Ecuador is a country with a very rich and diverse culture. And although usually we categorize the cities of the highlands such as Quito and Cuenca as the culturally richest, the coast also has much to show the world and our own.
And without a doubt the culture of the montuvio from the coast is one of the most unique we have. Growing up surrounded by the countryside, cows and chickens; riding horses and swimming with them in the river. Having a simple and quiet life away from the intensity of the big cities defines the jovial and friendly character of our montuvio.
Niels Olsen had a life like this while growing up on the farm La Danesa located just outside Bucay in the province of Guayas. This productive farm has functioned for more than 140 years, but now thanks to his initiative has become a destination visited by local and foreign tourists who are attracted by the lifestyle and arrive at the ranch by bus, car and even through the train tracks that cross the property.
The breakfast is an example that this place is something special. It is prepared with the eggs that you choose in the henhouse and with milk that you have to milk with your own hands, all in outdoor scented fields. The taste of this simple life transcends the palate, and the organic knowledge in this land is part of its history, much older than the trend that exists these days.
One of the most interesting activities is the tour of the hacienda guided by Niels himself. While getting lost in the woods or through a majestic path adorned by hundreds of teak trees gradually any sign of stress or anxiety will disappear. In the cocoa plantation, where besides producing chocolate the old way, you learn the history of this fruit on the coast that has been extremely important for its economic progress. After all our country has the best cocoa in the world.
The Montuvio interpretation is another of its educational activities. The joy and emotion with which the "actors" represent the characters is not just something we see in this play. Throughout our tour the warmth of its staff has been a common factor, and that is because this entire team comes from the surrounding communities. The montuvio blood runs through their veins and is as warm as the climate of the Ecuadorian coast.
After a bit of history (and a delicious typical lunch) nothing like a swim in the river or perhaps crossing it while floating on an inner tube passing through the forest; or a bike ride to explore every corner of the farm and meet the farm animals or maybe some bird watching.
It's amazing to think that what can be so appealing to the 'common' man, for rural people is an everyday thing. Now it becomes easy to understand why the literature of our writer José de la Cuadra, considered the best exponent of magic realism of Ecuador, is inspired by the montuvios. And surely if the writer had visited La Danesa, his novel of the Sangurimas would be a lot happier one.