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Life Lessons From an Ecuadorian Handyman

I’m generally too unorganised to get my own chores done so this challenge wasn’t exactly done voluntarily! I was working in a hostel in Valencia over the summer and found myself with a few cleaning shifts working alongside Luis, the Ecuadorian handyman.

Luis was pretty much the father figure in the hostel. He kept the younger staff in check and made sure we all ate breakfast in the morning. Luis is also the biggest optimist I have ever come across. I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. His reaction to the extra list of chores to do each day merely brought out a chuckle rather than anything resembling a complaint.

Luis moved to Spain 15 years ago based on the recommendation of a friend that Spain was a place of opportunity. Said friend then ran off back to Ecuador just weeks after he arrived and left him to it – turns out he’d exaggerated to Luis a little. Jobs were not as plentiful as he had led Luis to believe and 15 years later he’s not been living the life of luxury he was promised. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic in his expectations of life. In fact, the only negative thing I ever heard from Luis was regarding this guy; he jokes he’ll kill him when he eventually visits home. I know he’ll be far too busy spending time with his family though when he finally makes it home. Luis hasn’t seen his parents in the 15 years since he moved to Spain and he is finally planning to go back and visit this year – I’m excited on his behalf!

Working with Luis made my shift fly by. He is the only person I have ever met who can make scrubbing toilets in 33 degree heat a, dare I say it, fun experience. I think his positivity was contagious and has definitely taught me to approach challenges with a can-do attitude. It makes even the most boring of days that little bit more exciting.

Lucy, Valencia

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