Fielding and Roman, as founder’s of Kawsaypaq, together with their team, directly support cultural work that promotes the celebration and preservation of the endangered traditional Andean culture through projects of the nonprofit Kusi Kawsay Association. Roman and Fielding are founders and active memebers of the Kusi Kawsay Asosiation and are directly involved in the projects in Peru:
KUSI KAWSAY ASSOCIATION
Kusi Kawsay Andean School
Kusi Kawsay (Happy Life in Quechua) is an officially registered and accredited K-7th grade school. The school is rooted in Andean tradition and focuses on the empowerment of indigenous children from the town of Pisac and the surrounding communities.
Kusi Kawsay offers an alternative and integral education through traditional Andean culture accompanied by elements of the Waldorf Pedagogy while complying with the Ministry of Education’s requirements. Kusi Kawsay’s ecological ethic is a social ethic, in that we are all related, inter-related and interdependent on this existence. The school grounds have been created with eco-friendly and sustainable materials providing a nurturing and safe environment for children while demonstrating consciousness and respect for both people and land.
The school honors and protects the wonder of childhood. As a guiding principle of Andean philosophy, Ayni – reciprocity is integrated into Kusi Kawsay’s educational approach. Kusi Kawsay empowers students to be stewards of positive change in their greater society with the deep commitment to living responsibly with values and moral courage and a deep joy for caring for Pachamama – Mother Universe. The Kusi Kawsay academic curriculum incorporates ancestral songs, music and dance linked to the Andean calendar, agrarian customs and ecological rhythms, exposing students to co-exist in the modern world without separating from traditional identity. The Andean Legacy serves as the schools foundation honoring the community’s traditional culture by teaching music, dance, art, weaving and practicing enviornmental consciouness through agriculture and education to preserve and celebrate the indigenous Andean identity.
Ayni Scholarship Fund: https://kusikawsay.org/publications/ayni-scholarship/
Kusi Ñan Organic Farm
Kusi Ñan (Happy Path in Quechua) birthed from the first graduating class of Kusi Kawsay Andean School in 2012. With a vision of growing and selling organic produce while practicing their ancestral andean agraian heritage, Kusi Ñan has grown into a sustainable farm and community space, a traditional Andean music group as well as a movement by the youth to confront social and environmental issues.
The first graduating class of Kusi Kawsay Andean School faced a tough challenge. In Peru, the discrimination and lack of financial resources determines the fate of many young people. The graduating class was confronted with this risk and their limited options were focused on a survival economy. The graduates stayed in their community rather than migrating to the city in search of employment. They were motivated to revitalize and reclaim their culture by contributing to their community as agents of change. The Kusi Ñan project of organic agriculture became a source of employment for the alumni and provided creative solutions. They are learning ancient Andean ways of farming, composting practices, as well as providing organic produce to the local marketplace. They share this knowledge with students of Kusi Kawsay through permaculture classes, and with their peers during afterschool workshops, enriched by a series of personal develpoment and cultural identity workshops open to the youth of Pisac and surrounding communities.
Kusi Ñan is autonomously led by inidgenous youth with mentorship from the Kusi Kawsay Association. For more insights into the farm, music, and workshops visit the following Facebook link: fb.me/KusiNanProductosOrganicos
Nawpa Ñan Cultural Events
Nawpa Ñan (Ancient Path in Quechua) celebrates, protects and preserves the celebrations, culture and traditions of the Andean Ancestral Calendar. This cultural movement, strongly rooted in traditional music, dance and ceremonial practices, began in 1993 through grassroots community work and serves as a foundation to the Kusi Kawsay Association. Each month is devoted to connecting communities with the earth and greater cosmos through activating ancestral celebrations. Ñawpa Ñan has been active in documenting the disappearing songs, dances, music and language so vital to the existence of the Quechua nation. This project also brings together indigenous communities from around the world for gatherings such as the winter solstice. Furthermore, Ñawpa Ñan opens a path of guiding youth towards pride in their cultural identity, forming strong communities of reciprocity and gratitude.
“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. Intergenerational participation of adults, youth, children, and babies celebrates the essence of ancestral Andean social structures of inclusion and community. 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.”
The promotion of Indigenous 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.
The Cultural Center in Taray hosts the local Karate League: Rumi Maki Dojo. Their principle mission is to offer the opportunity to sahre this beautiful discipline with children of this rural area that would never have access to such an experience otherwise, mainly due to limited economic factors. We strongly believe that the Karate League helps 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.
