To maintain and revive, thanks to you, traditions, values and help create their own economic and educational opportunities for today's and future generations.
Peru is a country blessed with a fascinating culture and traditions, where people lived in harmony and synergy with mother earth (Pachamama) for centuries. Roots that are in danger due to today’s ignorance and greed.
After only a few weeks in Cusco, we understood that many operators and agencies, even the good ones, are not interested in reviving or maintaining traditions which make this place unique. We realised that just “money talks”. We were fascinated by the variety of traditions, the way of life we experienced, the people in the countryside we met and who became friends during our exploration treks, and their stories. It all creates a firework of emotions to share those moments with you, keeping the ancient traditions alive.
As a result, we started with our first bigger project in September of 2018 in collaboration with the Palccoyo community. Palccoyo is a small village that lives mainly from alpacas and potatoes, has a lot of stories to tell and is close to the alternative Rainbow Mountain. Untouched, with a lot of potential but still skeptical inhabits. Skeptical due to many other social projects that went wrong in Peru or exploitations of communities by agencies and operators we heard about before. It hurts to hear how others take advantage of those who lack the education and power to defend themselves. Thus, the support of the entire community was and still is low. Nonetheless, there were a few people with motivation, ideas and passion to improve the way of life in their village. We were fascinated by their lifestyle when walking through the small streets. We saw children playing, a donkey passing by or chicken crossing the path.
It made us dive into another world that teaches us that we have to appreciate what we have, which is so much more than they do. Seeing their smiles and their joy arose pure happiness in us. Emotions that change life-perspectives. Our objective was clear: to share exactly those feelings and experiences we made here in collaboration with the locals so you can feel, at least for a moment, how life really is in this environment.
Something we all search for is inner and personal growth. With the first meetings, we made clear whom to communicate and collaborate with in order to start this adventure. The first step: help to create the potato museum. Laureano, the most open-minded habitant, ex-president of the village and father of two, helped to make this project possible. He liked the idea of presenting their lifestyle, the relationship between nature, animal and human, and their special boundary with the mountain itself. Laureano had a stomach-surgery at the beginning of 2018 and thus is unable to work on his field, something his wife is taking care of now. In order to still be able to support their families, he searched proactively for other sources of income. The possibility to welcome travelers in his house and museum is a great opportunity for him. Visiting him is the perfect moment to get in touch with the real Peru, welcomed by a lovely local. Such warm-hearted people who would like to share their life experiences with others. During our alternative rainbow mountain hike we make sure you learn more about their lifestyle and get the chance to interact with them.
Friendliness and unawareness other agencies exploited, visiting them without any payment nor respect of the time and effort they invested in all this. A pity we couldn't understand, this selfishness and of course, those travelers didn't know about what was going on there. In this moment we realised again that those agencies don't respect anything and take it all for granted. The worst of it all was that all the confidence we had built over the first months of work got lost partially, as the community, lacking in education, thought that all agencies must be like this. As we understood what happened here we reacted quickly, trying to regain their trust, continuing with the hard work, spending time with them as well as teaching them that this unrespectful behavior is not allowed in the project nor in their life. Everyone has to contribute to it in a correct way, with money and respect. We were lucky that this lesson came up early and that the community quickly learned to react correctly against unrespectful behavior of third parties.
One of the projects for 2019 is to revive the weaving art, which got almost lost. There are only a few locals, mainly the eldest, who remain with some basic knowledge about it but are unable to teach it to others as their age doesn't allow it anymore. Our objective is to make travelers actively participate in the process and also to be able to support the community by buying handicrafts made with love in the community. Currently, there are handicrafts offered for sale, but the potential for more is still huge.
In the weeks following this we launched our latests projects successfully: the breakfast in a local house as well as the integration of alpacas during the hikes. The latter works as a motivator and to get a feeling of how it is when the locals herd their alpacas. Due to the initial success, more locals became interested in how to participate and the potential to do more is very positive. One day at a time, we come closer to accomplish our vision. Behind all this, there is a lot of work, time, meetings with experienced people and the locals, as financial measures are rare. This is something we love to do, even as a small agency. Patience and the blessing of travelers joining our smaller team during our experiences help to spend timely and economic resources into the constant growth of this project. 2019 will be interesting with more to come. Be part of it!
Our motto concerning the collaboration with the locals is "what’s already doable will be done"! If it’s the collaboration with locals during the Ausangate trek, presenting their handcrafts and how they are made
or transporting luggage just like the Incas used to do, via llamas instead of the the Spanish horses (most operators use trained horses as those are more economical and can carry more). In these exciting times unforgettable friendships are made.
As one family, humans of flesh and blood, the entire team of locals who help during treks, shares one table with all the participants and sleep as good as the travelers. We remember the moment during a 2-day exploration of the Ausangate trek when we invited the team of porters, the chef, and the assistant to eat the same food we ate and to sit at the same table we sat at: their eyes opened widely, as if they were not used to it. Eyes and feelings we’ll never forget, showing us how life is treated here, how it has to be changed and how good people in developed countries live their lives. It was a moment of pure appreciation for life and an eye-opener. Usually, those people are used to eat at a different spot or sitting on the ground, eating the remainings or something less costly and basic, even if they have the toughest time during those hikes carrying the equipment, walking ahead to prepare our lunch spots etc. A job that requires a good nutrition and lots of energy. As we later heard from them and other experienced guides during interviews, this separation is very common. Employees, such as porters, chefs, and assistants who make the experience possible are strictly separated from travelers and their guides. Considering this, we see a clear lack of respect and humanity we are going to eliminate.
Life Enhancement - Call of Duty
As we are just getting started with the projects as well as an operator having the direct impact and control on what we’re doing, there’s still a lot to do. The communities as well as our team highly depend on you, our beloved exploorer. It’s all about participation and contribution. How can you help?
Become part of this adventure during our day tour to the alternative rainbow mountains, there’s a lot to do and a lot to achieve! There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that with your contribution you are enhancing another person’s life.