Happy New Year Friends!
We start January 2017 writing from a very cold U.K following 4 months travelling and developing connections in South America. The journey ended in the magical city of Cusco and it is there where Xapiri will be taking its next steps.
After much consideration we have decided that Cusco is the ideal location to act as a base for the project. You may ask ‘Why’ … the marvel of the Inca empire is not exactly Amazonia but the connection to the jungle and indigenous cause could not be stronger. With the diverse mix of international travellers and engaged locals, it is here where we feel the Xapiri movement can flourish.
For us personally, Cusco offers inspiration and a high Condor view of possibilities and connections. Geographically the city offers easy access to all corners of the vast Amazonian basin for our future expeditions. We feel that in many of the frontier towns of Amazonia, the visiter often returns from the jungle with a superficial view of Amazonian life. Unfortunately, a typical tour or jungle experience gives little understanding or authentic insight to the Amazonian life. So it will be at our base in the Cusco mountains where we invite you to visit, connect and understand the reality of Amazonia and its people.
The space will act as a hub for displaying the art and as a meeting point for all involved with the indigenous cause. We plan to screen documentaries, photography exhibitions, workshops and much more so stay tuned with our developments throughout 2017.
Finally, we are excited to announce the ‘Uitsun Friendship Bracelet‘ project in partnership with the Matsés indigenous people who inhabit some of most remote rainforests in the world in both Peru and Brazil. The Matsés inhabit the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, an area of staggering natural beauty and almost inconceivable biodiversity, but a land deeply troubled and beset with threats from narco-traffickers, multinational petroleum companies, and loggers. It is one of the last frontiers.
Friendship bracelets, known as Uitsun, are specific to the Matsés tribe. Taking over a day to construct, they are weaved from natural home spun tree cotton on a rustic loom. They are comfortable, durable, unisex and are adjustable in size, making the bracelets suitable for all situations, be it in the jungle or the city.
In Matsés culture, these woven ornaments are tied on the wrist or ankle. A sister puts on her little brothers ankle ornament by slipping the knotted ends through little loops. As she grows, a girl will weave for her brother, her husband and then for her children, just as the boy will grow to ask for ornaments from his mother, his sister, and eventually his wife. Although these bracelets are still worn as accoutrements of daily wear, the knowledge of their craft is not being passed down and learned by the younger Matsés women and this is why the initiative was created to provide Matsés women the opportunity to earn income on their own while preserving their inherited traditions.
The Uitsun project is organised and directly coordinated with the Matsés leadership with help and facilitation from the brilliant Acaté Amazon Conservation. The project aims to involve as many villages and craftspersons as possible across the wide Matsés territory, allowing us to work with over 40 Matsés women in 4 villages. Each bracelet will be delivered to it’s new owner with documentation showing the community of origin and details of the individual Matsés artisan. This artisanal fair trade develops sustainable, regular and longterm economic opportunities directly benefiting the Matsés. The Matsés could not be more excited and enthusiastic for this project, which is being directly coordinated by the Matsés leadership with the support of Acaté.
As our friends Acaté politely put;
‘This holiday season please consider purchasing these extraordinary beautiful crafts as unique and beautiful gifts that comes from the heart of the rainforest. Buy one for your significant others and know that your purchase directly supports the livelihood of the true protectors of the rainforest.’
Thank you for the support, until next time,