Peruve It - Pati
Hello, my name is Pati from Peruve It! I grew up in the small town of Cerro de Pasco, and like many small towns in Peru it is still common to practice and celebrate the deep traditions of our people. My grandmother spoke to us in the original Quechua language of our ancestors and always taught us the importance of respecting our roots, culture and natural landscape.
Quechua is one of the official languages spoken in Peru, along with Spanish and Aymara, and is part of a family of closely-related languages spoken in the Andean region. Quechua was the main language used by the historic Inca Empire which spanned over much of South America until its collapse sometime in the 15th century. However, the story of the Quechua language and people began many years before the Incas rose to power, some scholars dating it back as far as 2600 BC! There are currently about 10 million people who speak some form of the Quechua language and modern Peruvians are starting to embrace this original language as a source of national pride and even teaching it in schools again.
Even though I was raised with these traditions in my family, it wasn’t until I started traveling the world at age 21 that I realized how important my background would be to my future success and happiness. I have visited and lived in 15 countries outside of South America since then, and everywhere I went I wore my Peruvian shirts and favourite ‘chullo’ (traditional hat from the Andes of Peru). I started to realize how recognizable these styles were when random people would yell out their love for Peru at me, and many wanted to share stories of their travels to my country. I never realized how much my country meant to me until I started to get emotional hearing all these lovely stories from non-Peruvians. I made many friends during my travels and any loneliness experienced being away from my family was replaced by the joy of being an ambassador to my country.
After visiting Toronto in 2016, I knew of all the places I traveled that this was the place I wanted to stay and build my life. I fell in love with Canada and it is where I started realizing that the experiences I had as a Peruvian living abroad were shared by many others as well. I still missed my home, but after joining a Peruvian dance group, Asi Es Mi Tierra Peru, where we demonstrated traditional dance, fashion and music to warm receptions all over Ontario, I was reminded how happy it made me feel to connect with my culture. This experience inspired me even more to help people in similar situations and create a balance where I could embrace my Peruvian background while building my new life in Canada.
Peruve It is my way of trying to reach more people with this message and bringing a piece of home to all Peruvians living abroad. I also hope that people of all backgrounds will be excited by our designs, learn something about Peruvian culture and take something positive from their experience with us!