Greetings, this article aims to introduce you to Sach’a Munay and our projects here in Peru.
Sach'a Munay is a retreat and yoga center that supports a non-profit organization of the same name. It was founded by Michal Kicinski who is also the founder of OpenBooks.com. Our center is located in the middle of the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru. It is a beautiful place with views of Apu Pitusiray (name of a local mountain) and below a beautiful waterfall where love and gratitude for nature gives initiative to create spaces where respect for the planet and its inhabitants are an important pillars in the development of our projects.
The center is built using traditional natural building techniques. It has warm, silent and quiet rooms, with an ample access to sunlight, comfortable and with everything necessary to provide a comfortable and pleasant stay.
The center has a maloca and sweat lodge, and is fully equipped to accommodate up to 22 people. The maloca is used for activities such as: yoga, different kinds of healing therapies, meditation, dance, art, conferences, lectures, music or work with medicinal plants.
The center has large spaces filled with different plant species of fruit trees, vegetables, flowers and ornamental species. The gardens and orchards are developed and maintained with organic agriculture techniques, obtaining products of high nutritional value and purity.
Just below the yoga center is our beautiful mandala garden designed by the expert: Henrique Bastos. Here energies from the earth and cosmos merge in harmony with the energies of the surrounding nature, people who hold space, and sacred geometry creating a place full of an abundance of edible plants and flowers used to nourish our guests.
At Sach’a Munay we are in the process of developing a number of systems to reduce our ecological impact and increase our self-sustainability. These systems include
- Treatment of gray water through a natural filtering reed bed system in order to clean and re use the purified water to irrigate our ornamental gardens.
- Making our own natural detergents and soaps, and encouraging our guests to use biodegradable and natural personal care products.
- Developing our hot water system to be solar based.
As a Peruvian nonprofit association we have developed a number of projects to serve the local community. These include:
The construction of a preschool on land donated by the community of Huaran. Previously the preschool was located in a rented building right on the main road. Concerns for the children’s safety and lack of space led the preschool teachers to approach Sach’a Munay for help. The new preschool has been open since March and we are currently assisting with the construction of a kitchen.
2) School program
An extracurricular school program at the San Isidro Labrador Elementary School in Sillacancha, a neighboring town. Together we have establish a solid partnership running programs 4 days a week. One of our programs includes activities of personal and artistic expression based on integrative and holistic principles guided our teacher Karolina Marti, who is certified in Waldorf and Montessori education. The other is an organic gardening program where students participate in tasks such as biointensive gardening, plant propagation and maintenance, making organic fertilisers, nutrition studies, and establishing a nursery to produce plants that will be sold to raise funds for the school. These activities provide a simple, practical and fun way to generate wealth within the school and to empower nutrition in the students.
Children receive energy bars made using local, friendly and suitable products. They are made with two flavors that were chosen by the kids: banana and apple. The bars are high in nutrition due to the presence of activated seeds and nuts, fresh fruits, pure maca powder, local grains as quinoa or amaranth and the healing elements of fresh cinnamon. The bars are made through a dehydration process, which helps to preserve a significant amount of enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
Along with the bars, they receive fresh seasonal fruit creating a balanced, healthy and full snack.
Sach’a Munay understand the importance of acting locally, that´s why we think the best way to provide support in the local community is through education.
3) Workshops in organic agriculture
Near to our retreat center there is a large number of active farmers growing crops such as corn, quinoa, and a large variety of vegetables. With the introduction of conventional agriculture over the last 40 years, many of the traditional farming techniques have been displaced. As the detrimental environmental effect of chemical agriculture has become apparent there is a growing interest in effective organic agriculture techniques. Therefore we have established a certified educational program and curriculum of organic bio intensive agriculture. Twice a month participants receive theoretical and practical workshops, and site visits with our local technician Mauro. Participants are motivated, grateful and have begun integrating new practices that are more functional for them. We also were able to sponsor 5 local farmers to attend a Permaculture design certificate course we held last December.
To further the evolution of organic agriculture in the valley we are about to begin field trials growing local crops, quinoa and corn using a variety of different organic treatments including, biochar, compost tea, and biofertilisers.
Stay tuned for further blog posts in which we will explore in-depth the activities of Sach’a Munay.
Written by Felipe Marin and Adam Woodman