Hey everyone!!! It’s Jayla and Rubi, we’re today’s Leaders of the Day. We woke up really early today (5:45) and we took a long bus ride to Salinas. We didn’t go to La Estancia today for breakfast and instead had egg sandwiches, orange juice, apples, pears, and strawberry cookies on the bus. Salinas is famously known in Ecuador for its business model which has for years positively impacted the community around it, bringing in money and tourism. Today we visited a cheese factory, chocolate factory, essential oil shop, and textile factory.

As soon as we pulled up to the first stop, we got out of the bus and immediately spotted locals with their alpacas and llamas carrying jugs of milk up to the cheese factory. We also saw the most adorable stray dogs ever (but we didn’t touch them!). Our guide told us about the cheese factory and how the community gets involved in the business. Every morning farmers from all around the city milk their cows and transport the fresh milk to the factory where it’s tested to make sure it’s safe for consumption then pasteurized before being made into one of 22 different cheeses. The farmers get paid every 15 days based on how much milk they brought in. The cheese made in Salinas is gourmet and is one of the top three cheeses in the country. Afterwards, we were able to buy and try different types of cheese. Many of us, after trying samples, bought multiple cheese blocks to bring home (such as pesto and andino).

After, we boarded the bus and drove a few minutes to the chocolate factory. The factory wasn’t open so we weren’t able to see the process of how it was made, but we did get to visit the store and shop. Everyone definitely bought way more than they needed. They had all different types of chocolate. They had dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate infused with passion fruit and chili, chocolate spreads, chocolate covered almonds, literally EVERY type you could think of (even some you didn’t want to think about like hot pepper!). As we walked away from the chocolate factory, our tour guide told us all about how the town used to look in the 1970’s and showed us pictures. It was drastically different from now and that’s all due to the success of the small local businesses there. Where most homes and buildings stood, there were once small huts without electricity, running water, or paved roads. They’ve achieved amazing progress and we were able to see a lot of construction sites, showing they’re still actively progressing their neighborhood today.

On the way to the textile factory we stopped in a small shop for essential oils. I had originally thought I wouldn’t be interested in spending money there but once I stepped inside, I was hooked on the smell of eucalyptus and Rosemary and spent a good amount of money on things I hope I find use for. After around 30 minutes we left and walked to the textile factory. We learned about how most of the clothing there was made from alpaca and llama fur. The factory was also heavily supporting women’s empowerment and by buying something from there, we were directly sending money to the hard working women who supply the store. I ended up spending money on a blanket and a sweater made from Alpaca fur. Afterwards we had pizza for lunch which we were really excited about because we haven’t had pizza since we were in New York. One of the program coordinators told us that we were the first group this summer to finish all the pizza.

On the bus ride back we sang songs like an a capella group which some weren’t happy about because we had to wake up early and they were trying to take naps. When we got back we enjoyed some free time and spent the evening writing letters of appreciation to some sponsors of Global Glimpse. Thanks for reading, please leave us comments lol.

Big Love,

Rubi and Jayla

Happy Birthday Mom and Daddy, love you guys! – Rubi (and Jeancarlo too!)