My goals of Tea Travel have been manifested! I can not express enough gratitude for my experience volunteering with Fundacion Pacha. When I finalized my plans to begin my travels in Ecuador, I knew that exploring the world of Guayusa was a must. Since I began working with Good Medicine Tea, I have fallen in love with Guayusa. This sweet, earthy, emerald green tea, warms me with a clean, focused energy.
Guayusa is grown traditionally in Ecuador, in the Oriente, on the brink of the deep Amazon Rainforest. With a warm, humid, tropical climate, Guayusa soars. The indigenous Kichwa, have always grown Guayusa and use it for a daily ritual drink. Traditionally shared around a fire at four in the morning, Kichwa shamans would help interpret dreams. I had the pleasure of staying with a local family in the community of San Jose and take part in this sacred ceremony. Interpretation of dreams, fuel for the day’s labor, and a sense of gratitude for what the Earth provides.
The traditional harvest of the Guayusa happens at six in the morning, rotating amongst the chakras (family harvest plots). Filling our hand made baskets with fresh dew kissed Guayusa leaves was a highlight of my week. After the harvest, the women displayed a traditional dance honoring the Earth for providing us with water and harvest.
We left the community after two days, to bring the Guayusa leaves back to the Pacha processing factory in Santo Domingo. Here the leaves are placed in drying beds and turned multiple times per day for over a week. Next, I witnessed the processing of the dried leaves to be prepared for loose leaf tea.
4 a.m. Guayusa Ceremony
Later on in the week, while with my next home stay family, I planted baby Guayusa trees in a new chakra plot. Taking the babies from a previous cutting, showed the integrity of the plant and its will to flourish. Blending right into its perfect habitat amongst banana trees, yucca, other tropical fruit trees.
Planting baby Guayusa trees
Seeing this amazing craft, from planting to harvest to processing to then enjoying as a loose leaf tea was stunning. It grew my love and passion for this medicine. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn first hand where a tea, that is a powerful part of my daily ritual, has begun. It has brought a more sacred aspect to what tea means for me, what I am putting into my body, and feeling a worldly connectedness and support through the power of plants.
Salud y Amor, Brittany