Our Co-Founder Journey
Although this might be a normal day for most, for me, it isn’t. It was exactly a year ago that I left my South American country (Chile), following an instinct (disguised as an opportunity) to continue learning about what I am most passionate. I left the stability I had. I left everything I knew. All to be exchanged for a place where honking is the equivalent of asking for permission, and eating with your hands is considered good manners.
How much do we really know about Asia in Latin America? We know of the poverty in India; the pretty Thai beaches; the vast quantities of people with slanted eyes that we indifferently (and very ignorantly) all call Chinese. But, could we talk about their economic, social or technological development? Or of the different political circumstances that not only change between Asian countries, but within regions of the same country? How many of us can say that we were brought up knowing and coexist with five completely different religions? Or that we can distinguish and cook 17 different types of pulses and legumes in a hundred different ways? Could we even begin to understand, comprehend or even tolerate such diversity?
Here I realised that no matter how many differences we have, that which unites us is the greatest of all: a hope to end poverty in our countries, to improve our health care systems, to reduce plastic waste and take advantage of our other wastes, to end water shortages during summers and the proliferation of stray dogs. Nobody wants pesticides in their salad, we all want a free, high-quality education, to empower our women, and maybe a little help when natural disasters strike. Have you ever noticed that we insist on looking up to developed countries to find solutions to social issues that they don’t even suffer? Why don’t we look towards countries similar to ours and learn from what their own people are doing to solve these issues?
We import products from China and services from India, but why don’t we import knowledge from parts of Asia? Following my passion for social entrepreneurship and an eagerness for learning, I journeyed to India — a place that brings out the very best and the very worst in you. They say that you either love it or hate it. It turns out that I fluctuate between the two (several times a day). A year ago, without realising it, I started on a path here that forced me to learn much more than I could have ever expected: I was defeated by my mistakes, forced to understand that what was obvious to me it was not necessarily obvious to others; it led me to strengthen my principles and to defending what I truly believed in. And now today, I can write about the world I envision for future generations. Despite the difficulties, I hold no regrets. Why?
I started traveling around the world 15 years ago, looking out there for what I couldn’t find at home. However, time passed by and I realised that it is not about what we lack, rather about what we don’t do with what we have. So, after almost a year in Asia and with my little sister’s help, I began to tell the stories of the many extraordinary people I have crossed paths with and to share sustainable practices that will lead us to a better world.
Through our project, Ancla Latam, we are importing purposeful knowledge from Asia to Latin America, and doing it in Spanish. I’m doing this because I see how limited we are by language. Because I think we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Because I believe in collaboration and synergy, and in sharing knowledge and experience. With the last bit of my savings, my phone’s camera and social media, I dare to share what I think is my purpose. I’m exposing myself to everyone’s scrutiny and (dis)approval — there will always be those who think you are not doing good enough! However, my tenacity, and often times my stubbornness, have led me to put up the good fight (with others, yet especially with myself), to finally realise that it’s all worth it: the endless travels in small buses cramped with people on dusty roads and loud music; not being able to speak your own language for months at a time, or eating a raw salad without fear to become ill, or wearing shorts with 40°C and not feeling observed by a society that doesn’t wear them; meeting harmful people, sometimes sleeping on the floor, being cold, getting sick, missing home. Risks and challenges are worth it. Otherwise, how do we learn? What do we live for?
Asia is a box full of surprises. It reflects the complex world that we live in, no matter where we are from — if only we use the right context. I am proud to be Latin American and I feel privileged to have seen and lived through things that I know most people will never be able to experience. Through Ancla Latam we want to share it all. We want to offer an open invitation to people who want to learn how others are already solving the same problems we are facing using entrepreneurship. To live by taking responsibility of something beyond just ourselves. We want to share our cultural exchanges in those far away countries that we think of to be so different. We want to transport readers to those places where there are people with the same desire to make this a better world through social businesses; We want to have the honour to introduce you the crazy ones scattered all over, who are giving their A game to make this world a more just and sustainable place for future generations — and I do not mean charity! This is a space to go to for inspiration in social entrepreneurship and sustainable practices from around the world, starting in South Asia — and hopefully in the future, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the rest of Asia.
I came out of the darkness dancing with my passion for social entrepreneurship, traveling, sharing knowledge and telling stories, covered in light and hope for a united Latin America, free of poverty; I envision a Latin America that shines not only for its resources and rich culture, but also for its knowledge and human development. Some may say that I am not realistic but let me tell you: those are the ones who haven’t seen that it is possible.
I may have gone bald, but now I carry more grey hair; with thousands of kilometers under my belt and real knowledge to share, I am happy to inspire others so they dare to do what they love, to use our resources better, and to find balance in our lives. I am thankful for the magical sunsets, the wonderful support of courageous people, all the yoga and meditation, the spicy food and even those few extra kilos.
Originally posted on this Medium Story