What immediately struck me about life in Duran is that while most people are living in poverty, there is an overwhelming sense of happiness and community. To me, that seems to be a large difference between here and home; it´s rare to find any American family that isn´t wanting more than they have. Here, it seems most families are grateful for what they have and, importantly, for each other. The children may not have a huge number of toys or the newest gadgets, but they do have a playground right across the street that they are happy to use at all hours of the day. Likewise, the adults may not have everything they desire, but they have laughter and singing and a homemade hammock to pass the time. There are various ways that they try to make some extra money, but they never seem unhappy or resentful about having to stop what they are doing to sell a soda or beer. It´s a quality that is lacking in the United States, where even the newest technology isn´t enough and people would rather spend time on the computer than talking about their day. When I discussed this feeling with a friend of mine, he said something along the lines of, ¨Ignorance is bliss.¨ But how ignorant can those in Duran be, with the mansions of Guayaquil just a short bus ride away? They also know of all the vacation spots we are talking about visiting, like Montañitas and Baños. In the case of Duran, I´d say it´s more ¨Appreciation is bliss,¨ and the fact that some things are missing doesn´t detract from what they do have.