[column_half] Traditionally, indigenous Kichwa families wake up before dawn and gather around a communal fire to drink gourds of guayusa. During this early-morning ritual, community members share dreams, myths, and legends. Several myths recount how the guayusa plant taught human beings how to dream, and throughout the morning shamans interpret dreams from the previous night.
Hunters also drink guayusa before nighttime hunting trips in order to heighten their senses of awareness and focus. Drinking guayusa enables them to get more in touch with the surrounding environment, allowing them to hunt safely in the jungle. For this reason guayusa is known as “The Night Watchman.”
In contrast to many indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon that grow coffee or tea (plants imported from other parts of the world), the Kichwa people grow guayusa, a native plant of immense cultural importance and mythological significance. Growing guayusa and sharing it with an international community is a powerful way for the Kichwa people to observe traditional cultural practices and recognize important values they hold in the modern world. [/column_half]