We like to be “fair to all parties” involved, including the “Pachamama” (mother earth), by not exploiting her forests nor the local indigenous people who supply us directly from regions of Pucallpa and Iquitos.
Despite the “basic lifestyle”, it is important to understand that people don’t want to change their lifestyle. For the most part, they were happy for hundreds of years with little or no change, so not so much has changed since then. Don’t judge these people by the lack of material wealth; for the better part, it’s all intentional. A Peruvian’s wealth is measured by the happiness and health of their family, not the type of housing or clothing they choose to wear. Large families are all part of the culture; often, they prefer to have another child than more money and food on the table. They are very people we mainly deal with Shipibo culture ourselves at Bluestar, so it is important to respect them and their ways and understand it’s a privilege to work with them directly.
This way, we all feel we’re contributing to the overall financial, therefore, the physical well-being of the tribal communities in the mentioned areas.
We don’t always make a profit on all our products; however, we help the various individuals promote their artisanal items on our pages when asked, so they can be added to orders, so no additional shipping cost is required. As the individual shipping of fabrics is costly on top of the prized “shipiba” handcrafted “mantas” (blankets)
Protecting the people and the environment
I believe that the forest and plants are not in any danger for the best part: the forest reclaims pasture lands quickly, and everything will completely grow back in 2-5 years. The terrain is again unrecognizable as pasture land. The forest is protected by “forestal permissions”. The people are fully permitted to harvest and use plants on their own land for personal and local use and sale. It is, however, prohibited for them to export these plants legally without “Serfor Permissions” (government permissions).
This leads groups to speculate the forest is somehow in danger; this is not the case. Forests will always have rare exotic and endangered species. We do not deal in endangered species of anything.
It monitors the industry development and collects tax in otherwise untaxable lower socio-economic areas. Most people do not have the money to invest in the forestal permission process, so bigger players will play the “green card” by telling you to fight jungle piracy and how ayahuasca is “somehow” in danger. The message is to support those who hold the exportation permissions. Understand those people are usually “people with the money”, “making more money”. Let us not disrespect their foresight and investment but keep it real. The cries almost always come from large resorts of established tourist businesses owned by foreigners, so the local people rarely benefit from this “saving of the forest”. The law doesn’t favour the poor in Peru. Low education blinds many to long term projects.
At Bluestar Peruvian Exports, we have access to plant materials with permissions and without, but we are realistic; we prefer and do try to get the money in the hands of those who need it rather than those who have it.