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The Ecuador Project – Heifer International & Elanco

Recibimos la visita de amigas y amigos de Elanco, uno de los donantes del proyecto que desarrolla la cadena de valor de  Leche. Erinn Philpot nos cuenta lo que vivió junto a las familias productoras de leche.

Lean esta maravillosa historia:

Imagine the once in a lifetime opportunity to serve provided by your company. Imagine that the cause is one that you hold dear to your heart and is one that your company is fully dedicated to. That dedication is as much financial as it is a foundation to the company’s core value – Food and Companionship Enriching Life.

The company is Elanco and the cause is Heifer International and I was fortunate enough to travel with a small group of global colleagues to Ecuador to learn about and work on a shared project there. I arrived with the expectation of some personal epiphany that would somehow give me clarity on the how and why of life…why do we have the material wealth, opportunity and ease of life that we are afforded and others do not? Instead, I came home with a sense of gratitude and internal calm. My purpose is still what is was before I left – to do what I am capable of doing to serve my community here in CO and to continue to donate to the causes I feel strongly about donating to. Nothing really earth shattering – but what did effect change in me, was getting to spend time with the families that have been affected by the work that Heifer is doing in the villages of the Cotopaxi Province. The families we met and shared time with are some of the hardest working and happy people I have ever met. They welcomed us with open arms, shared their food and their stories with us. We worked with them side by side in the milk collection centers and in their fields. We worked the cows and fed the cuy (guinea pigs), we played with the children and read them stories. They are content with the things they have – food for their family and a roof over their head. Of course they want a better quality of life and that is where Heifer/Elanco come in, to educate and provide opportunity for improvement. This is a long term investment and this work goes beyond the here and now. The project will provide a better way of life for generations to come and that is the rainbow after the rain. The children have a future to look forward to, the villages will continue to flourish and continue to improve a sustainable way of life. Heifer is built on 12 cornerstones: Passing on the Gift, Accountability, Sharing and Caring, Sustainability and Self-Reliance, Improved Animal and Resource Management, Nutrition and Income, Gender and Family Focus, Genuine Need and Justice, Improving the Environment, Full Participation, Training and Education and Communication, and lastly, Spirituality. We got to see women empowered to be included in decision making and even managing milk collection centers! They are “family managers” and provide a good role model for the next generation of women. The people have been trained on technology in milk collection centers so they can test samples of milk to ensure quality and they are being paid a fair wage for their milk because the corruption has been addressed. Some of us even got to make cheese, yogurt and ice cream as they have been trained to diversify their goods to sell at local markets and milk fairs.

We experienced an improved way of life that is sustainable and gives hope to generations to come. The project is working and the people are grateful for it. I came home with a heart full of gratitude for the things I have and a new sense of purpose: to help my daughter see we have so much to be grateful for and there are so many who struggle in our world, yet they too are grateful. I want her to know that we can make a positive impact on our world. We can learn a lot from our friends in Ecuador: gratitude and perseverance go a long way. That community is strength and education and knowledge can and will illicit change. My hope is that our group of 12 Elanco employees will begin a chain reaction bigger than ourselves, one that is far reaching and widespread. That we can share our story across our business units, to our friends and family and even in our local communities. That we can make a difference with a unified message of giving and hope.