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Darien Expats Launch Campaign To Help Employees Buy Ecuadorian Café

Josh and Andra Carter own a cafe in Ecuador. Photo Credit: Andra Carter
Employees of La Cosecha hope to become owners of the cafe. Photo Credit: Andra Carter
Josh and Andra Carter pose with employees of their cafe in Ecuador. Photo Credit: Andra Carter
La Cosecha is in Otavalo, Ecuador. Photo Credit: Andra Carter

ALLENDALE, N.J. – When she was commuting to New York, Allendale native Andra Carter felt like she was on a hamster wheel.

She and her husband, Josh, were both working full-time and living in Darien, Conn.

“We just felt like we never saw each other … and we hated it,” the 1999 Northern Highlands Regional High School graduate said.

The couple decided to make a drastic change. They saved up money and made a move – to Ecuador.

Now six years into their Ecuadorian adventure, Carter says they are “able to work less and enjoy life more.” They also have friends that feel like family, and a thriving business.

Their café – La Cosecha – in Otavalo, Ecuador, is a haven for tourists and locals alike. It is Lonely Planet’s top pick, and ranks number one on TripAdvisor for both the town and the province.

Of their life in Ecuador, Carter said, “We love it. We still love it,” but it is time to move back to the states.

“We miss home. We miss being available to our parents,” she said. Her parents still live in Allendale, and Josh’s mother lives in Vermont, she said.

But with seven dependable, hardworking “amazing, amazing employees,” at their café, the couple doesn’t want to sell their beloved business to just anyone, and leave their workers vulnerable, Carter said.

Their employees receive a sustainable wage, health care and a safe working environment, which Carter said is not easy to come by in the area.

So the couple has decided to start an online fundraising campaign to help their workers purchase the café themselves.

“We really saw it is a way to not only protect their futures, but give them the ability to improve their lives and our goal is obviously to see the business continue to grow over the years,” Carter said. “And with that hopefully they bring more employees on and continue to carve a path of goodwill forward.”

With a goal of raising $100,000, the café launched the online fundraising campaign on July 1.

To learn more about the café, watch videos of the workers, or donate to the cause, CLICK HERE .

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