This cultural work began in 1993, fourteen years before Pachamama’s Path came into being, and the amazing grassroots work throughout these years still serves as the strong foundation for all the projects that have come to fruition since, such as The Kusi Kawsay Andean School, and the most recent Kusi Ñan Organic Products. This collaborative work was initiated by a core group of local families in Pisac, Peru, with each individual contributing years of dedicated investigation of their ancestral heritage, as well as personal experiences in surrounding highland traditional communities that practice their traditional way of life to this day. These individuals consciously share an interconnected and interdependent life commitment to preserve their ancestral indigenous culture. Communally they weave their experiential knowledge, and together practice their traditional culture and values; serving as an inspiration as a viable path. They help find ways to make it all possible through local and global outreach. This work is strongly rooted in traditional music, dance and ceremonial practices, which was activated through practicing and celebrating the Andean Calendar. As the work grew, and their own personal resources and life dedication could no longer sustain growth, they identified the need to find funding, so in 2007, fourteen years later, Pachamama’s Path was formed for this purpose. Today these programs are still alive with great potential for growth but need support as priority was given to the Kusi Kawsay Andean School which still absorbs most of their time, energy and resources.
All of these cultural programs and events have been and are still made possible to this day thanks to the dedication, commitment, perseverance and sacrifice of the founding families, that have never received any economic compensation for this cultural revival work. For them it is a way of life, an eternal commitment, and their life calling and vision. From this is born The Kusi Kawsay Andean School.
History of activities through workshops and special events: after-school classes and workshops focused on textiles, painting, music & dance, theatre, games, arts & crafts, ceramics, medicinal herbs, nutrition, parenting skills, women empowerment, and martial arts; sauna and herbal baths; festivities and ceremonies according to the Andean calendar (Solstice, Equinox, Southern Cross sighting, etc.); intertribal gatherings; healing work; cultural outings including excursions to ancient archeological sites to celebrate and honor the function of the sundials and other astronomic accomplishments, and learn true history; oral history and storytelling; activation of ancestral agrarian practices called faena and minka, traditional communal work.
The cultural centers are made by the local people, for the local people, providing spaces to practice and celebrate their traditional way of life and values. A few of the cultural centers in the Cusco area are located in Taray, Huayacocha, and Amaru, and have been made possible with much support, collaboration, vision and inspiration. There are several traditional nations throughout Peru and beyond that have created similar cultural centers inspired by this work, and the profound and authentic collaboration among all of the cultural centers creates a beautiful international network of indigenous nations.
Amaru Cultural Center: Apu Runawana Weaving Society
The members of the Apu Runawana Weaving Society from the community of Amaru, in the highlands of Pisac, preserve their traditional way of life that is the heart of all of our work. Their cultural center serves as a space for this traditionalist group to practice their way if life and for their weaving Society. They also occasionally offer authentic experiential tourism activities in collaboration with Peru Cultural Journeys, sharing their rich agrarian, culinary and weaving traditions and practices. The Amaru group is our greatest source of inspiration, providing us with knowledge, insights and continual guidance. They actively and consciously practice their traditions in face of discrimination and assimilation. Their presence and participation in all of the events and projects provides us with stability and fills us with joy.
Traditional Music: “Sicuris Pisaqa”
Music, dance and song: On going permanent workshop once a week to learn and practice traditional music, song and dance following the traditional agrarian calendar. Each time of year has a particular instrument and songs.
Presentations & Conferences
Promote a deeper understanding and re-valuation of Andean culture, Cosmo vision, astronomy, and ancient ecological and agricultural systems through educational conferences based on the science of observation.
These conferences with slide shows and open dialogue create opportunities to expand on traditional knowledge are held several times a year with guest keynote speakers. Carlos Milla Villena, an elder, astronomer, architect, and member of the community comes several times a year. He has written several books, which serve as the foundation of our work.
It is through the practice of the Andean calendar that we comprehend traditional knowledge based on human integration with the natural cosmic cycles, and through that a profound understanding of life in balance.
These celebrations, activities and events are held at cultural centers, sacred archeological sites, among various locations, and are the essence of all of our cultural revival work. These celebrations are interconnected and interrelated, and serve as our strong framework and rooted foundation for everything we do in our communal life. Intergenerational participation of adults, youth, children, and babies celebrates the essence of ancestral Andean social structures of inclusion and community.
The activation of the Andean Calendar includes:
Machu Qhaswa / November – December
This is an ancestral dance that awakens primal beings to call for rain, and honors the elders as the strong ones because they posses wisdom and experience.
