These are unprecedented times and as isolation and social distancing become the new norm around the world, our &Beyond Vira Vira family understands the importance of staying united and helping each other through this global crisis. Now, more than ever, we must embody our core company ethos of caring for the land, wildlife and people.
While the world stands still, the Vira Vira guides and gardening team came up with a plan to bring some hope and happiness to the nearby Mapuche community – the same community that invites &Beyond guests into their homes to share their culture and traditions.
ORGANIC VEGETABLES AND ESSENTIALS
With winter approaching, the native forests surrounding the lodge are slowly replacing their bright green foliage with yellow and red tones, and our organic vegetable garden is producing the last vegetables of the season. All year round, our guests enjoy the vast assortment of fresh vegetables that are cultivated by our dedicated gardeners and prepared by our executive chef and his team.
The guides and gardeners devised a plan to pay it forward to the Mapuche people, whose daily lives have been uprooted by the crisis. They gathered in the organic garden on a sunny morning to harvest the remaining fresh vegetables. They were able to fill several baskets with an assortment of perfectly ripe zucchinis, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, carrots, onions and cabbages.
They also prepared separate food parcels containing basic essentials such as flour, milk, pasta, and sugar, that would be delivered together with the harvested vegetables.
A SIMPLE GESTURE, WITH LASTING IMPACT
Donning masks and gloves, the guides drove to the nearby town of Curarrehue (30 minutes from the lodge and 20 minutes from the Argentine border) where many Mapuche families reside. There they met with Juanita Becerra, a well-known Mapuche craftswoman. Many of our guests have been welcomed into Juanita’s workshop, and witnessed her skill in the age-old Mapuche art of weaving, using local wool and working with an old wooden loom.
Juanita and the guides visited five families in town, who do not have sufficient space to créate a family vegetable garden. None of the families were expecting such a visit, so it came as a great surprise. As the baskets and parcels were handed over, they were met with tears and warm smiles – a moving reminder that even small actions can make a tremendous difference in another person’s life.
The guides are looking into other ways to bring joy and support to those Mapuche families in need, and to keep the essence of our &Beyond values alive. Watch this space for some more positive news.