I have finally come back down to earth enough to start expressing my experience from my most recent trip to the Andes of Peru. I had set out on this adventure to the high mountain land of the Condor with multiple intentions, and as the days unraveled it occurred to me that intentions were not necessary. In essence, what I was experiencing was, natural, effortless flow of life that was suspended in high vibratory energy, the sacred valley lovingly surrounding it in her arms.
The days were warm with a soft breeze and light showers. Pacha mamma graced us with what looked like an electric green, velvet blanket, covering the mountains and Incan terraces. There is a tremendous sense of awe when you have your morning coffee outside in the garden with hummingbirds the size of robins. Where am I again? I could have jumped into a scene from Avatar, it’s ok Shannon, your in Peru remember….
There is so much that my heart would like to share and for now I will focus on my experience in the high mountain community outside of Pisac.
As synchronicity will have it, I had met a man, named Ludwin, at the beginning of the trip who knew of a high mountain community of weavers that were looking to work with foreign people. As the days went on I continued to share with Ludwin, the values of Soulstem Collective, how we are a Fair Trade business that believes in providing opportunity for empowerment and equality with our artisans. As the Quechua translator, I felt it was important for Ludwin to know that we operate on a win/win value system that supports growth and sustains healthy long term relationships.
We had set out early for our adventure and soon we would arrive at a small set of simple adobe style homes with gardens and a community loom attached to the entrance of the main home. Women, children and men all dressed in traditional ponchos with huge smiles come to great us with enthusiasm. The women start to present all of their weavings on the grass, each one has a story that is told through symbols and color. The commitment and love that goes into each art piece takes approximately twenty days to complete, not to mention the shearing, spinning and dying of the alpaca wool in preparation. I am in awe of the artistic technique that has been passed down from their ancestors.
I had brought a huge bag of clothing and a new soccer ball that my son donated and once we did our gift exchange and pumped up the soccer ball it was time for business. We sat on the grass, taking in the beautiful presence of the people, pacha mamma, and I thought to myself, I could not think of a better office on the planet. How special to work in this organic way, heart to heart, culture to culture. I felt the flow of life and the knowing that I was in the right place and this is what I was intended to do.
As it turned out, we found out that the community did not have a knitting machine that could make ponchos, blankets and sweaters. Our Soulstem Online store was looking to have these items produced so we had to make a plan in order to work with this community.
After more discussion it was very clear to me that we would purchase the machines for the community so that they could make our products. The community, their values and our connection together made them a perfect fit for our micro loan program. We purchased the machines and currently the community is learning to operate them. We will have samples of our new blankets and ponchos soon. They will have a western flare with andean tradition combined for our North American customers.
Our mountain community goes by the name “Ayninakusunchis” and when they are not fulfilling our orders, they will produce their own textile products with the machines, to sell at a 100% benefit to them.
Once we had established this agreement there was a big cheer with clapping and hugs and our partnership began.
To celebrate our new partnership we were invited to a traditional lunch, prepared in an adobe kitchen with dirt floor and stove heated with Eucalyptus wood.
During the lunch preparation the elders took us on a hike to ancient petroglyphs, several thousands of years old. Upon arriving back for lunch we were presented with beautiful fried trout, rice stuffed pimentos and boiled potatoes. It was exquisite and what most struck me was the smiling, grateful faces of each and every one of us at that lunch table. For me this is the true meaning of abundance……..simplicity……life.
I am so excited to work with our new Soulstem family “Ayninakusunchis Co-op”, which translates in Quechua “helping all together”