Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ayni: working for the common good

Ayni (pronounced: i-nee) is a core concept within the Aymaran culture in which people work together for the common good, helping one another to accomplish a task.

I have come to understand Ayni as good karma--the belief that if you do something for someone else, the favor will be returned, in some way, in the future. And it's not just good karma between people, explained my co-worker and UAC-CP graduate Carlos Vergara. It can also be between people and animals and the Earth. "If we want to be treated well by people or animals or the Pachamama, we have to treat those things well." We can't expect more from other people or things than we would expect of ourselves, Carlos explained.

Doña Sonia and her neighbor Don José spend a good portion of their Sunday off from their regular work to help Carmen Pampa community members maintain a local trail.

In the spirit of Ayni, Carmen Pampa Fund is hosting its annual fundraiser La Fiesta de Ayni on May 7th in Minneapolis. La Fiesta de Ayni will be a celebration of working for the common good.

The event will be a gathering of the many generous and loving people who work tirelessly to provide our students with access to higher education. People like Sr. Damon Nolan, UAC-CP founder, and Dr. Hugh Smeltekop, UAC-CP Vice Director--who have, with the support of generous donors, unselfishly dedicated their lives to fulfilling the mission of the College. Together, they will be joined by UAC-CP Education student Gonzalo Zambrana.

La Fiesta de Ayni is also the opportunity for people who are unfamiliar with our work to learn more about the College--our students, our graduates, our academic areas, our community extension projects, and our research work. It's the chance to learn why the United Nations has named the College one of the most successful models worldwide for the eradication of poverty!

Carmen Pampa community members take a break from working a day of Ayni. After their break they reconstructed a falling bridge over a nearby stream.

La Fiesta de Ayni, complete with Latin American food and dancing, will be held next Thursday, May 7th, from 6-9pm at the Foss Atrium and Chapel at Augsburg College, Minneapolis. The official program will begin at 7pm. People interested in attending should contact Carmen Pampa Fund at 651/641-1588.

An official invitation for the event can be viewed here.

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