After thirty years on the road, Roni Askey-Doran abandons her nomadic lifestyle to set up house in a remote coastal village in the middle of the world. A tiny fishermen’s haven nurtured by the Pacific Ocean, Mompiche barely earns its dot on the Ecuadorian map. Pursuing her dreams to design her own eco-friendly home and get her hands dirty in rich topsoil, Roni easily settles into the small community but quickly finds herself challenged on many levels.
In a culture far removed from her own she encounters some unique problems; from bathing in buckets of cold water every day to frequent power failures, doing battle with flesh-eating parasites to almost dying of dengue fever, and enduring the daily harassment about being unacceptably single to machete-wielding lunatics threatening to kill her. Not to mention the lack of chocolate and marshmallows in the store, the disappointment of discovering the once-a-week fruit and vege truck is out of garlic, and struggling to survive the leanest times on five dollars a week. As the bamboo shack rises from sticks in the mud to take shape and the first organic tomato plants begin to bear fruit, the neighbors begin a relentless campaign of terror to force out la gringa loca – even resorting to witchcraft.
Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North of Zero is a crazy story that unfolds from the moment Roni steps off the bus and follows a winding trail through a complex and mystifying culture that first embraces her but then chews her up and spits her out. Wheedling the recipes of traditional dishes from the local women, Roni learns to feed her soul as well as her body, losing over thirty kilos (70lb) along the way. She learns to dance like a Latina, speak like a Mompichera and celebrate the unique traditions of her adopted culture, simultaneously despairing the mindless exploitation and destruction of precious natural resources, and waging war on the army of land crabs that chomp on her vegetable seedlings.
Ya Mismo is a gritty rollercoaster of a tale about what can happen when you force a square peg into a round hole. This amazing story is still being written. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the infrequently updated blog: Ya Mismo: Thirty Minutes North Of Zero.
Status: Work in Progress.
Expected finish date: One of these days.
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