How One Drink Is Sharing Culture & Helping Community In Ecuador

Fact: On Earth there are more than 150 countries, over 1 million cities, and greater than 7 billion people. With so many cultures, it’s a beautiful thing to share our traditions, beliefs and lifestyles with each other to create a more open-minded world.

But how do we share our local cultures with people that are thousands of miles away?

It’s actually not as hard as you may think. In fact, one tasty drink called Wanku is passionate about sharing Ecuadorian culture with the world, while also helping local farmers.

Link >>> WanKu’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Helping Ecuador Culture & The Community

Wanku was founded by three young men — Juan Giraldo, José Torres and Nicolás Estrella. Their goal: to help small farmers from Chuquiribamba, a southern region rich with Ecuador culture. Local farmers in Chuquiribamba are hard-working and passionate about preserving nature. And while very thankful for what they have in life, many struggle with low incomes.

Take for example Miguel Tambo, a 55-year-old Chuquiribamba farmer tilling the land since the age of 20. His belief: that preserving nature is the future of humanity. But despite his hard work and noble goals, Miguel often lacks the means to get his products to local markets to be sold. The result is that he’s forced to sell his goods to intermediaries at a tenth of the normal price.

Meet Miguel Tambo, a local smallholder farmer.

As a consequence of issues like this, both the hardworking people of Chuquiribamba and their families must learn to survive with less than $50 USD per month.

The Solution

This is where Wanku comes in, creating a sustainable value chain where they purchase their product ingredients directly from farmer’s at a Fair Trade price. This way, they can improve quality of life in Chuquiribamba.

But how exactly do they do it?

Well, there is an ancient traditional beverage called horchata also known as “the healing water”, from Loja, the region Chuquiribamba resides in. Known for being both delicious and healthy, it’s believed to be an evolution of a drink brought to Ecuador by the Spanish during colonial times.

Explains Wanku co-founder Juan Giraldo, “Local people say one reason horchata is considered an important beverage is because it’s often very hard for people to travel to big cities for medicine or doctors. Horchata is known for treating stomach and digestive problems.

Local people know that horchata has a lot of health benefits for the body. People in this region of Ecuador are known for living more than 100 years. They say that horchata is one of the reasons for their healthy lives and longevity.”

Link >>> WanKu’s Crowdfunding Campaign

It’s important to note it’s not the same as the Mexican version containing rice milk laced with vanilla and cinnamon. Instead, the beverage is a blend of water with 20+ different herbs and flowers. Some of these include black and white basils, mint, oregano, lemongrass, linseed, starflowers and more. To sweeten, organic cane sugar and stevia are added, with a bit of lemon juice for acidity.

Says Giraldo, “We’ve tried our best to replicate the traditional horchata recipe that farmer Don Miguel shared with us. We just reduced the amount sweetener they usually use to meet customer preferences.”

A bottle of WanKu

Sharing Traditions With The World

Wanku has now bottled the beverage to share Ecuador culture with the world — while also providing Chuquiribamba farmers with additional revenue. Making a positive change is what motivates Wanku’s team to work.

Notes Giraldo, “It is amazing how one action can make a difference in a community and impact the world. It is wonderful how the traditions of a culture can be known worldwide simply by sharing a beverage.”

By the way, if you’re wondering what the word “Wanku” means, it’s a word from Quechua, the most widely spoken language of indigenous people from the Central Andes Mountains. Wanku means “conjunto” in Spanish, which could be translated as “together” in English.

It’s fitting not only based on the brand’s mission, but also horchata’s recipe itself. Explains Giraldo, “Horchata is a ‘wanku’ of medicinal herbs and flowers. The ingredients have to be blend together to get the drink.”

WanKu co-founder Nicolás Estrella with local farmer of Chuquiribamba

Get Involved

Wanku is launching this beverage through a crowdfunding campaign.

What they need now is your support with the campaign and help spreading the word.

Go to their project page on PieShell and help the fund the dream. Share their initiative with your friends and let everybody know about people like Miguel Tambo.

[Click to support >>> WanKu’s Crowdfunding Campaign]

Through their crowdfunding campaign, Wanku hopes to achieve three main goals:

1. Ramp up production. Says co-founder Juan Giraldo, “We’ll be able to bring Wanku to the US, thus increasing our production. As production increases we can create better livelihoods for farmers.”

2. Start growing distribution channels. WanKu wants to start expanding their sales area making WanKu available to more people like you — those who like healthy and delicious products that are also helping to shape a better world.

3. Help Ecuadorian farmers thrive. They want to help smallholder farmer organize themselves as a Farmers Coop. This way, farmers will be able to increase their incomes in a sustainable way, and they will not depend solely on WanKu to buy their products, as they will have the means to thrive by themselves.

Link >>> WanKu’s Crowdfunding Campaign

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