Woolen Mill Opportunity

Here is a true story about an exciting humanitarian business opportunity, an extraordinary shaman and Peguche Falls in Imbabura Ecuador.

Imbabura Ecuador

Some places are always remembered, special spots that create peak experiences forever changing our life. These spaces in our existence become crossroads that forever dictate our direction of fate. Some of these places through some inexplicable energy or concentration of power become a crossroads for many.

Peguche Falls in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador is one such place. I have seen numerous lives change there. I’ll explain why in a moment. First, let me share a true story that took place during our recent conference in Imbabura.

Peguche Falls rushes into an isolated ravine as San Pablo lake turns into pure waters that cascade off a flat plateau and crash into fine sprays of effervescent water swelling with foam. These waters flow boldly down the hollows of an enchanted eucalyptus forest.

Pictures don’t do it justice. Peguche Falls is really worth the journey.

Merri and I slipped down the mud-slicked path in the pouring rain, listening to the rumble of Peguche falls ahead. Don Carlos ran in the lead and seemed to sniff at the air in his attempt to find the right place. We knew his senses were operating at deeper levels than we could imagine, yet we hoped to sense or feel what he was seeking as well.

During the trips into the highlands with our friends and readers, we try to connect with a Taita (an old one). These are shamans we have met who conduct sacred ceremonies. They are special men and women of the indigenous cloth who perform healing ceremonies for love not cash. These are the great healers of body and heart who are little known. They do not often advertise, and Don Carlos is among the best. Seemingly ancient with his craggy, weather worn face and long white hair, yet so wise/giving and loving and as nimble as a mountain goat as we climbed steadily up the slick treacherous paths.

This trip to Peguche Falls Ecuador Imbabura Province was special as it was our tenth anniversary with Don Carlos and in the shamanic way he had suddenly appeared without warning and told us to accompany him to the Pecuche falls. This trip fell on Carnival so the peace and beauty of the park and the path that winds its way to the falls was marred by stalls and crowds. Don Carlos was looking for a clean spot where the energy for a ceremony would be right.

We did not find the right spot, but (more on that later) the group we were with would have had an excellent ceremony wherever they were because they had already reached a heartfelt crossroad.

On each trip we take our group to the Peguche community center for lunch. Perhaps festival is a better word. The center is a just a huge room, thatched roof and 200 year old dirt floor. We see the feast being prepared in the wood fired chiminerias and dine on plain wooden tables and benches. The community of Peguche joins us to eat, dance and sing their simple ancient but haunting music. There is something in their wonderful joy that causes all of us to shift.

This wonderful hall and these sweet people somehow create the crossroads. Do not ask me how or to explain why. All I can say is that people come in perhaps curious and with a hunger for food. They leave smiles, laughter, often a few tears and with a new hunger to do something for or with indigenous people. Our hearts are always touched.

Now there is a special business opportunity in Peguche so we can do something with these American natives that may be very profitable.

One opportunity comes from the revival of the only Native American owned woolen mills in the world. This opportunity is offered by Dr. Antonia Lema, who is our friend and business contact. Dr. Lema was the first Native American from Ecuador to receive a university degree.

Peguche is the village of weavers. Since before Incan times these people were famous for the way they spun and designed cloth, first from what is now Peruvian cotton and later from llama and then sheep’s wool. To this day as you walk through the village you hear the click-clack of their looms.

This area was north of the Incan conquest but when the Spanish later conquered this area they reduced the locals to little more than slaves. Later though they achieved political freedom from the colonial powers little happened to create economic freedom. The mill owners continued to enslave these marvelous weavers by controlling the markets in their goods. Dr. Antonio Lema had long dreamed of creating a woolen mill that was totally owned by natives so they could better influence their destiny.

He lives between his home in the United States (St. Louis) and Peguche and set up this unique mill many years ago and over years has managed to do well at this. Then business set-backs shut the mill down. Today it is all there, but needs operating capital and some added equipment to start back up.

We visited this mill on our trip and here is what captured my imagination. Here is a business idea that I believe will make this mill work. While visiting there, Merri and I each bought beautiful light wool coats ($10 a piece) woven in colors of white and blue.

Then Dr. Lema said the magic words, “These are remnants of an order from a university that had us make these jackets in their colors.”

Those of you who have been reading this site for long know how highly important I believe the story is as part of any business.

I believe that the story of having jackets custom made in school colors for high schools and universities by the only native America woolen mills in the world is a killer idea. Call it the OCCCP Plan (Original Citizen College Color Plan) or something like that. This ties the pride of schools to the desires of the young to help those who are poor and indigenous. I can expand on this in my imagination for a long time. Coats come first then tours, then exchange students, then language lessons. The merchandising and humanitarian potential is endless.

The needs of the mill are pretty modest and if a number of investors who wanted to sell the college color products got together their investment per person would not be large. The group would develop their marketing and sales potential in tandem.

If this idea appeals contact Dr. Antonio Lema at arteindi@yahoo.cm or Linda Lindsey at linda@paonia.com (she is an anthropologist who has been involved in this project for some years). I believe that the idea is a winner.

Back to Don Carlos and Peguche Falls Imbabura Ecuador. We could not find a good place to have his healing ceremony by Peguche so returned to the Ali Shungu hotel and enjoyed a three-hour healing and ceremony under the stars there. That was a crossroads as well. But that’s another story for another time. I hope we’ll share it some day, perhaps at our next trip to Peguche Falls Imbabura Ecuador in May 2005!

Until tomorrow may all your crossroads be blessed.


Learn more about Ecuador sacred knowledge in our International Business Made EZ correspondence course or come to our next course in Ecuador at GaryScott.com

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words

Beautiful Pegueche Falls