By Marissa Garay

Summer 2018 Global Consulting Lab (GCL)
Ecuador, Heifer International

Read Part 1 of this blog.

Third Stop: Chimborazo

Wednesday, May 16: Apart from the long hours of travel, which have become very normal to us by now, today is quite a different day. The business that we are visiting (Jacari Campesino) is at a very early stage, in a remote part of the Andean mountains. This is an alpaca business led mainly by women who have taken a lead role in their community with high aspirations. Currently these women spend their days taking care of the alpacas and making fiber out of their wool. For now, their main business is selling this fiber to bigger companies, but they dream of having their own clothing and accessory store, for which they have already started to make a variety of sweaters, scarves and even jewelry. These women are so proud of what they do and so excited to receive our help that they even make us carry one of their alpacas! The team is incredibly humbled and excited for the opportunity to help out such a business.

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Thunderbird GCL students holding alpacas in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador

Fourth Stop: Cotopaxi

Today is the last day we are out in the field with Heifer, before going back to Quito and beginning our office work. This last visit is to a dairy business, which is actually also a women-led company and is the most developed business we have visited this week. The organization we see here is like none we have seen these past days; they are the only ones with an actual logo on their products and a business-like mindset. This is the only company that actually has some type of financial records and very clear goals as to where it is expanding. Again, they were so proud and excited about their products that they gave us some cheese to taste and even let us milk a cow. Nevertheless, this company is also a challenge for us. However, as with all of them, the team is once again motivated to help all of these Ecuadorean companies out as much as we can and continue to give a good name to the Thunderbird Global Consulting Lab projects. 

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Thunderbird student milking a cow during a field visit with Heifer Ecuador, in the province of Cotopaxi.