My name is Emilio Ponguillo and im from Ecuador. If you read the title you may ask to yourself what exactly does a park, a guard house and allegedly a “shady” business building has to do with my climate history, well just 12 years ago none of these three places existed.
I live in Cumbaya, a place where if you ask 20 years ago people would say “not much to do really, nice weather tho”, little do they know Cumbaya became the “aniñada” zone of Quito with a lots of things to do. This place may be a little to extense to analyze but there is this little place 30 meters from my home that encapsules perfectly the changes Cumbaya passed to become the place it is now. You see, when I moved for the first time here. My father didn’t finish the house we now live in, so we stayed in a little red brick house down the plot of the unfinished house, in the mornings you could easily hear a rooster cackle in the afternoon see 2 or 3 colibris or bees in the innumerable flowers that where there and in the night sleep in a hammock just listening a few crickets or in some cases not even that while you see a completely clear sky full of stars. How the things have changed in this year I live here.
One of my very first memories in Cumbaya took In this place between an abandoned plot full of vegetation, and old wall made of grey bricks and a hut that nature devoured long, each morning at 7am my brothers and I needed to cross this path full of mud and tall vegetation to get on the school bus in time, I remember up this day how the leaves rubbed my face annoying and comforting me at the same time, like the feeling when your father messes with you hair, obviously it wasn’t all positive things, I also remember the insane amount of trash and the intense smell of cow manure that eventually I got used to it but at the end of the day is cow manure. The time goes on and with this the landscape changes slowly but surely, eventually this crosswalk is paved in concrete and start to prune the abandoned plot I talked before, NICE! I know can see a scenery that I wasn’t able to due to my height at the moment, the father-like touch of the grass is replaced to a scenery full of green patches and little houses, and the muddy mini-adventure that was all days to purposely walk in the crosswalk and not the street is now replaced to a monotonous march in the paved floor that is now this crosswalk, well I cant complain, the progress is good right?.
The time passes by again and one day the abandoned plot Is fenced and converted to a public park, good news, now there wont be any “borrachitos” drinking or sleeping in none of this places and the cows are now prohibited so the cow manure is gone, it is more secure and it is noticeably less trash than before , but wait a minute…, the fence…, now the pretty view I had all my mornings is segmented and interrupted by this pattern made by the fence, oh well I cant complain, the progress is good right? …right?
The time passes by again and the hut Is demolished and in less than two years a big commercial building raises, I think the sell mother cells or something like that?, an extremely large row of cars is now parked in front of my house and the park, making us speak to the people of the building more than once to move their cars of the front of the garage doors, and having that “you don’t know who I am” attitude in one occasion. At least because of this building the price of our house raised. I cannot complain, the progress is good right?… right?
The time passes by and this building attracts other business, a hardware store installs in the plot next to our house just with a stretch alley of separation. The trucks start to come, full of sand, wood, gravel, and all kinds of material of construction are constantly parked in front of our house, bringing dust, a large variety of tropical insects and stray dogs near the house, and remember the muddy crosswalk? Now is replaced with an extremely broken and badly maintained crosswalk caused by the parking of the trucks that more than once I stumbled with and in top of that the stray dogs that always bark at me when I pass by. The progress is good right?
Just in this same period the cars of the people of the shady company starts to be robbed, so they put the final part of the history, the guard house, the robberies stopped but what is the point if it takes like 2/3 of the crosswalk and every time, I pass next to it the guard sees me straight to my soul, I get it is his job but by this point he must know I live here and Im not any kind of threat. Something that once was a wholesome walk trough a muddy crosswalk and with a pretty view is now a walk through a broken crosswalk full of dogs, stray dogs barking at me. A narrow part where I can barely walk when im am with my dog while im trying to ignore the guard that is looking right at me and a big fence that now obstructs the view of a tuborized city and a extremely big and bright screen with propagandas 24/7. The progress is …good?
It is extremely curious how this kind of changes also affected the interactions between my neighbors and the people around me, I was always a very self-isolated person but that didn’t mean that I was rude or cold to the strangers around me, nowadays it doesn’t really matter because none of the people I cross in the park tries to interact and the few people that did is long gone because they couldn’t keep with the competition of this zone or simply moved to a different areas. Remember the rooster in the morning? I cant hear it anymore, or the colibris? I cannot see them anymore, or the calm nights? Nope, just the sounds of cars passing by and some exited folk with a motorcycle from time to time, not even the stars, that is now rarely a view that just can be seen at some days on the weekend if you are lucky. But at the end of the day, I can’t just say “uh brr the past good the present bad” because with progress also came a lot of good things, there is more security, and more things to do, I no longer have to travel 2+ hours to find things I need and de 80 % of times my “barrio” is very clean and organized, maybe the people here keeps a little more to themselves but this personally gave me more privacy and peace when I go to any of the parks, so yeah progress is… progress, and it comes with good and bad things.