The Andes have a wonderful tradition of giving at Christmas, known as the “Christmas Chocolatada”. Larger organizations, businesses, families or even individuals prepare hot chocolate, bread and perhaps toys to give to those less fortunate than themselves. If you are around Cusco at Christmas you see long lines of people waiting to receive their hot cup of chocolate and bread. It’s a lovely tradition, that could be well duplicated in any part of the world as a way of spreading Christmas cheer.
On Sunday 20th December, some 15 people from Apus Peru and Threads of Peru made the two hour trek to Chaullacocha to deliver the Christmas gifts. Guides, cooks, drivers, office staff and some of their children (the youngest just 7 years old) made the hike, all donating their time and energies.
Some 50 children from Chaullacocha and Chupani (a nearby community) received a hot cup of chocolate, bread and a toy. (Trucks for boys and dolls for girls)
Apus Peru cook Martin serves up the hot chocolate![/caption] Apus Peru, in conjunction with Threads of Peru, believes that it’s important to go to the people, rather than making them come to us. While the rest of the year we are ‘super conscious’ of giving and working with the communities according to traditional rules of reciprocity (ayni), at Christmas time we participate in a typical way.
While the Christmas Chocolatada is not directly ‘development work’ it is part of being involved in the high Andean communities. Such involvement and participation in typical events is what we hope helps us to be viewed as an organization that is a part of their community, not one that comes from the outside.