Celebrating the Power and Passion of Women on Wild Women Expedition Trips
It’s no big secret. We are a women-centric company. We cater to, depend on, champion, encourage and support women not just in our own Wild Women community, but abroad. Our destinations and experiences are designed to share the story and successes of women and their entrepreneurial spirit. At WWE, we are committed to seeking out intimate, authentic interactions with women and girls in a way that will help them achieve greater independence, pride and economic security by supporting their talents, ideas and visions for a bolder tomorrow.
Here are a few of the inspiring communities and cooperatives that WWE trips visit–which one would you like to join? From llama leg warmers to lunch at a women-owned Jordanian cafe to pounding your own Arabica coffee in Tanzania to tie-dying shirts in Thailand, there are countless ways to support and celebrate the power and passion of women!
The Tightly Knit Community of Awamaki, Sacred Valley, Peru
The women of Awamaki have been weaving for hundreds of years. Their culture and history has been expressed for generations in patterns that tell the story of their lives in rural Peru. The non-profit social enterprise cooperative has partnered with a program that has boosted the accessibility of their traditional Andean textile products to a broader audience online.
Established in 2009, Awamaki began as a cooperative of 10 women weavers from rural Patacancha (a Quechua community). The organization has expanded to include vital health and education programs, collaborations with other artisan cooperatives and a sustainable tourism program.
A visit to Awamaki allows the local women to take on a leadership role amongst the group, setting up the textiles and sharing the story behind the patterns on the path from sheep to textile. On WWE’s Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu or The Amazon to Machu Picchu journeys, you’ll witness wool in all different grades and see how it’s spun, dyed and woven during a demonstration. The women have an extensive line that includes coin purses, scarves, totes, knit toys and super cute llama leg warmers for babies.
Empowered to become dedicated master weavers, the women of Awamaki are ensuring that their traditions continue to carry the pattern on to a new generation.
Franny, WWE’s Program Manager, shared this from her Incan experience last summer:
“There is an opportunity to weave your own bracelet–the ultimate take-home gift. At the end of the weaving demonstration, each woman proudly sets up her wares so you can purchase genuine artisan hand-woven crafts too.”
Lunch at Beit Khairat Souf, Jordan
You can have lunch in this very fragrant and sun-splashed spot on WWE’s Journey into Jordan trip. Beit Khayrat Souf is a unique women-owned and managed café in Souf–it was established as a creative solution to women’s unemployment in the area. The project continues to inspire a solid community of women leaders that help network and propel the café’s success. Founded by Sumia, a Jordanian woman, this initiative was funded with a personal loan and one giant dream.
Beit Khairat Souf is located in the former home of the Batarseh family. The heritage house was built in 1881 and renovated in 2016 to become Beit Khairat Souf. A lingering lunch here offers more than the freshest ingredients and a top secret blend of coffee. It’s a taste of Jordan’s deep culture and a hyper local menu that revolves around native plants and healing herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme.
In addition to providing a marketplace for women to sell their products, Jordanian teens interested in conversation and learning about other cultures are offered volunteer positions that allow them to chat with travellers and guests of the café. Beit Khairat Souf now employs over 20 women and continues to grow with the demand for meaningful travel experiences.
This is what Jenny, our Program Director, had to say about her recent experience at Beit Khairat Souf:
“Seated on the bright covered patio, we were served colourful Jordanian dishes featuring fresh salads of tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs and heavenly hummus with warm, just-out of-the-oven flatbread, savoury rice and chicken. Of course, with every meal, you can expect to enjoy local varieties of olives and dates. Our group also spent some time in the onsite gift shop where local artisans sell their yummy preserves, dried herbs and medicines, weaving and jewelry.”
Mama Anna’s Agape Co-op, Tanzania
On WWE’s Tanzania Trek and Safari trip, a visit to Mama Anna’s Agape cooperative in Mulala Village is guaranteed to deliver lively song, dance and really superb coffee. Mama Anna is a legend–her enterprise began with the simple but monumental donation of a cow by a German foundation. Mama soon recognized that the cow’s production of 13L of milk a day was becoming overwhelming. So, she diversified and learned how to make gouda! She now makes six kinds of cheese to appeal to international markets and tourists in addition to butter, ghee and yogurt.
Fittingly, “agape” means love (or super love as Mama insists), and love oozes from Mama Anna and the wide smiles of the dynamic women of the coop. One cow became a financial lifeline as Mama Anna taught herself how to produce cheese. The Wameru tribe has benefited 100% from her initiative with the construction of a secondary school and support of community projects.
In addition to a hands-on coffee roasting demo, you’ll learn about cheese-making production, no-sting bees and the honey harvest that is an essential part of the coop’s product line. You can purchase coffee, honey and cheese to go to! When that stashed cheese is shared midway through a game drive in the Serengeti, it’s a beautiful reminder of the day spent with Mama and the verdant fields of carrots, palms and coffee trees that surround her home with a backdrop of Mt. Meru.
Fun fact: In the Wameru tribe, a mother’s name changes with her first born. So, Mama Anna is the Mama of Anna (and both Mama’s daughters are part of the industrious and ever expanding cooperative).
Jules, our Content Creator, shared her coffee tasting notes from Tanzania last fall:
“At Agape, you’ll be an integral part of the bean-to-cup coffee roasting process. Be prepared to sift, pound the pestle and shake to the beat of Mama Anna’s traditional songs and procession. It’s a far cry from any Starbucks line-up you’ve ever been in! Expect the best still-warm beignets (donuts), fried bananas and the most-local cup of coffee possible!”
Studio Naenna, Northern Thailand
You’ll visit this eco-friendly, ethical studio on our Elephants, Treks and Temples tour in Chiang Mai. Founded in 1986, this Northern Thailand community of women weavers, embroiderers, designers and support staff have joined forces to establish “Weavers for the Environment” (WFE). The creative women of WFE unite artisan craft makers from various ethnic groups to create high quality, environmentally-friendly and sustainable products. Encouraging women to share and specialize in their traditional techniques has financially empowered women within their villages and strengthened a 2,000 year-old practice.
The tie-dye workshop at Studio Naenna begins with a quick introduction to natural dyes and Thai ikat (Mudmee) technique. Patricia Cheesman, a renowned textile expert, or her daughter, Lamorna Cheesman, will guide the group in the art of tie and dye using 25-year-old indigo vats. You’ll also learn about brocade and embroidery using silk and eco-cotton and dyes derived from locally sourced seeds and leaves.
Jen B. our Business Development and Partnerships gal at WWE reflected on her experience:
“It’s the women, the mother and daughter own it together. They do a demonstration on how to make a tie dye with different patterns and you get to pick a pattern (scarf and/or handkerchief/bandanna).”
“The hands-on experience makes it the most fun. You put on smocks and then begin twisting and elastic banding the fabric to make the pattern that you’ve chosen (there are a dozen to choose from and local interns that are ready to help you roll and apply the bands). The intricacies and results of twisting fabric into certain dyed patterns was very cool.
This traditional art is also taught to locals who are interested in employment and carrying on the legacy of these techniques into the future.
While the fabric is drying, you get to have tea and biscuits, time to peruse their weaving shop and visit the art studio where they create their art (you can purchase items here too!).”
Interested in visiting these cooperatives for yourself? Contact one of our Adventure Experts to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-888-993-1222.