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HomeUncategorizedPractising Sumak Kawsay (The Good Life) in a Money Based Economy

Growing up in a traditional community, everything was connected in a fulfilling way. I have always wanted to put this experience into words but never felt that the time was right. My feelings of exhilaration were not only due to being young and my parents providing me with a carefree childhood. Today as an adult, I have the same feelings when I return to my ancestral land. There is a certain connection with the environment and acceptance that I cannot get elsewhere.

This experience is termed Good Living in most indigenous cultures and is known as Sumak Kawsay in the native, South American, Quechau language. I supposed other cultures enjoy Sumak Kawsay too. One term that is part of this living in my culture is ‘Kutiwabo’ which means ‘the real food’ (in indigenous Lokono language) or natural foods with natural flavours and even if cooked, done in a way to preserve those flavours. This type of food satisfies the body and soul.

Whenever I am in London where all my material needs are met according to the values of a western society, I still try practicing the good life. One big plus of this in a money based economy is that life is less stressful and cheaper. For me, the key to practicing the good life in a western culture is to think about the environment first.

Without the natural environment we cannot survive. I see it as the provider and think about how I relate with it.

Transportation: I walk when I can. My family use a small car which I use only when necessary. Walking helps us to keep fit and save on petrol.

Eating: I try eating lots of fresh fruits. These have their natural taste. I also do not prepare too much of sophisticated dishes (maybe on special occasions) I find that the simpler dishes retain their natural flavours better. Organic and locally sourced foods are better for the environment so I tend to buy these.

Dwelling: My grandparents lived in a small house. They spent most of the day outdoors and only spent time indoors when they went in to sleep or felt unwell. My house is about adequate space. This helps with heating and easy maintenance.

Sharing: This is important in enjoying the good life. I try to share my time by volunteering. I feel good to know that I have this relationship with others. Our relationship with others is affected by the way we respect and use the land – use some and leave for others, including the animals, birds and insects. If we do not treat them right, they might not be there for us to see and enjoy.

Sumak Kawasay is a web way of practising life.

Peru has incorporated Sumak Kawasay in their Governmental Policy which I think is an excellent idea.

Source by Claudette E Fleming


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