Kapac Raymi (Summer Solstice) / December 21
Time to celebrate the sun in its most potent point. Receive strength from the sun.
Pukllay / February – March
Couples dance four days celebrating, honoring and promoting fertility and abundance for all beings including plants, animals and humans.
Equinox / March 21
Celebration of the sun as it is in the middle of its path.
Harvest Time / May – June
Celebrations for harvest time.
Chakana (Southern Cross) May 3
Time to honor the Southern Cross while in its zenith.
Coylloriti / May or June
Three day pilgrimage to the sacred source of water, the glaciers, and the sacred meteorite.
Inti Raymi (Winter Solstice) Junio 21
Honor the sun in its lowest point, offer the sun strength in reciprocity.
Reciprocity Offerings / August
This is the time of year to make offerings to the Pacha before planting; reciprocity with Pachamama.
Equinox / September 21
Celebration of sun in the middle of its path.
Tarpuy (Planting Time) September
This is the calendar used in our educational and agrarian projects. Winay Taki Ayllu offers an amazing presentation following this calendar, and recently was presented in Cusco as Nuestras Raices, Our Roots, by the Kusi Kawsay Association to raise awareness and funds.
Intertribal Cultural Exchanges
The promotion of Intertribal gatherings for the Solstices, Equinoxes, or other important astronomical dates, creates an international network among participants who share their traditions, customs, storytelling, crafts, dance, songs, achievements, problems, solutions and hopes. These events reinforce cultural identity and personal self-esteem, and inspire participants to keep working with the same goals in their communities to promote, protect and practice their ancestral values. Inti Raymi (June solstice), is the main event we host and organize annually. It is a five-day International gathering of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, with around 200 participants representing over 9 Nations. Youth cultural exchanges are also promoted.
A few partipants over the years:
Shipibo Nation from Ceilan, Pucalpa, Peru; Aymara Nation and Wilkamayu from Bolivia; Taquile, Lake Titicaca, Peru; Mapuche Nation from Southern Chile; Piaroas from the Orinoco base, Venezuela; Kwan Lin Dun First Nation from Yukon, Canada; Tewa Nation from Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, USA; Ecuador; Quechua Nation from local native communities such as Amaru, Hapu, Pisac, Taray, Chumbivilcas, Huayacocha, Chaquepay etc.
Documentary Projects of Ancestral Traditions
The Andean ancestral culture as universal human heritage needs to be rescued, practiced and preserved. Modernization exacerbated by the current, rampant process of economic globalization whose standardizations and ethnocentric conceptions of development threaten the cultural diversity of the planet. Traditional societies as the Andean communities suffer the direct or indirect impact in their ancestral approach of life. We have verified that most of the research, materials, books that talk about our people are not always accurate, and very rarely represent the voice and history of the people. We would like to Our methods include interviews, field recording, investigations, conferences, gatherings, photo documentation, film footage, note taking, and most importantly personal participation in celebrations and daily activities with elders who carry ancestral knowledge. To date we have two documentaries completed:
Music & traditions: Carlos & Tita, Winay Taki Ayllu (name of CD) , Roman Vizcarra (Runa Mayu CD & Nawpa Selqa CD)
Publications: Genesis by Carlos Milla
Painting: Hugo Franco Salas
Ceramics: Rene Franco Salas
Metalwork: Hector Bolivar
Muic instruments: Carlos Franco
Music and storytelling: audio, video and live productions to preserve endangered knowldege carried mainly by elders; Profesional documentation of cultural events.
We have identified documentary work as a very powerful educational tool that reaches vast and varied audiences, and would some day like to have the opportunity to continue with this work. We feel we have a lot to offer the world.
Permanent Women’s circles provided a space of intimacy to expose problems and solutions for daily life issues: child bearing, parenting, women’s health issues, emotional self esteem issues, sharing traditional healing knowledge and practice, traditional craft skills, raising conscious of healthy nutrition, encourage voice of women to be spoken, practice leadership roles, reach out to more women, support each other in economic and emotional stress, recuperate women’s knowledge through personal interviews with elders, support initiatives that promote women’s wellbeing and rights, such as participate in opposition to the forced sterilization campaign, support political campaign of traditional woman to Congress.
Through all of these activities heal families and society by empowering the role of women.
Ceremonial Work and Healing Activities
Traditional Healing ceremonies on personal and communal levels improve and surpass historical trauma manifested in alcoholism, domestic violence, low self esteem, lack of communication skills, fear, insecurity and loss of identity. This is the heart of our work, and where it all began.
