We thought we were moving to Peru!
By strange and wonderful circumstances we were guided to move to Peru (we said Yes) and in January of this year we upped sticks with all of our belongings and arrived in the home of our friends, Luzma and Martin, in Pisac. Little did we know life had other plans for us.
Friends from California heard we were moving to this part of the world and recognized an opportunity. Would we partner with them in projects to support indigenous people develop alternative economies and hold firm in their resistance to oil development? We said "YES".
Yes changes everything - so now we've been in Ecuador for nearly 3 months setting up the first of these projects, the wild-harvesting of kapok fibre, and it seems we'll be spending a deal more time here as harvest time approaches.
Are we experts in kapok harvesting? or established global traders? are we even fluent in Spanish? We're "No" to each of these questions, yet "Yes" to life. So here we are, listening lots, learning every day, and following the clues. And there are plenty of clues.
Just as every step of this journey has seemed to be guided, frequently surprising us with what it reveals (Peru? kapok?), we are finding connections and opportunities revealing themselves time after time. Over coffee Pablo mentions a woman he met at a symposium down at the coast - we might try talking to her. Enter Rocio and husband Mario, already well-established organizers for community-based agriculture in Manabi province and experienced farmers of, you guessed it, kapok. Mario even taught me how he hauls himself up a tree . . . .
Harvest time approaches, lots of arrangements to make and some hard work ahead. We have our fingers crossed that the rain holds off for the crop to grow heavy on the tree. We're researching and discussing how to set up harvesting and export, not just as another gringo business taking the fruits of this long-exploited continent, but as a way to support families, communities and the nations in the forest who so clearly want to make this project work.
There is still so much we don't know, but if we show up as a Yes to life there's every chance we'll find someone who does.