What can be learnt from the Sikuani community? Lessons from Indigenous-colombian culture.
Updated: Aug 28, 2022
I had a wonderful, reflective and enlighted weekend in Puerto Gaitán (350 km from Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia). I was invited by a true inspiring entrepreneur and incredible woman and leader (Andrea Garcia "AGO"), who just sprouted an honest social-responsible company, Mano Sabia (www.manosabia.com). I had the opportunity to meet the Sikuani tribe and learn about life's natural wisdom. At first sight, you would think they were not happy; after all, they live in rural Colombia in poor and humble conditions. But then, you start talking to them about different topics and realize that they are happier than most people you know.
I asked them questions about their beliefs and how they perceived the Blancos (white men). They told me that they did believe in God, not a different one from the Christian God, albeit with a different name. They seemed to me very spiritual and meaningful. They only take from nature what is needed. I wondered what they would think about inventory (because of my research) and concluded that they would probably tell me there was no need to have any (maybe they are just-in-time oriented). They work passionately for life, and their handicraft expresses their culture. A culture that makes them proud and that they take within their hearts. They do not wear masks or have face paint because they explained to me that the culture is taken within them.
The second point was about advice for my life. They said to me that they enjoy nature and life. They enjoy their families, work, rituals, and time. They do not work for money, though they make some money shared across the community. They think that we, Blancos, have a material purpose in life and, because of that, cannot enjoy life. They told me: "you wake up early, you work, you go back home, and get to sleep. That is not exciting. I just wake up at any time; I work because I love to, and sometimes if there is not a proper and inspiring work environment (for example, full moon), I just wait and do my work in the best possible way".
I was really lucky to meet these people. Maybe, it was luck or destiny, but I reflected a lot on my purpose in life. Is it my purpose to work and contribute to knowledge and a company? Or is my purpose as exciting and delightful as my partner's in which, through her company, the dreams of these people are communicated and become real? I hope that my doctoral journey gives me the tools, knowledge, capabilities, reflection and experience to change specific ways healthcare industry. I am not doing a doctoral degree for the title or for the sake of it, but rather because I would love to become as inspiring and heart-driven to change many patients' lives, creating more job opportunities as AGO has done with her fantastic company Mano Sabia.