Portrait of the week: A French girl in Ecuador

At the corner of a street in Mindo, I ran into Marie-Gabrielle, French, 35yo, who lives in Ecuador for just over a year. Her history is fascinating.

Inta & Killa Restaurant Mindo EquateurHis house on one floor, open to all, is completely wooden. Large windows allow you to communicate with the outside. Pretty flowers adorn the entrance and two pairs of hummingbirds make their home. It’s a real treat to see them fly sipping a good fresh juices.

This is an artist’s house where paintings and carved furniture harmonize place. It feels good. At night, lanterns and candles add a touch of magic and laughed late into the night.

I decided to ask some questions to Marie-Gabrielle. Here’s what she told me over coffee, her coffee! This is a great place that I highly recommend to relax and learn tips from the region in Spanish, English or French!

Marie Gabrielle, what were you doing in France?

After my business studies, I turned into finance “solidarity” by working for France Active, an association focused on the social and financial assistance for businesses.

Then I worked at La Défense in Paris and the City of London in socially responsible investment.

In parallel, I was a volunteer for Les restau du Coeur in Paris once a week and playing music, my passion since childhood.

How did you arrive in Ecuador?

One day, I said stop, that’s enough, I want to focus on something else, on my passion.

So I stop everything and I started a music school in London. After several months, I created my group and started working for a producer. I was playing jazz duo with a pianist, also composing my own songs. But I quickly realized that I did again the scheme of “productivity” that I had managed to leave. It is my love for music, not for management that opened my eyes.

I needed to refocus on myself, get back to basics. I started meditating and things are made easily. My encounters led me to go to a town in Ecuador for a trip that would allow me to find myself.

Lost in the heart of an Ecuadorian village, this is where I fell in love with the country. People are so nice, beautiful scenery. On top of the Cordilleras, the earth becomes one with the sky, it’s magic!

You are therefore stay?

I first went back to France to pack my bags and checked out for a year as a volunteer to work in a school, 6 months in public and then 6 months in private.

It was in a remote village, Rio Muchacho. Children come to school on horseback. Ecuadorians have quickly integrated me and I met my partner today. So yes, I stayed. For him, for Ecuador and its people.

You opened a restaurant with your companion in Mindo since early February, can you tell me a little more?

We came to Mindo earlier this year because it is a quiet area and tourism is more respectful of nature. We have indeed opened a restaurant / cafe / bar which has been operational since early February. We called Inti & Killa, in relation to the sun and the moon.

We did everything ourselves, wooden furniture (on the principles of respect for nature, only the wood already cut and no longer used), fabrics, paints …

The café offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and in the evening we open bar with live music. I do a few performances! All products are fresh and I sometimes several kilometers to find the best ingredients such as good coffee which is not always easy to find.

Can you give us the address?

Easy! Inti & Killa, a wooden house next to the church. This is the Barrio Virgen del Cisne area.

What is the specialty from Inti & Killa?

Beyond the products we use for cooking, I would say this is a place of life where art is predominant.

Have you other activities?

I organize in the restaurant, exhibitions of paintings and photos of the area and its beautiful birds. I also give courses tutoring to children Mindo. And thanks to the furniture we manufactured for the restaurant, we have individual controls for the interior decoration.

Peinture et croquis de Marie-Gabrielle

It was a beautiful encounter. And if you go through Mindo try in hr haven of peace and take time!

© Photo Credit MG & CaptainGini

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