“We’ve been waiting a long time for this day,” Don McGrae exclaimed in his opening remarks at the ground-breaking ceremony for Hacienda de las Flores, an assisted living complex now under construction in Cotacachi. The ceremony took place March 11.
Along with his wife Anita, he welcomed a gathering of about 75 attendees, mostly expats but also the town’s vice-mayor and a delegation of municipal officials.
The group gathered at tables assembled under white tents on the grounds of the complex, which to date has only walls, the beginnings of an entry gate and two small buildings. But soon condominiums will rise on the site and Cotacachi will be home to a fine facility that will serve the town’s senior population, both Ecuadorian and expat.
During one of his trips to Cotacachi, Don woke up one morning and realized how really beautiful Ecuador is. “I’m from Wales,” he said, “which is the size of Ecuador. I’m also from a small village in a small town similar to Cotacachi, so I feel at home here.”
Because he and Anita have been very successful in business, they made a pact. ““We will do good things for others. It’s time for us to give back to other people, to the old, infirm and to the children.” That decision was the birth of the idea for Hacienda de las Flores. For Don and Anita’s story, click here.
“In 2009 at La Mirage, a nearby resort and spa, I was introduced to the vice-president of Ecuador,” Don told us. “He was a very friendly man who, despite being wheel-chair bound, managed to talk to all of us. I told him about our idea for Hacienda de las Flores and told him it was project unique in this area. He said, ‘No, it’s unique to all of Ecuador.’ I felt very humbled.”
McGrae asked the crowd for support in moving Hacienda de las Flores forward. “Together we can all achieve much more than we can as individuals. We’ll be able to financially help the people of this town.”
The vice-mayor of Cotacachi, Santiago Lazano, initiated the ground-breaking ceremony. He offered his congratulations to the McGraes for providing such an important service.
Lazano placed the first stone for the first building in the project. The stone was suspended over a hole and then lowered into it.
Then Don tossed a few shovelfuls of dirt over the stone.
Don and Anita McGrae with their project manager and with Franklin Uresta, project assistant and translator.
Refreshments were served by D’Anita’s Restaurant. Mayor Anrango was unable to attend the ceremony because he was called to an emergency meeting in Quito following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. There was the possibility of flooding on the coast of Ecuador, but luckily that didn’t happen.
Eagle and Condor Internacional (Pro-Ecuador.com) is handling sales for the project. For more information click here.