My first stop on this trip was Colombia. I arrived in Bogota on Sunday night, traveled to Cali on Monday evening, and then Barranquilla on Tuesday night. Each morning I was able to daven shacharis at a local shul, where I was warmly greeted by the communities. It’s a bit of a luxury to be able to daven with a minyan on annual visit trips, since the factories are often located far away from a Jewish community. It is truly amazing how Jews have an inherent bond with each other, regardless of where we are from in the world, and can connect anywhere!
Our Colombian facilities are spread all across the country, so this trip required a lot of flying in comparison to other locales. Most domestic flights go through Bogota, so I ended up in the Bogota airport every day – it did not make for good sightseeing! Flying throughout a trip adds a logistical challenge, since the inspection schedule revolves around daily flights. It’s also a bit physically unsettling since I end up at a different hotel every night, often arriving very late
due to the flight schedule and departing very early the next morning.
While in Colombia I visited facilities that produce nutritional products, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, flavors, candies and soaps. On Wednesday, I flew from Barranquilla to Quito, Ecuador, arriving just after midnight. I stayed at a hotel by the airport and was picked up the next morning by the first Ecuadorian
company. This facility produces plantain, cassava and sweet potato chips in the S. Domingo province – about a 3 hour drive from Quito. There I met with our masghiach, Rabbi Uriel Tawil, and afterwards we visited 2 facilities that produce hearts of palm.
While driving between the visits we got to enjoy the scenic route from the car window. We arrived at Quito airport that evening and arrived back to the United States early Friday morning. This trip was quite a whirlwind!