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The Ecuador Chronicles - 2011-23

The Importance of Heroes - Part II;
                     Fictional Heroes and Real Life Heroes;
                                                               Be a Hero Yourself 
by Ray Almand
We continue with Part II of heroes
Real Life Heroes

Real Life Heroes are more complicated than fictional heroes because they are human - we also know non-heroic things about them.   Let's take a look at a couple of world leaders.



Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan had a way of distilling complicated matters down to simple explanations that people could understand.  He had such an engaging manner that even foreign leaders not friendly to the United States would enjoy his company.  He seemed to reflect the best of American values - even if he was not always successful in applying these values to his own life.


We must give Reagan credit for speeding up the demise of the Soviet Union.  The Soviet economy could do little more than support its military machine.  Reagan proposed the "Star Wars" missile defense system - really nothing more than a vaporware bluff - and threw Russia into turmoil; they could not keep up.  He made his Berlin - "Tear Down this Wall" - speech.  The failure of the communist system was so clear - a wall and an Iron Curtain were required to keep people from voting with their feet.  And all this time he maintained a good relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev.  So, I vote Ronald Reagan as a Real Life Hero.



Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher was British Prime Minster from 1979 - 1990.  The United Kingdom had fallen on hard economic times during the 1960's and 1970's to a great extent due to socialist policies.  Margaret Thatcher was somewhat like Ronald Reagan in that she had an (English) way with words - saying things in a way that people could understand - and often witty.  She would make statements such as:


"The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money"


This might give pause even to a sincere supporter of income redistribution - someone has to create the wealth before you can take it for redistribution.  Such a person might think a little further - maybe we need an economic system that encourages wealth creation - and, you know, if we take too much of it that may also discourage people from creating it.  Thatcher pushed through reforms that allowed the British economy to thrive - and even the Labour Party seems to now understand the implications of the quotation above.  And she deserves credit for standing against communism with Ronald Reagan - they were quite a pair on the world stage; I'm glad I was alive to see it.  I was traveling in England in 1979 while she was campiagning for Prime Minister and I was living in London during her final year in office - it was exciting right up the the end.  So, I vote for Margaret Thatcher as a Real Life Hero.


Here are some Images of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher:




Ronald Reagan, speaking at the famous Brandenburg Gate of the Berlin Wall - "Tear Down this Wall!" - And a few years later the people of Berlin did just that


Presidential - with Matt Dillon Style



At the Door to Number 10 Downing Street






They Changed the World and Left it a Better Place



Real Life Heroes - Ecuador
Garcia Moreno


Live Well Ecuador Principal Mathieu Guillory has a hero - former Ecuador President Gabriel Garcia Moreno.  Garcia Moreno was active in Ecuador politics from 1847 until his assassination while President in 1875.  He was elected president three times.  He laid the foundation for much of what is now modern Ecuador.  As Mathieu explained in a Chronicle about Garcia Moreno last year:


 ".....he brought an end to chaos in a country that was in chaos since Ecuador won its independence from Spain. Then…he brought much needed “civilization” and “culture” to a country that was bordering on barbarism.  And….he did so much to bring modern cohesive infrastructure into the country. Lastly…he brought education to the Indians and women....."


Garcia Moreno was a devout Catholic.  Mathieu explains the significance of this - from the prior Chronicle:


"....From a Values perspective…he unified the country with its diverse ethnic, racial, social and financial divisions by making it law to be Catholic in order to be an Ecuadorian citizen.  He consecrated the Country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Finally, he made a Concordant with the Vatican to base the Constitution under Christian principals"


As you might imagine, at this point Garcia Moreno becomes problematic for me.  While I am not much bothered by the idea of prayer in schools, or before a football game, I do believe in the basic separation of Church and State.  Even so, Garcia Moreno deserves my vote as a Real Life Hero.



Gabriel Garcia Moreno




Mathieu Guillory in his Quito Office -

 Portrait of Garcia Moreno behind his desk


Here is the link to Mathieu's Chronicle on Garcia Moreno



Shelley Winchester


Shelley Winchester does good works in Ecuador.  Shelley first came to Ecuador for a year as a student in the 1970's, and she fell in love with the country and its people.  After raising a family Shelley returned to Ecuador in 2005 as a tourist and was reminded of her love for the country and all that it had given her - she began to consider what she could do in return.  Shelley found a way to help - in her own words:


"I found an opportunity on the internet and returned to Quito to be a volunteer in a shelter  run by nuns for abandoned and abused girls between 12 and 18 years old. Since I am a middle school teacher, I thought this would be the perfect fit for me. Through the experience I learned that while the shelter was highly beneficial, there was a dearth of support for the girls once they left at age 18.  Many of the girls had nowhere to go, hadn’t finished school, had no life skills, and faced a bleak future.  I had to do something to help them.

I became friends with the shelter’s social worker and joined an Ecuadorian foundation that she and some of her colleagues had established to help these girls.  With donations I received in the U.S., I rented an apartment next door to the social worker’s, bought bunk beds and linens, and set up house for three girls who were leaving the shelter, but had nowhere to go."


Now Shelley has spent years doing good works in Ecuador - and in doing so she has had many adventures.  Shelley is a contributor to The Ecuador Chronicles, and her Chronicles are real adventures.  If you have not read these you should go to the links provided below.  Shelley has founded a non-profit corporation - Los Jovenes del Futuro -  to provide financial relief to children and families living in poverty in Ecuador - link also provided below.  It is with great pleasure that I cast my vote for Shelley Winchester as a Real Life Hero.


 Shelley Winchester with Maria de los Angles.  She was in the shelter when she was a year old and is now living with her uncle
 Summer of 2010 with three cuties in the
shelter Maria Campi de Yoder in Pusuqui (near Pomasqui) 
 Summer of 2009 with co-worker Veronica and a few of the kids
 An outing to the Equator
Some of the girls raised in Quito had never been

Links for Shelley winchester:


Expat Story:





Shelley's website - Los Jovnes del Futuro:



You Can be a Hero Too


I think many of you already are heroes.  Are you decent and fair to the people you meet?  Do you go the extra mile for the people you care about, for things important to you?  Do you listen, even to people with whom you disagree - and maybe find some common ground where action can be taken?  Do you do your work and take care of business?  Yes to all of this? - Then you get my vote as a Real Life Hero.  And if you want to do more then maybe Shelley Winchester is an example.  But remember, Shelley does it her way.  You do it your way - a way that brings you satisfaction and a sense of worthwhile accomplishment - and throw in a good dose of adventure while you are at it.



Would You Like to visit Ecuador and become a Real Life Adventure Hero - Find out How: