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Monday, January 14, 2013

Let's Talk about The Quechua Benefit

Rhonda, Gregorio and Mario at Casa Chapi

Rhonda, Gregorio and Mario at Casa Chapi

Today, instead of talking about Tierra Prometida Alpaca Ranch, I want to tell you a little about the people who brought us the alpaca...the people who have been caring for them and arranging their lives around these amazing animals for centuries: the Quechua people.

The Quechua speaking people were the "Incan Empire". With the conquest by Pizarro and the decimation of the population by Small Pox, the Inca retreated into the mountains- the altiplano of the Andes. It was here where they were able to save the vestigial population of alpacas that the conquerors had not killed. These animals were their livelihood-providing food and fleece for clothing.
This has not changed much over the past 400 years. In the altiplano of the Andes, many of the descendants of these people still speak Quechua. They still depend on alpacas for their livelihood. They continue to be a shadow of the civilization that they once were. These are the people who have persevered to bring us the alpaca as we now know it.

The Quechua Benefit is an organization that is dedicated to helping the Quechua people- some of the poorest of the poor in Peru. Rhonda has had the privilege to be on the board of directors and has been able to participate in their medical missions over the past 4 years. This November, she is on her way back. The Benefit is gradually building a school, chapel, and medical clinic for these largely ignored and desperately impoverished people and staffing it with those who love alpacas and the Quechua. It is not an easy task: the altitude is extreme, around 15,000 feet, farming is hard, rain scarce, and roads treacherous. On the other hand, items common to us (sunscreen, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.) are so precious to them that it only takes a little to make a big impact.

The Quechua Benefit. Has recently opened a children's village that we have named Casa Chapi.
The concept is to have a self- sustaining village that provides housing, education, and a chapel with green houses and a nurturing home environment for the children. Many of these children are orphaned or have been abandoned because their families can't take care of them. The first 20 children, aged 4 years to 9 years moved in the summer of 2012. There are now 36 children living at Casa Chapi. For more information or to make a donation, please go to. www.quechuabenefit.org.

"When the villages work together, we will turn this world around. " .....an old Quechua proverb
So...lets work together and turn this world around!