Mountain Spirit has Fair Trade and MSI items for sale on its webpage where all proceeds directly go to artisans, local vendors and to benifit MSI’s non-profit programs. Plans are to make more products available and to have more online checkout payment options. Paypal is available for online payments and new products have already been introduced. In addition the page has been improved with more quick links to find items more easily. Check out MSI’s Fair Trade Page here. Expect to see more in the way of traditional textiles very shortly.
Archive for September, 2009
Perceiving Without Naming – Why Traveling Can Quiet the Mind
An excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth aptly describes how some people can travel to a country without actually experiencing anything new. I’d not quite heard it put this way, and always felt I had observed two types of travelers, but couldn’t put my finger on it, that is, not until I heard the passage below by Tolle.
Our goal at Mountain Spirit Institute, and the reason we strive to take people to Peru and other such magical places, is to encourage radical growth of inner wisdom and help participants reconnect with one’s self, fellow world community members, and the mountains of a place.
Tolle writes, “Most people are only peripherally aware of the world that surrounds them. Especially if their surroundings are familiar. The voice in the head absorbs a greater part of their attention. Some people feel more alive when they travel and visit unfamiliar places or foreign countries because at those times sense perception, experiencing takes up more of their consciousness than thinking. They become more present.”
He adds, “Others become completely possessed by the voice in the head even then, their perceptions and experiences are distorted by instant judgments. They really haven’t gone anywhere. Only their body is traveling, while they remain where they have always been, in their head.”
Tolle concludes, “This is most people’s reality. As soon as something is perceived, it is named, interpreted, compared with something else, liked, disliked, or called good or bad by the phantom self, the ego. They are inprisoned in thought forms, in object consciousness. [One does] not awaken spiritually until the compulsive and unconsciousness naming ceases, or at least until [one becomes] aware of it.”
This may be why a participant on our Peru program spontaneously had a wave of emotion come over him, at a historical site in Cusco. Maybe it had something to do with the tone setting I’d done a few minutes prior, at the start of the program, where I encouraged participants to step out of their comfort zone, open their minds and try new things.
Our job is to simply put the people, the setting, and situations in place so that the participant may have an insight. Of course, you don’t need the mountains or a foriegn country to do that, but it can’t hurt.
Blind Spot: DVD by Media Education Foundation
We’ve been impressed with information and resources available from The Media Education Foundation, and this new DVD seems just as important and well done as their other offerings.
In this haunting portrait of America’s oil-fueled excesses, director Adolfo Doring explores the inextricable link between the energy we use, the way we run our economy, and the multiplying threats that now confront the environmental health and stability of our planet.
Taking as its starting point the inevitable energy depletion scenario known as “Peak Oil,” the film surveys a fascinating range of the latest intellectual, political, and scientific thought to make the case that by whatever measure of greed, wishful thinking, neglect, or ignorance, we now find ourselves at a disturbing crossroads: we can continue to burn fossil fuels and witness the collapse of our ecology, or we can choose not to and witness the collapse of our economy. Refusing to whitewash this reality, Blind Spot issues a call to action, urging us to face up to the perilous situation we now find ourselves in so that we might begin to envision a realistic, if inconvenient, way out.
Certain to inspire debate in classrooms across a range of disciplines, especially in economics, environmental studies, the natural sciences, and political science. More info and view the trailer.
Climbing Gear Manufacturer Grows Business in Huaraz, Peru
I’ve known Yuri Yamirez for about 12 years. We met through his brother Jorge Martel, with whom I guided on Huascaran and other peaks in the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz. Back then, Yuri had one sewing machine and was making tents and anything climbing related. He had a chaulk bag inlaid with traditional Peruvian material. Now, he’s got a staff of 8 or so people and is selling items in Europe and the USA. We’ve had his items on our website’s fair trade page for some time, but haven’t done his stuff justice.
Peru’s tourism trade is booming, and it’s good to see Yuri has benefited from the rise in Peru’s profile worldwide. His company is called Yuraq Janka, which means (we think) the Cordillera Blanca in Quechua. Yuri does great work. We purchase one of his 40 liter climbing packs (model: Chacraraju 40) which is one of the lightest you’ll find anywhere. If you want more info check out MSI’s fair-trade webpage, or his website, which is still under development but does have an index page and contact info.
Organization does good work in Uganda
I ran into the sister and brother team, Christina and Matthew Tamer at Boston’s SOWA Market yesterday. Their booth was next to Mountain Spirit Institute’s. I overheard them saying they were volunteering for a non-profit started by Karen Sparacio, and their org is dedicated to improving the lives of families in the Acholi area of Uganda who have been displaced by war. They focus on providing funds to help the women start small businesses ant to pay school fees for the children there.
