Savoring Ecuador

Thursday April 5, 2012

Savor empanadas, rice, seco de pollo (stewed chicken), fried sweet plantains and salad, and Ecuadorean strawberry cheesecake -- to the music of Guayaquil.

Guayaquil is Ecuador's largest city, and a group of women who once lived there, and their friends, are working together to bring alive the sounds and tastes of a warm night in the city streets.

On Saturday April 14, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., Mujeres Lat inas, a bilingual immigrant women's support group, will present Ecuadorean heritage of the Berkshires, to benefit Multi cultural Bridge. They will hold an evening of music, dance, food and culture from Ecuador's Pacific coast.

The climate -- very hot -- the music, food, clothing and customs of the coast are different here from those in la sierra, the mountains in land, they said.

On the coast, people eat seafood, often cold in ce viche, and pork, potatoes, rice and maize, said Maria Soria of Lee, who came to the Berkshires from Ambato, Ecuador, in la sierra.

Sonnia Patiño came to the Berkshires from Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean coast. She ives in Great Bar rington.

"There is a saying," she said, laughing, "that you can sell anything, even rocks, on the coast."

Guayaquil is a port city, said Liliana Bermudez of Lee. Bermudez, who organizes the Festivale Latino in the fall, came to the Berk shires from Colombia. Mer chant ships from international ports dock in Guayaqil and fill the markets, she said, and people from all over the world come to the beaches.

Patiño will gather artwork to exhibit with the dinner. And one vivid creation will swirl into motion.

Rocio Chevez of Lee, a professional seamstress also from Guayaquil, is making a dress for the dance. Two Berkshire dancers -- Pat ricia Cambi of North Egre mont, originally from Ecuador, and Victor Bocel, of Great Bar rington, originally from Hon duras and a performer at the Festival Latino -- will perform a traditional couples dance from Guayaquil.

Check out Guayaquileno madera de guerrero Alta, Patiño said, for a sample of the rapid drum-beat, the wide-flaring skirts in brilliant bands of color, and the confidence of the dancers.


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