Producer Profile: Perú

Written by Cafe Campesino on Jun 1, 2002 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |

This month we travel to South America to the wondrous country of Perú in the highlands of its Andes Mountains — the origin of Café Campesino’s fairly-traded, 100% organic Perú Decaf. We invite you to read more about this fascinating place and the people who live there.

PERÚ: In the Andean Midst

Intiq Churin

Ñoqan kani Intiq Churin, taytallaysi kachamuwan
Ñoqan kani Intiq wawan, taytallaysi kamachiwan
Taytallaysi kachamuwan, runaykunata maskamuy nispa
Taytallaysi kamachiwan, runasimita yachachiy nispa

Children of the Sun

I am a son of the Sun, going to those of my race.
I’m one of the children of the Sun, going to my people
I’m a child of the sun, coming for a purpose.

— Quechua Folk Song

The Reign of the Inca Empire is synonymous with power, mysticism, and a grandeur that has not been replicated by any other culture in history, especially in the Americas. At its height, the Inca Empire extended from southern Colombia to the northwestern part of Argentina. With the Andes Mountains as its domain, the present-day Perú holds what was then the Inca’s ceremonial center: Machuu Pichuu.

Explored by an American by the name of Hiram Bingham on July 24, 1911, Machuu Pichuu is considered the “Cultural Patrimony of Humanity.” The reason why this Lost City of the Incas was built is still only left to speculation. However its magnitude and beauty is truly breathtaking. The Incas have gone down in history as some of the most sophisticated and ingenious people ever to exist. Ironically, their descendants, the Quechua Indians, are statistically the country’s most impoverished. However, the pride of their heritage is still exemplified in their Quechuan culture and lifestyle. For example, colorful and finely crafted clothes are still worn by the indigenous people of Perú. Most are farm workers who live off the land that their ancestors once walked upon thousands of years ago. Andean music is unique, with the use of traditional instruments found only in this region. And their language is still spoken among them, especially by those who live near the Bolivian border.

It is evident that the Andes Mountains are still home to some of the richest cultures in South America. The mountains run all along the western coast of the continent, with a significant presence in five different countries. However, Perú, along with Bolivia and Ecuador, is known for the active lifestyle of indigenous communities that dwell not only in the highlands (inlands) but in the river valleys as well. Along with its historical wealth, Perú, the third largest country in South America, also gives people the opportunity to enjoy a culture that has not yet been completely diminished by European influences. The purity and honor of their indigenous heritage still run deep in their spirit.

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