“De Imbabura me vine al Guayas…” (From Imbabura, I came to Guayas)
“Rosita La Taxista” is an Ecuadorian soap opera that tells a story about a Native woman who works as a taxi driver in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At ten years old, Rosita and her mother migrated to Guayaquil from Imbabura, a province north of the capitol of Ecuador, and home to 150,000 Native people: the Kayambi, the Natabuela, the Kitukara, and the Kara people. Ever since, Rosita struggles to maintain her Native identity alive and strong in a white-mestizo society.
Rosita and her mother lived in Guayaquil – a coastal city proud of their white-mestizo identity- for ten years and still wear their Native clothes, speak Kichwa, and honor their traditional belief system. They preserved their identity in a city that frowns at Native people who do not quickly assimilate to coastal white-mestizo society. The coastal people think Andean people are “backward Indians.”
This history takes us back to colonial times. Indians and Indo-mestizos from the Andes region resisted Spanish assimilation for centuries. Even though they lost all of their land, the important thing was to keep their tradition, language, and culture alive and strong. However, Indians and Indo-mestizos from the Ecuadorian coast quickly assimilated to Spanish culture, language, and religion with “no evidence of resistance.” This is the reason coastal Ecuadorians are considered monos (monkeys) by the Andean Ecuadorians because “monkey see, monkey do.” On the contrary, coastal Ecuadorians consider Andean Ecuadorians “longo” and “cholo” because of their backward Indian culture.
Guayaquil peer pressures Andean Ecuadorians to quickly assimilate in order to climb the social ladder. Andean Ecuadorians leave their traditional ponchos behind, learn a new accent, and ONLY celebrate Native culture in Inti Raymi or other large Native festivals.
Rosita, the main character, symbolizes the resistance of assimilation. She promotes Native pride. Her mother faces a lot of battles with her coastal husband who puts her down for her Nativeness. For example, he says things like, “When will you cook my kind of food?” or “You’ve been here for so many years, you should know by now not to speak like that (meaning speaking in her Native tongue).”
Rosita gets a lot of discrimination from other characters, too. But she stands up and says, “I’m not ashamed of where I come from. I’m a proud Native. There was one scene when a people she was wearing a Halloween costume on Dia de los Muertos. She replied, “No, this is the way we dress back home. At least we know who we are, not like you (assimilated mestizos) who wear Spanish clothes. In fact, you do not even know who you are.”
A professor once told Rosita: “This is what our society needs. People like you. People who are not ashamed of being who they are. What is happening to our society today? People should be proud of teaching their children the ways of our ancestors. Our Native culture. African culture. It’s not all Spanish, you know.”
There is hope that the coast will embrace their Native roots one day and accept their Andean brothers and sisters as part of their Indo-mestizo society. All in all, we all come from the same Native ancestry in Ecuador and we can unite and fight against colonization that still happens in Ecuadorian society in 2013.
Please click the link below to see the trailer: