“If I could only chose one word to describe him, it would be altruistic,” said Cristina Moya Altamirano. “It doesn’t matter if it was a small action, […] he always looked for perfection in everything he took charge.”
Moya and Kevin Alejandro Paredes met at the OnCampus introduction week. After noticing his latin physical appearance, she was surprised to learn he, too, was from Ecuador. Since that day, the two became close friends. “Alejandro was a very generous person, responsible, committed to any idea that got into his head, sometimes even in a stubborn way,” Moya admits.
Kevin Alejandro Paredes Yepez was a son, a brother and a friend to many. On Monday July 16, at the age of 24, Paredes lost his life after an unfortunate accident.
Cynthia Sofía Rivera, 22, third-year business and economics student at UvA, remembers with much joy when Paredes told her he would move to Amsterdam to study the same major in 2016. The two students had met in 2014 back in Ecuador. Both attended a course that prepared them to pass the exam to access public universities. Fortunately, they were part of the few who benefit from the SENESCYT scholarship, which is provided by the Ecuadorian government to allow students to study abroad. The Netherlands is the country that receives the less quantity of students from Ecuador.
Paredes dreamed to bring his knowledge to his country to help to its development. “He had great ideals for the development that Latin America needs,” said Rivera. “He had faith in his country, in the Latin American ground that saw him grow,” added Alejandro Martinez, a 19 year-old upcoming PPLE student at UvA who is another beneficiary of the scholarship.
“Alejandro was an exemplary, noble, very giving person, and a dreamer” remembers Rivera. According to his father, Paredes’ dream was to graduate and go to Ecuador to teach in a University.
Paredes stood out as an exceptional leader who believed in the strength of working as a team. He loved music and culture, but had a special interest in Latin-American culture.
While at UvA, Paredes founded the UvA Ecuadorian Society, in which he found long-lasting friendships. In October 2017, he especially made a difference in the Ecuadorian Consulate in The Hague, when he highlighted the opening of the consulate to respond to the needs of students.
For Alejandro Martinez, the association was a place to meet friends from his native country. “I didn’t really interact with [Paredes] until I started going out with the Ecuadorian students from elder generations,” he said. The last Ecuadorian students who moved to Amsterdam, or the “new generation” as they called them, gathered in front of the J-K building to play ukulele and sing with the “older” generations. Even thought the two were not as close to each other back then, Martinez admits he had never felt as close to him as today. “The legacy that he left behind was what really got me closer to whom Alejandro was,” he said, “[…] he was a dreamer.”
For Cristina Moya Altamirano, Alejo, as she called him, was the kind of person that “one would want to have close to us until we get old.” “He used to say that us Ecuadorians have to stick together, that we have to take care of each other,” she said, “but at the end of the day, it was him who united us under any pretext.”
Kevin Alejandro Paredes was known for his ambition and heart-giving personality. “He had always been very kind, very cheerful” remembers his brother.
“He has left a mark on everyone who knew him,” said Martinez, “even on those, like myself, that got closer to [him later], […] [that got] inspired by the ideals he once had, and now live forever in our hearts.”
On July 18, a solemn act was held at Casa Migrante in Van Ostedestraat, and on July 20, a Mass was held at the Sint-Nicolaaskerk in his honour.
As the life insurance only covers the repatriation expenses, Paredes’ friends created a GoFundMe in order to help the financing of his parents’ airfare tickets to go to Amsterdam and bring him back to Ecuador.