Hello parents and friends. Our names are Victoria Hernandez and Pooja Deshmukh. We are the leaders of “Deconstructing Poverty” day (7/7/18). The purpose of today was to analyze the differences and similarities between poverty in the U.S. and Ecuador through a day long trip to Salinas, a small town known for their artisanal goods. Additionally, we considered the following quote: “Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime” — Chinese Proverb.

We started the day off by having breakfast at our food providers, Feroz (Fierce) where we had fruits such as watermelon and bananas along with hard boiled eggs and juice. After breakfast, we proceeded to travel to Salinas where we divided into three groups, each group participating in equally enlightening activities. While some groups explored the salt mines of the town, others were introduced to the local goods like chocolate and fabrics. After numerous invigorating hours, we were honored with the opportunity to listen to the founder of modern Salinas, Padre Antonio. Gaining a deeper knowledge of his experiences helped all of us understand the commitment and drive that has contributed to raising the economic levels of community members in Salinas.  

Following Padre Antonio’s insightful words, we enjoyed a scrumptious meal at a pizzeria. Afterwards, we proceeded to learn from the women of Simiatug Samai. These empowering women shared the trials and tribulations they faced in an effort to create a community with a strong foundation. They had hoped to sell hand woven items to advance this goal, and explained to us some of the struggles they encountered along the way.We then went back to the hotel where we reflected on the meaning of poverty and how it personally impacted us. Overall, getting to experience the soul of Salinas impacted our mentality towards the value of labor and the true meaning of unity.

– Pooja and Victoria <3