For millennia, the Quechua-speaking indigenous people of the Andes have depended upon one another for their existence.
The Quechua word for this interdependent way of living is ayni. The word ayni has no real equivalent in English. More than simple reciprocity, it means “today for you, tomorrow for me,” suggesting that giving comes before receiving.
Ayni is the thread that holds the fabric of Andean existence together. The Quechua live and work, play and pray in a world governed by the principle of interdependence. All work is shared. They help each other, knowing that at some time the favor will be returned.
Ayni also extends beyond the human community to include the earth and everything living upon it. So involved is the Quechua people’s relationship with the earth that they regard it as a being that must be nourished and protected lest it die. They call the earth Pachamama, meaning literally, Mother Earth. Before drinking akkha, the traditional corn-based alcoholic beverage, they spill a few drops on the earth as an offering to Pachamama. They also offer her small portions of food before they eat. Willka T’ika honors this ancient way of the Andes in every aspect of its operations, from organic gardening methods to sustainable construction and water use, from staff members working together to the quality of care and attention extended to guests.