Jarillas, elsewhere better known as Caña Brava (a type of cane), is a reed that usually grows on the marshy banks of rivers. Tlacotal, the Nahuatl name for the place where jarillas grow, is a community in Iztacalco, one of the mayorships in the southeast of Mexico City. The Miramontes River, at that time emblematic for Tlacotal, became a canal; but the jarillas are still in the orchard of the Cultural Center that bears the same name. This cultural center is a reference for Mexico City for being managed from the territorial community, cohesioning the social fabric and the sense of community at the scale of the neighborhood locality, with a tireless work from the culture and urban identity. It is an icon for the development and self-determination of an urban community, involving the third generation, giving tangible form to the demands of the people of Tlacotal in their struggle for the right to the city.
The Mezquital Valley, in the Mexican highlands above two thousand meters above sea level, 4 hours north of Mexico City, has been for centuries the most important production area of aguamiel, the sweet juice harvested from magueys, appreciated since the times of the Aztec Empire. The climate, with a lot of sun during the day and cold nights, as well as the semi-desert vegetation favor the use of maguey and nopal cactus. The indigenous Hñähñu families, the original inhabitants of the valley, planted maguey
(agave salmiana) and nopal cactus, producing pulque, the fermented drink made from aguamiel and maguey honey, a concentrated sweetener of the aguamiel (mead: an alcoholic drink made from honey). The colony and then modernity seemed to put an end to this cultural work, but there seems to be a rebirth of this ancestral agriculture, rejuvenated thanks to innovation.
“The potato is sad” – this phrase we heard frequently on our tour in the rural area of Chinchero, near Cusco, Peru. Water stress leaves no choice; rural communities, because of the need to adapt water management to the climate crisis, started to plant water: But in order for this resilience not to be directly consumed by an excessive use of water resources by urban centers, it is necessary to understand the necessary reciprocity in the territory.
Kusi Kawsay, Quechua voice translated into English as happy life, is the name of the Andean school in Pisaq, Cusco-Peru, whose purpose is true to its name: to produce happiness in the lives of students, teachers, collaborators and their families. Its recipe sounds as simple as it is novel: Waldorf pedagogy contributes part of the methodology and the teaching content comes from the Andean culture and cosmovision. The result: a school that strengthens cultural identity and prepares for life in harmony, beyond competitiveness and individualism. A bet, which at the beginning has had to swim against the current; now it is gradually becoming a reference.
Dario Estrada, born in Tumaco, Colombia, has always had a keen interest in everything related to power generation. During the pandemic, in one of those free moments surfing the internet and watching a video of someone generating gas with drinking water, changed Dario’s life: “gas for everyone!”
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The tentacle of mining extractivism has been present in the southwestern region of Antioquia; but thanks to the resistance from the defense of the territory, predatory greed has not been able to get away with it to date. Resistance goes hand in hand with a dynamic of regeneration towards good living and post development.
It all started when the Muyu Chakana Foundation, in the middle of the pandemic, decided not to put band-aids on the biggest wounds, the other words, instead of handing out food baskets, give native seeds and promote family gardens. Vegetable gardens and native seeds that change lives, young former gang members and indigenous people in the process of becoming seed growers and permaculturists, understanding the true importance of native and indigenous creole seeds.
The challenge of guaranteeing the right to intercultural health, reflected by the struggle and persistence of Jambi Mascari, an organization of Kiwchas ancestral midwives from Cotacachi that is part of the ancestral health council Hampik Warmikuna, shows how relevant and kind this struggle is for the common good of all, beyond cultures and identities: holistic understanding of health as a starting point, instead of disease and alternatives to drug dependence.
Understanding and telling history without the blindness of segregation and even ethnic-classist annulment is possibly the most important achievement of Fundación Quito Eterno. In its pedagogical tours through the historic center of Quito, the collective narrates the historical memory through its characters in a different way. In this way, many people experience a reencounter with history and their own origins, overcoming step by step the denial of the part of their identity rooted in their indigenous and Andean cosmovision.
Download here Motivational Experience No. 37
Jules´ life revolves around kayaking and rivers, the veins of the territory. He shares his discoveries, from harmony with nature to the river´s tale of developmental tragedies. His socio-environmentally inspired tourism venture is part of a web with different threads of actions and his philosophy of life works for him, always in alliance with others and where possible in the kayak.