To read about the various events of the Andean Ancestral Calendar and to find out more about Ñawpa Ñan visit: www.pachamamaspath.org
APU RUNAWANA ASSOSIATION OF AMARU
Kawsaypaq has an important role and impact in the guidance and promotion of the development of Apu Runawana, their products, programs and events. The founders of Kawsaypaq began their committed involement with local cultural identity through partaipation in Amaru when they first arrived to Pisac.
The members of the Apu Runawana Association from the community of Amaru in the highlands of Pisac, practice their traditional way of life that is the heart of cultural preservation and celebration. Their cultural center serves as a space for this traditionalist group to practice their weaving, their traditional way of life, and for cultural exchanges among indigenous nations as well as with tourists. This group practices and honors the teachings inherited over thousands of years, which are manifested in the agriculture, music, social organization, sacred geometry in their textiles, and above all, reflected in the communal life full of respect and harmony with our natural environment.
Each textile is one of a kind, dyed naturally with plants, using handspun alpaca and sheep fiber and hand woven on backstrap looms. Every textile that is purchased directly supports the reinforcement and empowerment of the ancestral traditions, jeopardized by modernization that threatens this ancient heritage. Kawsaypaq educates visitors to appreciate the value of each textile, and pay fair prices. Kawsaypaq décor features exclusive designs from Apu Runawana, offers a space outside of their establishment on the plaza of Pisac for the wevaing society to sell their pieces, and sells their one of a kind textiles in their store. Kawsaypaq has supported Apu Runawana with connections to develop their logo, brochure, interviews, and documentaion of ancetsral knowledge. Together they have developed a cultural immersion experience, and a trek visiting the sacre dlakes of the community. These programs are of the first to be developed, where guests participate in agricultural activities, eat natural products from the fields, see spinning and weaving demsontrations, dance to the ryhtmus of the traditional music, and engage in a beautiful cultural exchange that changes lives and empowers all partcipants. The Kawsaypaq cultural center received support solicited by Kawsayapq to get solar power shower, and general implementation of the cultural center. Kawsaypaq is donating furniture to the guest rooms, and provides guidance on how to develop their sustainable tourism programs, products and services while mainatianing the esenece of their traditioanl way of life, and their comitment to their values and traditions.
Participation in Kusi Kawsay and Kusi Ñan’s calendar of activies, joint activation of the andean Ritual calendar, and intercultural events hosted by Ñawpa Ñan ensure a true connection to the essence of their culture, and inpsire the heart of Kusi Kawsay’s work:
Inspiring words from Kusi Kawsay’s Weaving teacher Lucia Ccana, from Apu Runawana Weaving Society in the Amaru community: “I am teaching the children our ancient textiles left to us by our ancestors. Creativity and concentration is what the children do best. This isn’t like any other class where it is only about learning to read or write, this weaving that I reach, enters their mind and transforms the boy or girl so she is weaving her own life, it is like weaving our lives, how we live, how we are, how we must be. I also talk to them about nature, about the plants, about the Apus (mountains) and respect to their elders. We don’t choose what we weave randomly – they come through our dreams. For example (showing her skirt) here are the stars; we also exist in the sky, like on earth. We also represent the Ayni or reciprocity to practice Ayni means, you give to me, I give to you. It can be that something happens and you are not well, and then tomorrow I might not be well. So then, we have to practice Ayni: When you are sad I should give you joy, and when I am sad, you should give me joy. That is part of what is in our weaving. Our Grandmothers and Grandfathers lived like that and left this for us to pass on from generation to generation, that is what we wish.”
PACHAMAMA’S PATH – 501c3 in the United States
Roman and Fielding are founders and active members of Pachamama’s Path in support of the Kusi Kawsay Assosiation’s projects in Peru. Kawsaypaq weaves life changing cultural immersion experiences in Peru with allies of Pachamama’s Path, and by sharing the authentic ancestral culture, Kawsaypaq helps unite worlds and provides opportunites for genuine cultural exchanges to unravel naturally, enriching the lives of all. In such Kawsaypaq becomes the storyteller, the facilitaor, the cultivator of human relations that connects and creates a network for positive change based on Andean ancestral values.
If you would like to learn how to be a part of this important work, please let us know. There are donatation envelopes if you would like to leave a donation while here, or you can make a donation on the website.