According to Cultural Survival . Org, “Quechua has been spoken in Peru since it became the unifying language of the Inca Empire 600 years ago.” Yapa is so much more than a Quechuan word. Yapa is a spirit embraced by so many of the Peruvian people I met. The meaning is simple but has such amazing rippling effects…it is the Quechua equivalent of “pay it back”. When I was in the markets throughout Peru, it was a very common occurrence to get back to where I was staying and find something extra had been put in the bag… a ring, a charm…something that conveyed such a spirit of generosity and care. “Have something extra for the road!” As the recipient of this kindness, I then wanted to do more and give more. It was contagious.
Loving to shop and see artisans from around the world, I just attended a fair trade gift and craft festival sponsored by SERRV whose mantra is, “To enrich and inspire.” Their mission is to eradicate poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. This organization provides grants to expand resources, supports equal rights for women and collaborates to build sustainable markets. As I love the back story of photographs, I also so enjoy hearing the back story of the piece, the artisan. Every piece for sale has a specific story behind it explaining the craft and the life of its creator. I was taken with many of the items and purchased a pair of silver earrings made by a Chilean artisan. As soon as I went to pay for the item, Bethany, (thank you so much!) went right over to get me a beautiful hand painted dish which she said I needed to go with the earrings…no charge, nothing asked for in return, just that something extra… Yapa! It all came back to me and hopefully, this time I won’t forget how important it is to give a bit more because I have been so fortunate to receive a bit more!
PS…If you have some gifts to buy, the SERRV site has wonderful suggestions that will make your Black Friday such an enjoyable day, exploring the world and not fighting crowds!