Once a week for over 50 years, Baltazar Uscher Tenesaca has made the perilous 2 day journey to Mount Chimborazo, to harvest ice. Baltazar was 15 years old when he first learned this trade along side teams of ice merchants who earned their living by harvesting and selling the mineral rich glacial ice from the highest altitudes of Ecuador's tallest mountain. Now he works alone. The low wage combined with technological progress has made the ice merchant obsolete. This beautifully made film tells the story of a man who was raised on the ice and although his work is hard, dangerous and poorly paid, he alone continues the traditions of his ancestors. Featuring the rich and stunning landscape of Ecuador, this film displays the innovation and skill of a time-honored craft while teaching us that the fruit of ones labor is in the work.

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  • Nancy

    This film deeply touched my heart. I had never heard of "mining ice" -- it was all new to me. The work is so very hard for man and beast, the reward so small and the attitude all so very beautiful. Thank you.

  • Brad

    The labor of love is what inspired me about this film. It made me cry--not just out of sadness, but also out of wonder and respect for his sheer perseverance and love.

  • Jane

    This is such a beautiful, gently told story of a man struggling to keep the ice merchant culture alive as the world around him changes. I wish the best for Baltazar and his family. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Pam

    Baltazar carries on the work taught to him by his father and although he and his siblings received no formal schooling, he sent his children to school. He hopes that one of his grandchildren may continue in his footsteps, but is aware of the dangers of this lifestyle. I wonder if someone could provide him with an alternative to using the donkeys for this strenuous work. They are probably vital for the higher uneven ground, but maybe a bicycle with a trailer could be used for the more level terrain. I would contribute. Any ideas?

  • Prashant

    This video inspired me to see the change is constant but doing what u do and believe best makes one more happy and contended , and once must not repent comparing to others and stick to belief

  • Isbel

    This video made me sad. Yes, it's an ancient tradition - but notice how thin the donkeys are? How heavy their loads are. I think it's best this isn't done anymore. Way too hard on the animals.

  • Joan

    What a great film of a culture that remains but is part of change. The man continues what his father taught him about Mother Earth's high mountains' gift of ice and persists doing this difficult work despite his age. I love the scenery.

  • Sophie

    Doing work that connects with The Mother ... it's not about pay.

  • Linda

    Dedication and discipline to do what seems right and good regardless of the hardship. The creativity of all of the steps of his "ice harvest" are humbling.

  • Jonathon

    Love. We need more of this.

  • Joseph

    This man, this film, brings me closer to what really matters. Thank you.

  • Aria

    Also, this is a beautifully made film :)

  • Aria

    This film reminds me of a saying in my language "He toka a tu moana" which literally translates as 'a rock that stands in the ocean". This is a metaphor for a person who holds steadfast to their beliefs. Although the tides of change are breaking at his feet, like a rock he remains unswayed, continuing the traditions of his ancestors. Local knowledge and practices such as his makes our world culturally richer, I hope he finds someone to pass these on to. Perhaps some clever marketing could make his business more relevant in this new world.

  • Trish

    Change is constant but sometimes the past held a simpler, cleaner more meaningful way - the past shapes our future - ice from a mountain however is greater than that from a freezer unit.

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  • Visit the Global Oneness Project. This free site has stories that use a humanistic lens to explore the relationship between mankind and the world.
  • Be the change by demonstrating genuine appreciation for people who make the effort to keep cultural traditions and craftsmanship alive in an ever changing world. 
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