Dear Roberto and Jaha,
When you begin something that’s big and different, and unlike anything you’ve done before, it helps to find friends quickly. Something about friendship in a new environment helps reassure you that everything’s gonna be okay.
When Dana and I first came to the little village of Puerto Cayo, Ecuador in 2012, it was surely different, and definitely a big deal. We’d just built a home on another continent and adopted this part of the world as a new and big part of our lives.
Planning our transition into Casa Azul, another friend suggested in the beginning we might plan a few overnights at Sanctuary where you’d created one of the nicest and most accommodating hotels on the Ecuadorian coast.
We’d spent one day in the air, and another full day driving from Quito to Puerto Cayo, experienced severe elevation sickness, and were baptized by fire in our first real driving experience across the Ecuadorian countryside. At the end of it all, we desperately needed friends and a place to call home. I also recall the need for a very cold Pilsener grande.
On arrival you greeted us with warm smiles and hugs, grabbed our luggage, and worked to make us comfortable from the first moment. You greeted us as your friends.
You never forget the first moments of a new and different experience. From the moment we arrived at Sanctuary something in my spirit said “everything’s going to be okay now.” You’ve created something at Sanctuary in which I think we all take pride.
We’ve never properly thanked you both for making the beginning to our new adventure a pleasant one. You are wonderful ambassadors for this place that is now so special to our hearts. A part of us is always in Puerto Cayo.
We recall this time fondly, enjoy the occasions when we see you, and especially smile watching Isa and Emilia grow into such beautiful young women. They are precious, indeed.
We are happy to call you our friends and blessed to be part of your community. Thank you for your friendship.
Steve and Dana