We are a tribe of wild, bold, nature-seeking women. The joy, healing, and efficacy that occurs when you experience the biting chill of alpine wind, springy pine trails underfoot, or an elegant sunset over a remote lake is profoundly moving regardless of how you worship, the color of your skin, the roundness of your curves, your age, who you love, or where you call home.

Our community needs to be fortified NOW, more than ever. We need to become part of a global effort to explore and embrace our shared passions with diverse people. Over the past year, we’ve had the opportunity to connect with adventurous mamas from around the world. These ladies have left us inspired, enlightened, and simply stoked. Kapulí Heredia (Kapu) was one such woman.

Kapu is developing a community in Ecuador called MAMÁ UMA; the idea grew out of the sustainable tourism company, Senderos Ideas Verdes Y Turismo (Green Ideas Trails and Tourism), that she built. MAMÁ UMA is similar to Adventure Mamas in that it prioritizes the merging of adventure and motherhood.

The English to Spanish language gap meant our first conversations with Kapu were comical to say the least. But, we talked through our hands, facial expressions, and laughing outbursts. We’ve made it work; through the help of a few translators, some googling, and, of course, humor, we were able to go back and forth to put together an interview from Kapu discussing her vision and goals for MAMÁ UMA.

“MAMÁ UMA has become my channel to show mothers unique places and facilitate unparalleled moments full of love.” -Kapulí Heredia

What is the vision of  Sendero? What do you hope to accomplish and how?:

To be a point of reference for travelers and families who love adventure and who are dedicated to creating a better world where we can share our lives with each other. We want to guide intrepid newcomers within our country. Our principal motives for creating and offering unique activities to travelers are to protect the environment, highlight native customs and support the local economy. We want to recover the value of each corner of our country, promoting an appropriate understanding of these spaces.

Here in our beautiful Ecuador, we use practical principles of Sustainable Tourism. We want to be the start of several social work projects that give back to the community. Right now, we support local community initiatives: organizations and groups of people dedicated to the preservation of the amazing natural resources around them because they understand the importance of the natural capital they have at their fingertips. Also, one of our objectives is to open a space where there is an interchange of knowledge. Casa Sendero is one space that we have opened to host travelers within our own home in hopes of generating safe, fun and satisfying experiences for our guests.

What made you start your organization?

Yes, there is a specific story, a story involving perseverance and love for what you do…When I was 21 I began to travel and discover new places. Each place I went to and the hospitality I received from new friends inspired this idea of reciprocity, or a need to give back when others visit my own country, Ecuador. So, I opened myself up to a process, beginning as a mountain guide with my father and mentor. At first, I did not take it very seriously, but when I became a mother, my passion awakened. I could tangibly imagine doing this for life with my family. Four years later, I developed a tourism company called Senderos Ideas Verdes Y Turismo (Green Ideas Trails and Tourism).

I was looking to create spaces of well-being for all and to motivate CONSCIOUS TOURISM; however, this space has turned into a cradle where various projects have been born, including activities of well-being and feminine empowerment. It has become a motivation for the love of the mountains and the care for the nature around us, as well as a place for yoga and meditation. What we are looking to do through these activities is become more conscious of our body and spirit in communion with the earth.

How does MAMÁ UMA fit into this?

I experienced two marvelous pregnancies, full of Andean customs and the outdoors. The benefits of these connections are extraordinary and after two years of taking a break because of the pregnancies and recovery, we returned to the mountains inspired.

“MAMÁ UMA” was created to support mothers and invite them to move and recover from their postpartum experiences. We consider playing with our children to be the best activity to improve physical recovery. We want women to own their motherhood and provide a new perspective of maternity: it isn´t a sickness, like many here believe. MAMÁ UMA has become my channel to show mothers unique places and facilitate unparalleled moments full of love.

I have been very fortunate to be able to present this idea to Mujer Montaña (“Mountain Woman”, an inspiring collective of lady-adventurers directed by women from Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru). They came to Ecuador for their fourth gathering and motivated me to move forward.

This year, with the help of a fellow adventure-lover from the States who now lives here in Ecuador, Katelynn Camp, we created a project called “Warmi Chasquí” which means “Messenger Woman.” Through this project, we are bringing together a group of women passionate about the outdoors and holistic health. We want to prepare women to be independent adventurers with all of the tools they need to enjoy these activities with confidence and security.

Why is this especially important in Ecuador?

Unfortunately our society has a “maleness problem” that is especially deep in our community. It becomes difficult to break those paradigms because often it is the women that puts barriers between herself and her dreams–this what they were taught. Our great challenge is to empower those women. Other limitations are the type of education system we have in our country: they limit and censure skills that are not considered ‘good for mothers’. We are filled with unfounded fears about birth and it is often treated as a taboo.

We are working to reignite a sense of community, recover ancestral customs, traditions, and beliefs, and be grateful for the earth that is our home. Through workshops, we provide tools so every mother, women, and kid has the chance to work and fight for what they want. Our knowledge is freely shared.

What advice do you have for a new mom?

Trust in yourself and in your intuition. Hear your own body without judging. Love yourself. Becoming a living testimony.

How can people learn more or get involved?

We invite you to get involved in our community through our social platforms. We are constantly uploading information about our activities. Our speeches and workshops are open to anyone.

It also helps us if you are able to help spread our values and objectives. By sharing information between organizations all around the world, the people of Ecuador can see that this is a worldwide idea that has reached us.

To learn more about Kapu’s work with MAMÁ UMA and Sendero, check out her website and follow MAMÁ UMA on Facebook.

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