City, where she got engaged. We had party food and played charades that the kids worked up. Even 2 year old Ryan got into the charades. Just before midnight we went out to the fire pit to burn the little old man. As we were burning the old man here in North America we remembered our friends in Ecuador who most certainly were burning their "old men". How we miss them!  At midnight we were watching Rocking New Year's Eve on TV and seeing the Time Square Ball drop as 2013 began. May their new year and your new year be a prosperous and blessed one!
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