What does Inti; the Incan sun god and Philanthropy have in common?

For those of you who have never heard of Inti don’t feel bad. He is the benevolent Incan deity of the sun who married Pachamama; the earth Goddess. The Incan people believed them both to be benevolent and compassionate.

The Incas were a civilization of great architects, artisans, and builders. If you have ever been to any of what remains of the Incan temples following their destruction by the conquistadors you have seen how perfectly they are designed and constructed and how each stone fits in splendid harmony with the next to eliminate the requirement for mortar. It is sometimes hard to believe that this precision work could have been accomplished with the crude tools available during the late 1400’s.

The Incas were also by all accounts a community. My dear friend and guide who took me through Peru in 2011, Washington Gibaja Tapia, (Washi) told me more than once that the Inca were “conquerors” not “invaders” as the Spaniards were. The Incas came to give, the Spaniards came to take. This distinction is a very important one not only historically but also anthropologically.

When you hear my friend Washi describe the Incan people you are left with an image of a civilization that left more behind for future generations then they claimed as their own during their lifetimes. They did in fact adsorb other tribes as their influence spread from Chile to Colombia but they always included them as an equal part of the empire and shared their knowledge and advanced capabilities in farming and building.

Washi it turns out was a “victim of that foreign philosophy”. As a young boy he sang songs each day for tourists who were visiting the Incan remains at Ollantaytambo; hoping to receive a few nuevo sol to take home to his poor family. One day a kindly woman from Canada was visiting the ruins and noticed him right away and recognized Washi’s unique temperament. She decided immediately to adopt him financially and soon sent him to a special school so he would be trained as a guide. Today, due to her generosity and vision for the future Washi owns his own tour business called Magical Tours Peru from which most of the profits generated are used to follow the Incan philosophy of making tomorrow a better place for those who come after us.

Remembering how he was given a chance by someone he didn’t know Washi collaborated with Sharon Forrest who founded The Sanctuary of Universal Love also known as Path of The Heart (POTH); a 501c3 non-profit that brings relief, rehabilitation and development to the adults and children of the high Andes. He has written three books about the Incas and with the little money he has earned from lecturing engagements, book sales and private tours, he has accomplished much for future generations.

Over the years with proceeds from Magical Tours, financial help from outside donations, and the work of countless volunteers; POTH has put families into the business of raising chickens and selling eggs; provided micro-financing  for women to produce and sell their handicrafts and hand made clothing and since 2003 they have fed between 80-100 children everyday in their soup kitchen they call the Restaurant of the Universal Heart.

When I visited Peru in March of 2011 I visited all these projects and it was during my time with Washi that I first thought of building and launching my own  Foundation.  It was Washi that showed me everything was possible with a “universal heart” and he more than anyone I had ever met before showed me how simple acts of kindness can change a universe.

POTH has set an  ambitious goal in 2013 of replacing the crude and dangerous kerosene and wood fires used for heat and illumination in 15 communities with renewable safe solar power. According to the Smithsonian Institute these fires kill millions each year and “an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour in your home,” says Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at the University of California at Berkeley.

POTH has identified and developed a relationship with an organization who can supply solar power generators capable of providing hot water and lighting to an entire community for as little as $5000.00. In addition they are already supplying  individual solar lamps that provide safe illumination for the children to study by after the sun sets very early in the mountains.Orchid Roots are proud to have funded the purchase of many of these lamps and we have set our sights this Christmas on supplying one solar generator for the CharcaHuaylla community.

So what does philanthropy and the god Inti have in common? Together they can provide safe and renewable heat and light to very deserving and poor families in the Andes. If you are a philanthropist  that believes in this kind of work you can play the part of Inti and help POTH and Orchid bring the light of Christmas to the CharcaHuaylla.

Just click on the donate button above and illuminate future generations. Thank You so very much.


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