We were greeted in Paru Paru with flowers, song, and warm smiles. The open hearts of this community as magical and profound as the land that holds the wisdom and life there. My homestay sisters welcomed me in like a long lost friend. The language barrier much less a barrier, but rather a fun game to play filled with silly faces, giggles, and charades.
The villages connection to the other-than-human world is imbued in every aspect of life – asking permission of Pachamama to plant, listening to the knowledge handed down from generation to generation understanding which plants can act as a natural detergent, which ones make a beautiful dye for their hand spun yarn, which give energy and help acclimatize to the altitude (coca), and even which plant makes the horses go crazy. Their textiles carry the stories of the land artistically in each design, handwoven with love that is poured into every part of the creation process.
The village is sustainable, growing their own organic food, making their own clothes and tools. Seeing this reciprocal way of living with the land is a far cry from back home in the States. And this experience has reminded me that this way of living is still possible.
Staying with my family who has 3 kids, each two years apart, felt like home. The eldest reminding me of my own older sister, strong, responsible, and full of love. The middle daughter, like me, with a big smile, sweet and open to the world. And the youngest, a son, reminiscent of my little brother’s chubby baby cheeks and happy chuckle. Feeling at home and seeing these similarities in such an unknown place reminds me that when we remember that we all come from the same root of love, community and understanding can always be found.