Ecuador Day 5 – Tuesday March 18

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Today we visited a flower plantation a coffee company and a plastics factory. We also almost fell off a mountain in our bus. Some of the roads here are crazy. Some drivers are too.

Flower Plantation One of the most interesting things about the flower industry is its relation to the drug industry. Flower farms replace drug farms.

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A new experimental rose called autumn breeze. Not yet available for sale.

In fact the U.S. has no duty on flowers coming in from Ecuador in order to encourage them not to grow cocaine. The thinking is that if people can make just as much or more growing flowers then there will be less desire to grow drugs. The farm hands actually make more working on a flower farm than on a cocaine farm.

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Oh the potential…

Flowers can be bread for longevity of life, size color and scent. Flowers release oils (essential oils?) which makes them smell. The challenge is that as they release these oils they become depleted and wither much faster. This is why most flowers available in the store have little smell.

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Dawson and Ashley enjoying one of the rare scented roses.

.Most Americans would rather have a flower with a little scent that lasts a week than one with a strong scent that lasts a day. There is a high end market for scented roses but these are generally only purchased by the wealthy.

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Even I could smell these roses.

Flowers are packaged at low temperatures because it helps them maintain freshness. Flowers are shipped dry because shipping water is heavy and expensive and because wet flowers continue to bloom in transit.

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The workers here are well paid and well treated. This “cart” is suspended on an elaborate system that covers the whole plantation.

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You saw it here first folks. A new breed of heart shaped roses. These will be available in the U.S. market soon.They not only look great but they last a long time too.

Other than the duty free shipping the Ecuadorian Flower industry gets no support from either the Ecuadorian government or the American government.

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Each rose has dead petals taken off by hand. Ecuador is has the best climate in the world for growing roses and this natural advantage requires no government assistance.

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This machine strips the leaves and thorns off the roses in a matter of seconds.

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Mr. Rule telling us about the international flower industry. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I have met so far on this trip.

Mr. Rule is also a tent maker which means his primary purpose for working in Ecuador is not to make money but to advance the Gospel.

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Quality inspection.

Instead of relying on support from a mission agency or a local church he uses his expertise to make a good living here in Ecuador. he uses his position of influence to create opportunities for the Gospel. His wife runs a summer camp for the children of the farm workers where they do arts and crafts, sports, field trips and learn about things like hygiene and health. They also learn Bible verses and hear the Gospel. They also have a doctor who comes and checks the children for health problems and they also watch the children for signs of abuse. All this is done a a benefit for those employees who have worked at the plantation.

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Roses packed and ready for shipment.

Mr. Rule and his wife also teach parenting skills to the employees trying to help them build better families. This man without being a burden on a local church financially is able to fight poverty, child abuse, drug use and advance the Gospel. And you can help him by buying flowers made in Ecuador 🙂

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The girls making their own flower bouquets. The guys made some too but no photos of that opperation were permitted.

Every time you buy a flower from Ecuador you are helping an Ecuadorian family. Flower plantations provide jobs away from the cities where crime and the cost of living are both high.

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Proof guys can arrange flowers.

The flower plantations also help other businesses. The one we visited feeds their employees two meals a day. In order to provide food they started a bakery in the local village and hired a couple of elderly women to run it. So not only are they feeding their own people but they are also funding local micro entrepreneurship by selling bread to the local village.

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Proof girls arrange flowers better.

Coffee Company
Ecuadorian coffee is some of the best in the world. We got to visit a coffee factory but were not permitted on the factory floor. Part of what makes each coffee brand unique is their mix of coffee bean types and qualities. This “secret sauce” is a trade secret and so strangers are not often given access to the factory.

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The coffee company didn’t let us inside the factory.

The factory vending machines in the lobby that would grind, brew and customize your own cappuccino, latte or espresso. I think there would be a huge market for these machines in the U.S.

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Dr. Merriman must really like coffee …

Plastics Factory
We visited a company makes plastic bags and shrink wrap. The employees are paid well and there is a company doctor who gives free medical care to employees and their families. Turn over is very low.

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I´m not sure what this man is doing but the machine is still running. Doesn’t look safe to me.

Safety while an issue does not seem to be as important here. This is likely why they are able to make things cheaper. OSHA mostly just forces U.S. companies to layoff their workers and leave the country.

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I have heard several times that there are a lot of opportunities for women in the workforce. Here a woman supervises a man.

I think boy cots and free market forces are better suited to setting safety standards than heavy handed governmental regulation. No one wins when a factory closes because it has been regulated out of business.

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Here we are learning about plastic bag production. This factory does a lot of cross training. No one is indispensable not even the CEO.

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The left over plastic (right) is recycled and used in other plastic goods.

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Heather Gates showing off a freshly printed bag. The bags had to be custom made and custom printed.

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Here is a Graphic Mechanic, or as we would call her, a graphic artist. She designs what will go on the plastic bags.

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Our wonderful profesoras

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I just can´t take enough photos of Quito.

 

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of PracticalCourtship.com, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “Ecuador Day 5 – Tuesday March 18

  1. Wow! Love those photos with explanations. I want to smell a really strong rose!!!! Must have been wonderful, and yes, those are essential oils. Rose oil is the most expensive and powerful of all essential oils. It has the highest frequency. How can we know if we are buying a rose from Equador? Or are all roses from Equador?

  2. Day 5 looks so interesting. Roses, tentmaking missionaries, teacher missionaries, coffee, and plastic bags. WOW! I love the pictures too! Looks like you are learning a lot about business in Ecuador. And it looks like you all might have had a little fun too… :-))

  3. What is name of plastics company you visited while there? I need to find a reputable plastic manufacturer in ecuador . thanks

  4. Julie,

    I had to ask my professor and here is her response:

    “We visited Polipack (www.polipackec.com) which is the plastics company that produces the industrial plastic. Jorge Zaidan showed us through this plant. We also visited Fupel (www.fupel.com) which is company that produces the plastic bags with the graphics on them for companies like Centrum, Kodak–Ecuador, and others.”

    -Thomas

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