The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

May 2013

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27
Monday,
27 May 2013

Quinoa

My first contact with the world of fair trade goes back little more than 3 years. It was then – and without knowing what it was all about – that I was presented with new products which I had never seen before and had little or no idea of how to prepare. However it only took a quick search on Internet to make something click in my mind. And so it was that I fell in love with quinoa, the delight and aroma of a plant similar to spinach, however one which does not contain glutine but is high in protein.
"The fair trade market helps greatly these persons by agreeing a salary for them, thus establishing the price of sale, and all in all making their daily life more honest and respectable."
It grows on the high plateaus of Bolivia and in fact its profume creates in me the sensation of wide open spaces, never-ending expansions of blue sky, and even of men and women dressed in a thousand of colours passing their day collecting this plant. The fair trade market helps greatly these persons by agreeing a salary for them, thus establishing the price of sale, and all in all making their daily life more honest and respectable. I have mentioned quinoa, but in our hotel and in the Stüa di Michil generally we use excellent fair trade products, among them being coffee, tea, and cacao.
By using these products we help in our own little way to guarantee the survival of a culture far away from our own and which – without the support of fair trade – would risk extinction and in any case the wealth of which would be accumulated for the benefit of a few only. It is certainly no mystery that in Bolivia and other similar countries the multinationals profit from labour of adolescents so as to cash in on ever greater profits. Are we not in the 21st century when such happenings are no longer in line with contemporary thinking and MUST NOT no longer occur? It is the fair trade market which is the very instrument to prevent the exploitation of the poor in the southern hemisphere. Just sipping a coffee or enjoying the delicacy of quinoa or other fair trade product gives the impression, or should I say gives the certainty, of doing something useful, and also to have the added sensation of perhaps being up at a height of 4,000 metres, taking in pure pure air, and being surrounded by the blueest of skys whilst marvelling at the most amazing of landscapes. All of this, yes, we can express in just two words: FAIR TRADE.

Arturo and Ilaria