Ayni: Andean Reciprocity

The word Ayni means "today for you, tomorrow for me"

Ayni, or Andean Reciprocity, is practiced in the remote communities where we work. It was practiced in Inca times and continues to be an important part of the Andean culture - along with the other forms of reciprocity.

Ayni involves all the relationships that exist among the Andean people as well as their relationship with Mother Earth, Pachamama. Ayni is a form of private reciprocity, when someone calls for help and will repay by doing a similar work. Public forms of reciprocity are faena, which are public work days called by the leaders of the community, and mita, meaning "turn" and implies taking turns at serving another. We are very respectful of the important role that Andean reciprocity forms in these communities.

We believe it is vital that our projects recognize the importance of this form of giving.

For example, we will not embark on a construction or painting project that could be done as faena. It is important that Andean reciprocity is not broken down through enthusiastic outsiders 'giving' without thinking of exchange.