Living and Giving

The Wisdom of Ecuador: In Ecuador You Get Married…Many Times (Part Five)

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This is the fifth of an eight-part series on my volunteer trip to Ecuador. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™. 

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In Ecuador, You Get Married…Many Times

If you aren’t married by 20 there are big questions. Why? If you are married with no kids, why?  If so, then you get to marry someone else.  You have to have kids.

Women here pop out about 10 kids in their lifetime, starting around 17 or so.  If a man wants to marry a woman, he asks her father.  If she has 5 sisters – he marries all of them.  We kept asking what about people who don’t marry. Often a tribe will say “that doesn’t happen!’  A few said there were some men who were on their own. 

Adultery is punishable by death. The parents…will do the killing of their child.

Tribes often consist of one family: a man and his 5 wives and perhaps 50 children.   It’s possible and you see it.  And you will see heads of tribes with 15 other families there, too.  What was surprising to me is that they are much more peaceful now.  Before the missionaries came, there was extreme territory fighting – the tribes conquested one another constantly, killing for land and women.  The missionaries’ message of peace quelled the disharmonies.  I am sure the outside force of the companies also banded the tribes together.  Outside pressures bring the insides together.

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You can take action.  Support projects in South America:

Give $10 to plant a tree in the rainforest
Give $25 to give water to a villager
Give $115 to give light to a villager
Volunteer in conservation in Ecuador
Spend the summer teaching in Ecuador