The woman in Acholi make beautiful bead jewelry, using magazine paper to create colorful and unique pieces. One project of Project Have Hope is to promote beadwear parties and share the hand-crafted jewelry with friends while benefiting the Acholi area. For more information click on the link to check out their website.
MSI’s First Peruvian Trade Goods Market, A Success
Director Randy Richards, and Chief Operating Manager Amanda Richards traveled to Boston, a few days after having arrived back in the U.S. with tons of goods purchased in Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Huaraz and Lima, Peru. The goods were sold to raise funds for liability insurance and other costs associated with running Mountain Spirit. Although they didn’t sell everything, they re-cooped their costs of goods purchased in Peru.
“Although we’ve been running programs since the late ’90’s,” says Richards, “in many ways we’re still a start-up organization.” He adds, ” We still don’t have the funding quite yet to earn a salary from MSI, but we feel we’re over the hump. We’ve been around long enough, that some people are recognizing the name, plus we’ve got more experience in what we do.”
If you would like to make a donation to help fund operating costs for worthwhile programs that help children, families and adults get into nature, please contact us or send a check now to:
Mountain Spirit Institute
Sunapee, NH 03782
Lebanon NH, A top Ten City to Raise an Outdoor Kid,according to The Outdoor Foundation and Backpacker Magazine.
MSI Director Cindy Heath who has also headed up the Lebanon City Recreation Department in New Hampshire for 26 years, has received notice that her city has received the tenth slot in the USA of the nation’s top 25 place to beat nature deficit disorder. Heath’s recreation department has focused on providing outdoor adventure opportunities for its youth for years and receiving recognition at the national level continues to inspire the department. Whether it’s engaged in actively leading residents into the outdoor adventure playground that surrounds the town, providing maps to conservation lands or offering advice to families getting started on their own, Heath, wants to motivate residents to use and enjoy what the region has to offer.
Cindy Heath also serves on the board of directors at Mountain Spirit Institute. When asked about the #10 position in the poll, Heath said, ” We’re excited about what we’ve accomplished in the community. We have a solid program of diverse activities from rock climbing and hiking to snowshoeing.” She added, “Our goal is just getting people outside, and the poll confirmed that we’re on the right track”.
Editor’s Note: Pop Quiz – Name the peak and in what mountain range it is located, which is featured on the cover of Backpacker Magazine above. The first one to guess correctly receives a copy of the Peruvian Folklore band Chimu Inka CD “Fusion Etnika” sent by mail to their address.
Richards Writes Article for Sustainable Travel International Assoc.
MSI Founder R. Richards was invited to write an article for Sustainable Travel International, an association to which MSI belongs. Richards returned to Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru shortly after having led a program to the island in July of this year.
When Richards mentioned some troubling trends he’d observed on the island, to Sustainable Travel International’s Val Vanderpool, she asked him to write an article on what he’d seen during a second trip back to the island in August. Richards went back to not only observe trends and interview islands about the state of tourism in their villages and homes, but to find families willing to host MSI particpants for future programs. Read the article.
Fair Trade Goods – Fundraiser, Proceeds for MSI Insurance
Fresh from Peru, Randall and Amanda Richards will take fairtrade items they’ve purchased to Boston’s South End Market (SOWA). Proceeds from all items sold goes to not only to help defray Mountain Spirit Institute’s liability insurance and other operating costs, but to the makers of the items as well. On sale will be traditional weavings, bags, hats and other items from the Cusco and Machu Picchu area, and other parts of Peru, as well as zamponas, flutes and CD’s from the Cusco band Chimu Inka. The band visited New England in 2008, performing and teaching about Peruvian culture and music. MSI runs programs to Peru, New Zealand, India and the USA.
The New York Times says about SOWA market:
“This is Boston’s version of London’s Portobello market, with vintage clothes sellers and young fashion and jewelry designers rubbing elbows with artists and cheese makers and antiques dealers. What’s exciting about this market is that it changes each week. So, some Sundays you’ll discover a local artist who is there only that day. Everyone sells from tables beneath white tents.”
If you’d like to see some wonderful handmade items from the Andes, or learn more about our Mountain Spirit Institute programs stop by our tent this Saturday or Sunday at: 540 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
If you would like to contribute to Mountain Spirit Institute, please click here. All donations are tax deductable and go to benefit MSI programs.