260º West | Teaching, travelling and volunteering in Ecuador

Aftershocks: Beto Arias

On Saturday 16th April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ripped through Ecuador causing incalculable devastation. Over the next few days, I will be publishing personal accounts of the event contributed by friends in the Guayaquil community. You can help to alleviate the suffering of the Ecuadorian people by sharing their stories and donating to the rescue efforts.

••••••••••

Beto Arias, aged 27
(La Alborada, Guayaquil)

On Saturday night, I was at my grandparents’ house. Normally, whenever there are earthquakes, I’m the one who keeps calm and reassures my family; this time, I had to experience it all alone, far away from them.

I was close to the street and was able to make it outside while everything was still shaking. I don’t generally get scared; instead I got angry and started shouting at the sky, saying that what was happening had to stop.

As soon as things calmed down, the only thing on my mind was my family, my loved ones – not because I knew about the scale of the devastation, but because I knew how shaken my mother would be.

And that’s how it was: 40 minutes without electricity and then, thanks to social media, we were able to understand what had happened.

In my 27 years, I’ve never found it so difficult to accept that my country is experiencing such devastation. I once cried when I found out that 18 people had died in some accident, because it meant that 18 families were mourning a loved one. Now I can’t begin to process how many of my brothers have fallen. Nobody lives risk-free; tragedy lies even in safe places, the places that feel like home.

Today, I’m prouder than ever to be Ecuadorian, I’m so proud to have been born in this nation that so many people in other countries would love to call their homeland. God bless, always.

••••••••••

Beto’s words above were translated from the original Spanish:

El sábado en la noche estaba en la casa de mis abuelitos. Normalmente siempre que hay temblores, en mi hogar soy el que mantiene la calma y abraza a mi familia; esta vez lo vivi sólo y lejos de ellas.

Estaba cerca de la calle y pude salir, mientras aun seguia temblando. No suelo asustarme, no suelo tener miedo … mas enojo y como reclamando al cielo que lo que sucede debe detenerse.

Apenas se calmo, no cruzaba por mi cabeza nada mas que mi familia, mis seres queridos – no por que sabia de la desgracia, sabia que mi madre estaba alterada.

Y asi era … 40 minutos sin energia eléctrica y gracias a las redes sociales estabamos enterados de lo sucedido.

En mis 27 años de vida, es dificil aceptar que mi pais viva una desgracia. Llore cuando hubo 18 muertos por un accidente, decia son las 18 familias de luto, hoy en dia no me cabe en la cabeza tanto hermano caido.

De esta tragedia, se puede aprender que nadie tiene la vida asegurada; la desgracia esta incluso en tu lugar seguro, esta en tu refugio.

Hoy mas que nunca me siento orgulloso de ser ecuatoriano, que siento orgulloso de haber nacido en esta tierra que muchas personas de otros paises quisieran como su suelo patrio. Dios los bendiga siempre.

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