People of Pachamama
The Q’eros Nation is made up of five communities in the Peruvian Andes, roughly 75 extremely rugged miles east of the nearest city, Paucartambo. An estimated 2,000 people call these communities home, the highest of which rests at an incredible 14,000 feet. Q’ero people are widely known as the last living direct descendants of the Incas, having survived the Spanish conquest by receding high into the mountains. Though they do not follow a specific religion, they are highly spiritual, worshipping Pachamama (Mother Earth) and los Apus (mountain spirits) above all. Before drinking, Q’ero can be seen pouring the first sip onto the ground as an offering to Pachamama.
Quechua, the spoken language of the inhabitants here, is the most widely spoken language of indigenous people throughout the Americas, with a total of roughly 4.4 million speakers in Peru alone. Artisan work with alpaca wool is the main source of income; the ground being too infertile to make a profit from growing crops, let alone produce enough variety in vegetables for a healthy diet. Their main source of sustenance consists of potatoes, alpaca, and the regionally popular coca tea.
Learn more about the Q’ero here.
The crafts and clothing available for purchase in this shop are 100% handmade from Peruvian alpaca wool, sheep wool, natural dyes and other local materials by the people of the Q’eros Nation. As such, products vary from item to item, each with their own uniquely beautiful colors and patterns. The Q’ero can work on an item for upwards of six months.
A Song of the Andes
The Latest from Peru
Take a look at the stories below for a glimpse of Esperança’s ongoing work in the Q’eros Nation and other parts of Peru. Since 2014 we have been working to improve health outcomes through projects in health education, ecological housing, clean water, food security, and volunteer surgical programs.
An opportunity to reflect on the situation of women in the Andean world. Submitted by Carmen Rosario Alvarez Ponce de Leon. Carmen is the Executive Director of CADEP, Esperança’s partner organization in Peru. She has worked with CADEP for 30 years, assuming the...
Our world is heating up, droughts are taking a toll on farmers and the people you serve with Esperança are among the hardest hit. The farming community of Sayhua, Peru was in dire straits. With rain becoming more and more unreliable, irrigation is a must to keep crops...
At the stunning elevation of 14,500 ft. in the Andes mountains of Peru live the Q’eros people, often cited as the last living descendants of the Incas. Chased into the mountains by Spanish Conquistadors hundreds of years ago, their ancestors never returned, preferring...