After 45 years of service at the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C., Jose Cristobal Pilligua decided to say goodbye to the place and the people that saw him grow into the person he is today.
For the past four decades, Cristobal has devoted his life to the Embassy, several Ambassadors of Ecuador to the US and employees whom have taught him many valuable lessons and interesting stories. It all started when Cristobal came to the US in 1969 after getting a job offer from Ambassador Carlos Matilla, whom he met at a restaurant in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The opportunity could’ve not been any better for him as his family was already living in the country as well.
Following his arrival to the states, Cristobal began to work as Ambassador Matilla’s residence butler. His work was instantly noted and he was incorporated as an official staff member of the Embassy, where he has been working all these years. Cristobal has served as an administrative aide and has helped in providing logistical support to the Ambassadors that have in been in service.
From all the years spent at the Embassy, Cristobal says he has lived many significant moments and important visits, such as president Correa’s. “I remember one visit that everyone coined as the “blanket story” of president Correa. It was because I had bought and stored a new blanket/pillow that I knew one day would become handy. President Correa needed to rest in between his meetings and I wanted him to feel comfortable.”
Cristobal’s stories are endless. From a time when State Department personnel though he was the Ambassador to the time when he helped evacuate the Embassy’s premises during an earthquake in 2011. Although there are many interesting stories about Cristobal, the one that will always remain in the hearts of his friends and coworkers at the Embassy, is the one of a man who was loyal to those who surrounded him and who was always willing to go the extra mile for those who served at the Embassy during his time.
Now, officially retired, Cristobal is on his way back to Ecuador where he plans to spend his time growing cacao and coconuts in two small farms in the south of the country.