Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Now, to Ecuador

Some of you may have heard, I’m packing my bags again and heading to Ecuador… for 4 months.
This is where I am going

So how did this come about? A while ago I heard about an international dairy program where you spend time working on a dairy in another country. Ever since, the idea of spending a year abroad on a dairy has been in the back of my mind. I graduated from Purdue this last December, but instead of immediately looking for a job, I got an internship in D.C. to try something new and gain more experience in a new field. When my internship was ending, I got a newsletter about the program Global Cow. They send people to farms all over the world to work and bring people to the US to work on US dairies. The email came at a perfect time, I had nothing lined up, and it is the perfect time for me to take time, explore the world, and figure out what I want to do. I have the rest of my life to find a ‘real’ job and work, but if I don’t do this now, I know I never will.

Around fair time, I put my plans on hold while I explored other options. In the end, the best option for me is to go to Ecuador. On Thursday, August 26th, I called Global cow and said I definitely wanted to go and to start making plans. That Saturday, August 28th, I was standing on the dance floor at Tootsie’s in Nashville, TN when I got the email: “Hello, Kendra.  Just heard back from Ecuador, and the farm has room. They suggested that you arrive on August 7th.  If you get to the airport around 10 PM, the owner himself will be flying in at that time, and could meet you directly at the airport and take you out.” OMG, I was going to Ecuador… in 10 days. I got back home Sunday and immediately started planning, buying plane tickets (not as expensive as you might think), packing, getting my vaccinations (ps. If you ever need a rabies vaccination, you need to know 28 days in advance… soo I’m SOL and hopefully the cows don’t have rabies😊, also only like 1 place in Indiana has the Yellow fever vaccine), and let me tell you, the most expensive and challenging part of this whole thing is the vaccinations. This week has flown by and I can’t believe it is time to leave.
Ecuador is nearly directly south of Indiana

The farm is about 20 miles northwest of  Quito

A lot of people question why I am doing this, and what is the point. For me this is one of the best opportunities for me to combine two of my passions, dairy farming, and travel. I cannot pass on an opportunity like this. Why Ecuador? My first response, why not Ecuador. For all of you worrying, Ecuador is a perfectly safe country with no conflict going on right now. I am also in a very safe area on a well-established farm and event center and will be 100% safe, (and for my overly concerned aunt, I will avoid the big snakes).  Ecuador is a country about the size of Colorado right on the Equator in South America (Quito, the capital, and where I’ll be is in the mountains, 9,000 ft in elevation. So, while it is on the equator it will stay constant temperature all year round, but it is high enough in elevation that it stays pretty much in the 60s. And if you’ve heard of the Galapagos Islands, they are part of Ecuador, (you bet I’ll try my hardest to make it over there.)

Four years ago, this week, I was travelling around Peru and absolutely loved my time in South America, I have been itching to go back. I was talking to the lady from Global Cow, throwing around a couple ideas and she spoke very highly of the farm in Ecuador. She is good friends with the owner and they have a large event center along with the dairy. The farm is Hacienda La Querencia in Nono, Ecuador. Here is the website if your interested in checking out where I am at: haciendalaquerenciaquito.com/ and facebook: www.facebook.com/haciendalaquerenciaquito/

Another huge reason I chose Ecuador is because they speak Spanish! I took about 7 years of Spanish in school, but am not fluent, I have never gotten the chance to use it. I am hoping that I will use it and hear it enough, that when I come home in December, I can call myself bilingual. Speaking Spanish is a huge plus in the dairy industry, a lot of dairy employees speak Spanish and employers like to see that on a resume.  

What am I going to be doing there? A lot of different things, the farm is an educational farm that hosts tours and events, I will help with heifer raising, calf care, milking, pasture management and just about every aspect of dairying. Hopefully I will get to do some travelling as well.
The ranch I am staying at

Lately it feels as if I am living out of my suitcases (it doesn’t help that when I do come home, I leave my suitcases on my floor), but I don’t mind, it means more adventure. I am so excited for this next adventure, I will try to keep this blog updated throughout the next 4 months, hopefully I will get to do some interesting things.

~"Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sales. Explore. Dream. Discover."~Mark Twain

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