GARY: This is the distillery in Ecuador. I want you to meet our Ecuador team, Nicholas, our general manager of the Ecuador farm, and Eugenio, our distillery manager. I met Eugenio’s family in Ecuador in Cuenca when I started there in June 2005. I hired him and started training him as my distillery operator. Eleven years later, he manages the entire distillery operation in Ecuador. His beautiful wife, Rosa, and daughters, Naeli and Lisette, are also here.
MARY: Yes, it’s a really interesting story I want to tell you quickly. When we met them in Cuenca, they were the caretakers of the building that Gary was leasing. We were friendly with everybody, so when Eugenio had a little bit of a cold, we went down to visit them to see what we could do to help. They were living in just one room on the ground floor of the building.
The floor was dirt, and there was a wire that went from one side of the room to the other. They used an old blanket or something over the wire to split the room in half. One half was the kitchen, which had just a little pot and a little stove; and the other side was a place where they slept, which was just cardboard and mattresses on the floor. We looked at that and thought, “Oh, this is horrid.”
As we talked, we found out that they had two little girls. “Well, where are they?” we asked.
They replied, “We didn’t have enough money to bring them with us, so they’re at home in Peru with their grandparents.”
Gary said, “No, no, no, no, no; we cannot have this.” So he sent Eugenio home to get the girls. Their daughter, Lisette, is 6 months older than Jacob. They were babies and grew up together.