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FRIJOLES 9860 KM / DAY 101 / JUNE 25, 2011 - 01:42 / PIQUIUCHO, ECUADOR
After Quito, the Pan-American Highway dives deep into the Chota valley. The valley is known for its sugarcane and for its close-knit Afro-Ecuadorian communities, for me a side of Ecuador I never knew. Today, they live in this quite isolated region, often in poverty. But for the community of Piquiucho, its a bit different. The village is the birthplace of Ecuador`s star soccer player, Ulises de la Cruz.
I want to tell the story of Afro-Ecuadorian communities through Ulises` eyes. Sounds simple, but it isn`t. He`s a very nice and busy guy, but has no assistant to keep his calendar, which is constant chaos. My appointments with him are delayed by hours and my patience is wearing thin.
Just when I`m about to give up, Ulises appears at 7am in his brand new Dodge truck and we speed along the Pan American to Piquiucho. Although Ulises lives in Quito now, he hasn`t forgotten his roots. He often comes back to see family and friends.
Halfway to Piquiucho, farmers block part of the highway to dry frijoles (beans). Traffic is patient.
DAY 363 FINAL DESTINATION