The Andean worldview differs from that of Western civilization in various ways. Once you become familiar with their worldview, it’s a little easier to understand why Andean peoples think the way they do. There are four elements: collectivity, reciprocity, transformation, and essence.
Collectivity: Means the group is more important than the individual. It is the understanding that things must be done for the good of the people, not the person. Modern Western culture, on the other hand, extols the individual.
Reciprocity: Groups in different areas help one another, especially through agricultural exchanges. In Imbabura Province, for example, there is monthly food bartering involving mestizos, indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorians.
Transformation: The constant state of change in the world including movement from the life to the afterlife. The indigenous believe death is not the end. There is a spiritual world as well. During “Day of the Deceased” (Día de los Difuntos), families visit cemeteries. They bring food to share with loved ones who are now in the next world, and try to communicate with them.
Essence: This concept is often seen in art. It doesn’t matter what something looks like. It is the inner meaning that matters. Essence over outward appearance.
David Sasaki, who resides in Cotacachi is the thoughtful co-administrator of Facebook’s Ecuador Expats group with over 9,000 members. His daily postings on the group page is a must read for better appreciation on living in Ecuador.