For any new readers, a TIST is a round up of all the things I saw today (that you may not have). These are getting harder to do because I have been here long enough that everything starts to seem normal, but here are some things that I saw that you might find interesting.
A couple riding a mule through the main thorough-fare of the city.
Less seen than heard: Two men joking about who was going to dump the gravel into the river, neither wanting to do it because if caught there would be a fine. After finally getting it done they took a pause and watched as a policeman came by. One of the men yelled, "This black friend did it!" and both the men burst into laughter. I thought they would pee their pants. Here being called black (negrito) is a term of endearment. So is being called fat (gordita). It takes some getting used to.
Popcorn. I had chicken broth soup (with feet) and soup here is not eaten with crackers. It's eaten with popcorn. It's good, next time you serve soup you should try it with popcorn.
I have also been seeing signs for missing children. Very sadly, Loja has become dangerous for children as it seems we have a gang who has begun to kidnap them. It's hard here to separate fact from fiction as most news travels person to person becoming more fantastical as it travels. However, the official suspicion is that the children are being taken for organ harvesting. Please, I beg you to pray for our children.
Sorry to close out my TIST on such a heavy note, but the children of Loja need your prayers.