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.
At 14,763 feet above sea level, the Andes could never be described as balmy. But in recent years, the cold the Q’eros Nation deals with day after day has grown more severe. “Because of climate change, the cold is more intense,” says Ycton, a young Q’ero leader and...
When the weather is cold outside, the last thing you want is to jump into a freezing bath. For Julián, Evarista and their family of five, there’s never been another option. In the mountainous region of Cusco, Peru, where the Q’ero people live more than 14,000 feet...
Submitted by Tatumn Zale, Development Associate The 5th of December is World Soil Day. Soil is the ultimate life supply for healthy food, ecology, and a healthy planet as a whole! This day is marked each year to commemorate the birthday of Thailand's King Bhumibol...