Ever since early April of this year, our boys have had to adjust to a new person to care for them. The lady who had been taking care of them since we moved to Ecuador, Marina Hernandez, had to quit working for health reasons. However, we were excited when Jenny Pilataxi was able to begin working for us immediately after Marina left.
Jenny was considerably younger and full of energy. She always came to work smiling and with a positive attitude toward anything I asked her to do. Her positivity helped to make the change easier on my boys as I had to continue teaching for the rest of the school year. When the summer break began, we told Jenny to take some vacation time while we traveled in the U.S.
When we returned, I was able to get to know Jenny a little better since I wasn’t teaching classes. Jenny’s husband runs his own mechanic shop. She has two daughters in their twenties, one daughter who is nineteen and a son who is nine. Her nineteen year old just started attending a local university last year and still lives at home. Her oldest daughter is married and recently found out that she is pregnant.
That was when the trouble began. Her oldest daughter also is the secretary/book keeper for her husband’s mechanic shop. In Ecuador, the labor is cheap so they make most of their money off of the parts they replace on cars. This requires a lot of purchases and paperwork and negotiating with the bank.
A few weeks into her pregnancy, Jenny’s daughter went to see her doctor with concerns about bleeding. Her doctor ordered her to go on immediate bed rest for the following three weeks. This left Jenny’s husband without a secretary/book keeper. The situation was tough, because he couldn’t hire outside help that was both willing to work temporarily (so the daughter could continue working for him after her maternity leave) and willing to accept the lower salary that he gave his daughter.
He began putting pressure on Jenny to quit her job with us so that she could work for him full time. Jenny told me the situation and said that she was trying to reason with him. But after a week of arguments and stony silence on his end, she told me that she had no choice but to quit. However, she also told me that she had a niece who had been recently left unemployed and needed a job.
That is when Sonia Yanchapaxi enters the scene. She has been working for us since August 9 and says that my sons are the boys she never had. She has two teenage daughters. One is going into eighth grade and the other is going to be a senior. Although we were very sad to have to say good-bye to another caregiver that the boys were finally getting used to, the past three weeks have not been as hard as I thought they would have been. Sonia enjoys playing with the boys and has been very helpful during the times that I have to work on preparations for the new school year and working on my Ph.D. We are hoping that Sonia can continue to work for us for the rest of the time that we live in Ecuador.