They migrated 18 and 22 years ago in search of better opportunities. Now, in the country, they will celebrate December 24 and 25 with their families. Then they will return to the United States and Spain.
The international arrival area at the José Joaquín de Olmedo airport in Guayaquil looks colorful. Balloons, yellow roses and banners carried by families from different provinces of Ecuador to receive their relatives give it that nuance.Travelers come especially to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their love dones. A screen shows the arrivals of the flights, either from Madrid, Panama or Fort Lauderdale.
It’s almost noon on the last Saturday and Dolores Ortiz, 65, is restless. She brings her hands to her face in concern and crosses them repeatedly. Accompanied by her children, grandchildren and sisters, she awaits the arrival of her son, whore turns to Ecuador after 18 years. When she barely catches sight of him, she quickly crosses under the security band, which separates the families from which they arrive, to embrace him and fill him with kisses. “Son, you are already in your land,” exclaimed the excited mother. His brothers and uncles do the same.
Javier,36, left the country when he was 18. He traveled to New York in search of better opportunities in the absence of work. According to the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso) and the United Nations Population Fund,only between 1999 and 2007 a little over 950,000 people emigrated from Ecuador.
Now,back to his native Cañar, he will share with his family the traditional”Pase del niño viajero”, a procession through which the faithful walk several streets until they return to the church. “What I missed most about my country was to spend these moments, which are unique. Being away, one learns to value the family. It’s something wonderful and very emotional, “says Javier.
His wife Bertha, Ecuadorian and 40, and his three children, all born in the United States, traveled with him. She also returns after 18 years. Her aunt Inés Fajardo says that two months ago they learned that she would come to spend the Christmas holidays. “I am proud and happy to have her with us again. She has helped us financially. It was hard to watch her leave, but now we see that everything was worth it “.
The movement in this area was intensified yesterday by the presence of dozens of people who also waited excited, with balloons and welcome banners, the arrival of their relatives from Spain. The expectation grew when Air Europa’s UX 039flight landed at 10:10 at the airport terminal.
Raúl Vivar wished that the minutes would pass quickly to see and embrace hisdaughter Katty Vivar, who 22 years ago traveled to Madrid to do a master’s degree in Economics at the Complutense University, where she obtained a scholarship from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). “The entity gives a scholarship for each country, and my daughter got it thanks to her goodgrades, references and other requirements.
Then she fell in love with a pilot and stayed there, “says Don Raúl, who lives in Guayaquil. He adds that his daughter will spend the Christmas holidays with him, since she will return to Spain for the New Year. A few meters from Don Raúl is Gino Alvarado, who along with his brothers and other relatives await his parents César Alvarado and Lidia Campoverde, from Ibiza, Balearic Islands.
They immigrated to Spain 18 years ago because of the economic situation that the country was going through. He adds that this is the fifth time that his parents come to Ecuador. “They told us that at the beginning it was hard to a daptto everything: culture, climate, customs, get a job, but they already have as table life there, with work, and now they come to the country,” says Alvarado, who sees his parents and the first thing to do is give them a big hugand kiss them.
Doña Lidia says that she emigrated in search of a better life and future for them and their family. “When we arrived in Spain everything was unknown,difficult, since you do not know anyone. Currently we are already adapted there, but we still want to return. Today (yesterday), thank God, we arrived in my country well, but tired, now we will spend Christmas and New Year with great joy with my family “.
At the exit of the international arrival area of the air terminal there are two points of the National Police for those migrants who wish to benefit from the”Safe Return” plan, whose service has been requested from November 22until today by more than 500 people.
According to data provided by an agent, around 20 people a day ask for this free service in order to get safely to their homes, whether in Guayaquil, Cuenca or other sectors of the country. (I)