Bodies lined the streets.
Funeral homes were overwhelmed and some closed altogether.
The medical system was inundated with cases and testing was severely limited.
An unofficial estimate suggested 30% of the population – almost a million people – were infected, and those with friends and family members who were fatally impacted had no place to bury their loved ones.
This was Guayaquil, Ecuador, mere weeks after COVID-19 hit the country.
Seven hours away in Quito, Ecuador, Verbo Quito Mañosca Church and a team of community leaders had been working together to equip entrepreneurs and business people through training, mentorship, and advocacy.
One of these entrepreneurs had been steadily growing a factory that produced tablecloths and cushions, but upon realization of the crisis at hand, transformed his company to produce masks and biosafety suits for protection. In doing this, he was able to sustain jobs and meet a vital need in Ecuador for medical gear to fight the spread of the virus.
After he pivoted his production completely, the business community in Quito donated funds to Verbo Quito Mañosca to purchase 40 of the protective suits to send to the medical professionals who needed it most: the ones in the hard-hit city of Guayaquil.
As Ecuador navigates the intense impact of the global COVID-19 crisis, there are small glimpses of hope found in entrepreneurship, quick-thinking leaders, and communities dedicated to values-driven business and partnership in action.