Homero and Efigenia Altamirano, both in their seventies, have spent their lives doing what their parents taught them to do: work the land. Originally from the Ecuadorian mainland, the Altamiranos moved to the Galapagos Islands a little more than a decade ago after the Tungurahua volcano erupted near their home. When they arrived, they continued to do what they love.
“We feel happy because this has always been our work,” said Homero Altamirano, “I grab the weed wacker, I grab the machete and we just go at it. Go go go. That’s how life is. That’s our life and we’re happy.”
The Altamiranos came with a strong desire to serve the community. There weren’t many people working the land when they arrived, and they wanted to provide the people of Isabela with good, fresh food. Every Saturday the Altamiranos get up at 3:30 a.m. and get ready to sell their produce at the farmers market. “If you take 50 pineapples, you sell 50 pineapples,” Efigenia Altamirano said. “Bananas, sugarcane, whatever. Whatever we have the crates come back empty.”
The Altamiranos farm is located in the highlands, a 40-minute drive from the only town on Isabela, Puerto Villamil. They make the trip back and forth often, but they also spend a lot of their time together on the farm. In the evening, they relax by listening to music or playing guitar. “If we had wanted to be alone we would have been single,” Efigenia Altamirano said.
The Altamiranos have 9 children, all of which live on the Islands. They plan to farm as long as they are able.