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Ecuador Lead Now Tour Location #8

Paige climbs the steep slabs of Middle Earth while finding out first-hand just how connected the locals are to their land.

-Ecuador is a small and diverse country because we have the Andes that's across the country from north to south, so that changed everything. In the west you have the coast, and then in the middle you have the Andes, and then in the east you have the jungle. You can be in all kind of environment in just a couple of hours. My name is Margarita, and we are in [unk]. I sell food products, dehydrate produce. I have tomatoes, I have dry fruit, dry meat, granola, and what I try to do is to create like healthy snacks, not only for climbers or hikers, but for everyone. And I try to make it in a nice way, with the environment and with the people who product that food. -Marga is one of the strongest girls in Ecuador and she climbs full time and supports herself by drying fruit and meat and then selling it in local markets. -Our country is very small. You have to travel all around to appreciate how big our country is in a small territory. You can see many different landscapes and also you can feel the different kind of people that lived in those places around. It's about having many different experiences by traveling. -Gas station snack. You can see the connection between the land and the people, and how they work together. You can see people working and buy their goods in the market. And everyone's supporting themselves and each other. -Here in Ecuador, we're working with Heifer to learn about the local industries. There's alpaca farming, there's growing crops, weaving the alpaca fiber, there's all these small farms and little family businesses. -[Foreign Language] [Foreign Language] -Not only do I get to learn about Heifer, but I also get to connect with these local families, cooking guinea pigs with indigenous women and [unk] their alpacas, and sharing a meal together. Marga even bought some little trees from the local farmers to plant in her new garden. -It was special because I always buy those at markets and I really wanted to know from where that food came from. It was absolutely what I was expecting like a small farm. -[Foreign Language] -[Foreign Language] -Heifer's mantra is to pass on the gift by providing something that is sustainable and long-lasting like seeds for crops and livestock and educational training, whether someone sharing a meal with us or sharing a new climbing room, the people here are just so giving. I wasn't super optimistic about the climbing before coming here. It's a tropical climate-- there's active volcanoes, and sometimes it doesn't went to the best rock. But instead, we arrived and we've gone to so many places with long sustained roots that are absolutely incredible. I had no idea that this was here. We're climbing up in Caja's national market 13,000 feet, and there's just beautiful walls everywhere, crazy features, the landscape is unreal, it looks like you're checking through Lord of the Rings. And we're working on this project. -Sick. Every home is different. It's like golf ball, basketball there, slippery ledges. -Tons of little crimps with really powerful finish, long and sustained, and it's hard to breathe. You're constantly out of breath, just 2 moves and then- Just being able to experience Ecuador in culture firsthand and grow and develop roots with locals at 13,000 feet are just these incredible experiences. -I like to climb because I think that helps me remember how good it is to be alive. It teach me everyday. -If you are traveling with your friends, it's about sharing who you are. I mean, you cannot teach someone how to be, you can just only share your personality, your culture to other cultures that are also amazed to learn from. -[Foreign Language] [Foreign Language] -One alpaca for a community cost $130. Let's give Heifer the ability to share more animals with more families. Help us pass along the gift at crowdrise.com/leadnowtourecuador.