After yesterday’s relaxing free day, the group was eager to wake up bright and early for our global business day. And as leader of the day, I reminded everyone to come to breakfast in their business casual attire; they all looked so great! We began our day in Roma Santa with a mental warm up that covered the background of the two businesses we would visit: Arévalo and Guïjarro. Arévalo is a local shoe factory located in Guano, while Guïjarro is a foreign business (they are a Brazilian company that imports various shoe brands), that is also located in Guano.
After the warm up, we made our way to Guano by bus, and were greeted warmly by the employees and the master shoe maker. The tour of the factory showed us step by step how one pair of men’s leather shoes is made. The group immediately questioned why we would only see the men’s shoe process. The factory employee, Dora, said that it was because women are too complex, requiring a variety in the shoes they wear. Essentially, she was saying how it is easier to make a few different types of men’s shoes, than trying to tackle many different kinds to meet the demand of women. The group found this humorous and we were quite intrigued to learn about this process. They continued the tour showing us how they cut the leather, sew it, mold its shape, and make one pair of leather shoes. No summary can capture exactly how much effort, time, and thought they put into each shoe they make. In all, to make one pair of shoes for the group, it took the master shoe maker (who has been making shoes for nineteen years) close to an hour. This shocked the group, and truly made us appreciate this visit even more, especially when we learned that they only make a little bit above minimum wage, totalling about three hundred and eighty five dollars per month. Additionally, the group was also very surprised when we learned that for every pair of leather shoes made, the factory makes a profit of one dollar. After the tour concluded, we made sure to thank Dora and the master shoe maker for their time, with a speaker gift: a global glimpse tote bag. They went above and beyond to show us their work; by going step by step to make the pair of shoes they had to lower entire quota of shoes for the day.
The group then explored their garden, where the factory manager was gracious enough to give us several guava fruit and tree tomatoes for the road, as they explained that they are all a family at this local business. This contrasted greatly to the Brazilian shore store we later went to visit, which maintained a friendly but impersonal connection with their employees. We entered this store to find a many shoes for both men and women, consisting of various designs, materials, and textures. With this, the group was geared towards contrasting the two, in thinking about the climate and intentions of the companies making these shoes. This was later reflected on deeply by the group, in the courtyard, where the main takeaway from this discussion was similar to this type of thinking: shop quality (local business, specifically) over quantity (cheap prices set by intrusive foreign businesses). This was the general consensus of the group, concluding that when we return to the US, we should consider the intentions behind this company, such as to drive local businesses out, treat their employed poorly, and overall, just make money when we make our purchases.
Following the visit to these businesses, the PCS introduced our Community Action Project, by explaining the three Ds: Discovery, Design, and Delivery. The group was originally overwhelmed by the idea of our CAP days where we would all be responsible for somehow aiding the entire community. However, as the PCs began to explain the project more, we were relieved to feel as though there would be a clear foundation and philosophy as we carry out this project. The foundation being to take each part of the project one at a time, discovering what the need is, designing the sustainable project, and implementing the actual project. The philosophy of this project also reinforced the importance of working with the community (to meet a need that is actually present), and work with each other to be able to fulfill our “vision.” With this “vision” in mind, the PCS also pointed out the importance of making it realistic, where it is doable with both the funds and time we have here.
To finish this eventful day, the group was treated for Mexican food at a local restaurant: Lina. On the way to this restaurant, the PCS took us along a scenic route of the vibrant city, where we saw many popular shops, quaint parks and carnivals. When we finally arrived, everyone was given the choice between burritos, enchiladas, and a traditional Mexican flauta. These dishes were very satisfying to all the glimpsers, as was the surprise chocolate cake we received afterwards. 😉
After this meal, came the time to pass the Leader de Dia torch to tomorrow’s leaders. Before I go, I would like to note that today was a fascinating, and informative day, which impacted everyone greatly. We all learned SO much, and will definitely keep this experience in mind when shopping back in the US. Your children are all such great role models, and I am so grateful to have been able to lead them today!!
Leader de Dia of Global Business: Trista F.