Today, we woke up at 5:30 AM to a beautiful morning in Salinas. We set out towards the Cheese Factory to milk some adorable cows on the nearby field while the sun rose right over us. We learned from Giovanni and Mari that cows can produce up to 20-60 liters of milk, but usually 40 liters on average, which is equivalent to about 13 gallons! That’s a lot of milk!! After milking the cows, a few Glimpsers opted to travel the path that workers take every day to milk the cows in Salinas. It really put into perspective the amount of time and effort workers put into their days before they even start their job. They wake up a lot earlier than we did today, which made us grateful at the amount of effort the factory workers put in to ensure that our produce is fresh and ready to consume.
Then the glimpsers enjoyed a delicious breakfast at “La Va-k,” before going back to the hostel for a quick nap time in between our busy activities.
The Glimpsers got the chance to visit the Salinas salt mines and help preserve them by destroying the pesky weeds that threaten the long history of salt mine existence. We learned that the workers who collected the salt from the mines were mistreated and exploited by the business owners through the legend of the girl on the river. Legend tells us that the girl was hated by the Spaniards, and they tried to kidnap her and take her to Quito. Unfortunately, though she was able to escape, her hands and feet were cut off. After being told this, Giovanni told us that the one thing we should take away from this day is that “All together is a greater force,” basically representing a very popular saying we know today as “strength in numbers.” If the workers unite against the oppression, they are more powerful than anyone that stands in their way. The same can be said about the Glimpsers — if we work together, we can achieve anything and everything we set our minds to.
Shortly afterwards, we visited a popular chocolate factory and got to see behind the scenes of the chocolate making process. In Salinas, chocolate working was a way for the city to escape poverty through a promising business. The inside of the building was extremely modern, from the furniture and color schemes, as well as the actual machines within. Giovanni told the group that some of the machines used to make the chocolate are imported from the United States. We learned so much about the chocolate making process, including the amount of precision it takes to create just a single tray. Everything from ratio of milk to temperature goes under immense consideration before the chocolate is made.
For lunch, we enjoyed the most colorful pizza that we’ve ever eaten, consisting of produce that was collected locally. The cheese was bought fresh from the cheese factory and the meat was bought from a meat shop. Although there was a bit of difficulty adjusting to the altitude, most of the Glimpsers felt better when we arrived back in Guaranda.
Upon arrival, we had an enlightening discussion about the Global Glimpse trip overall. We all were able to gain a fresh new perspective on the things that each Glimpser hopes to accomplish before the end of their trip. Although most of the goals on our trip and in our futures are obtained individually, we learned from the salt mines today that our strength is unimaginable when we all help one another as one uniting, unstoppable force.