Swimming against the tide
Have you ever thought or tried swimming against the tide? I have heard it is good for the heart.
This enigma of wanting to swim against the tide has been reverberating in my heart for years. But why? What is the drive behind it?
Well, it stemmed from my naïve desire to be identified as an Indigenous woman growing up in a big metropolitan city like Lima – Peru.
Naïve? Yes, because after living in New Zealand for over 15 years and feeling a warm conviviality as an Indigenous woman and scholar in New Zealand then I thought it’d be the same case in Peru. In my experience – it is not.
So some reality check questions started to flow from my heart:
- How does my heart feel being an Indigenous woman in Peru?
My heart feels very vulnerable and without a voice.
- How does my heart feel being an Indigenous woman of Peru living in New Zealand?
My heart rejoices because is alive; it has a voice.
So here – I am. Swimming against the tide to be accepted as an Indigenous woman in my homeland. But why? Because of my cultural identity – I am an Indigenous woman of Peru.
But do not get too excited and think, I want to start an Indigenous revolution in Peru. No, that is not my intention because I believe in the language of the universe – Love.
Also, I am a woman brought up in Western society, and so I have an appreciation and respect for these two worldviews. I would very much like for these two contrasting worldviews to love, understand, and respect one another.
So how did my swimming against the tide go? Oh really good, I think I nailed my swimming strokes!
Because of the beautiful and crystal waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding Aotearoa – New Zealand. I was able to navigate through a journey towards reconnecting with my cultural identity – my Indigenous roots. There have been a few intrepid trips to the Peruvian Amazon and Andes over the past 15 years. However, it was not until my last trip to the Peruvian Andes in 2014 that I found my treasure. I had the pleasure and honour to live and work with my people in the Altiplano (Andean highlands) for five months. This trip was my doctoral field research trip.
What a fascinating experience! I love the fresh foods, and the fact that almost everything grows there. You can make almost any food that you like, and it tastes so flavourful because of what you started with – the bounty of Mother Earth.
Ah! By the way, I found out that one the main ingredient from the Andean peoples of Peru to improve food security is:
Live a ‘good live’ ‘Allin Kawsay’ every day – A loving and respectful commitment between humans (within themselves) and with Pachamama (Mother Earth). The resourcefulness that I have learnt made me feel so much more able and invigorated to continue with my doctoral research and aspirations in life. I am forever grateful to both Peru and New Zealand – I found my treasure. I no longer feel the need for acceptance in Peru because I treasure the ancient history of my people – my Inca lineage, and that is all that matters to me.
I knew I found my treasure when I experienced ‘Allin Kawsay’ up in the Andes, and this is when I felt that swimming against the tide is ‘good for the heart’.
Now I invite other Indigenous sisters and brothers and everyone who relates to me to also swim against the tide – It is good for the heart!