Wiñay Taki Ayllu
The Franco Salas family from Pisac, Peru, started this music group over 20 years ago. They are dedicated to the investigation, practice and teaching of traditional music, song and dance in the town of Pisac and the surrounding communities. They have recompiled a vast resource of information and knowledge regarding the instruments, dress, and values, and also a deep understanding of the specific purpose of each vibration and use of instruments and voice to communicate and reciprocate with the cosmos according to each time of year and what is happening in nature. They have held music classes every Saturday open to the general public, inviting them to participate in community outreach events through music, celebrating the Andean calendar in the town of Pisac, and inspiring communities to do keep practicing their valuable traditions. They formed a musical group of sikuris (panpipes) called “SIKIRIS P’ISAQA”. “In this way we provide a space dedicated especially to children and youth to learn and pactice their cultural heritage, which we as memebers of Wiñay Taki Ayllu teach with deep affection.”
This radio program was broadcast through a local radio station in Pisac once a week for over eight years, with the intention of raising awareness and educating the general public on cultural identity, music, values, children’s stories, and specific ecological problems such as contamination of rivers by pesticides and bio piracy of native seeds. There was an additional program on child development and psychology, education, and parenting for several years. Our dream is to have an am radio station and our own program that can be locally and globally accessible so as to provide ongoing educational programs and music. Currently we do not have resources for the radio program, and are looking for funds to reactivate this very powerful and important piece of our vision.
Remote Communities Outreach
The extension of comparable activities to remote communities, such as Amaru and Hapu, focusing the agenda on local necessities as well as organizing tinkus, opportunities to unite and share ancestral practices and celebrations.
The promotion of parent, children, aunts, uncles & grandparents participation in activities such as games, kite flying, excursions, storytelling etc all accompanied by a potluck meal is vital to maintaining and reinforcing family cohesion.
Group celebration of important dates, such as anniversaries of each cultural center, birthdays, traditional haircutting ceremonies (where children around age 3 have their hair ceremonially cut for the first time, a rite of passage into childhood, child welcomed into society as an important member) are also essential to the preservation of social structures that carry important values. All of these celebrations are shared with traditional festive music and dance, traditional meals and beverages and are an important fiber of traditional way of life that is often times forgotten or replaced.
Rumi Maki Karate League
Rumi Maki Dojo’s principle mission is to offer the opportunity to learn this beautiful discipline to children of this rural area that would never have access to such an experience otherwise, mainly due to limited economic factors.
We also facilitate the possibility to local children, and open to the general public, to participate in high-level events in a beautiful and magical setting, practicing karate connected to the telluric strength of the Andes.
“To help the formation of youth based on inner strength, discipline, and respect. This art promotes better school performance, and helps form qualities for future leaders. These karate classes are open to general public two days a week.”
Values of Karate
Karate not only forms the physical part of the person, but more profoundly, it promotes the practice of core values such as discipline, respect, humility, loyalty, solidarity, and above all results in an inner peace that is reflected in a nonviolent attitude, with the ability to control inner forces and emotions.
Pachamama’s Path considers these as key values to be successful members of society and possible future leaders, making karate a valuable practice that contributes to the education and formation of youth in the Andes.
Fortunately for our community, in the district of Pisac, the Karate League was established and recognized by resolution 01-2008 starting FPK 11,068,526 and was registered through the Club Rumi Maki at the Cultural Center of Taray. The Rumi Maki Karate Club, fist of stone in the local native tongue Quechua, imparts a high-level teaching thanks to the commitment and dedication of Sensei Lucio Bashualdo, 4th Dan of the International Karate Federation. Sensei Lucio, a renowned karate master, imparts his teachings to the local children of Pisac and Taray who have limited economical resources, but have great talent and enthusiasm. Many have participated in competitions on local, regional and national levels, and have won medals and trophies – and a precious high self-esteem.
Besides practice on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the league provides opportunities to participate in seminars with access to the latest karate advances on an international level through seminars with guest teacher Sensei Tan Palmer who is the official coach for the National Peruvian Karate Team in Lima. Sense Palmer has accepted dour invitation to give master classes to the youth and open to the general public, at the Cultural Center in Taray on several occasions.
We invite all those who wish to learn karate, especially the local children and youth who will benefit from this guidance and affirmation of ethics. In this way we envision contributing to the construction of a dignified, amiable and valuable society.
The Rumi Maki Karate Club, member of the League, is very happy about the new Dojo that was built after the 2010 flood that severely damaged the old dojo at the cultural center in Taray.
These structures have always been and will always be for those who love and practice karate and martial arts in the small paradise of Taray.