Long live the Pachamama!
Pachamama Day, or Mother Earth day, was celebrated at the Lithium Processing Pilot Plant in Salta. Andrea Fernández, the HRBP Manager, and Luciana Fernández, CORE Analyst, from Aguarague, share their experience of this joyous occasion.
One of the most significant festivities in the Andean calendar, Pachamama is at once a celebration and an expression of gratitude to the Incan goddess Mother Earth. This series of ancestral rituals and ceremonies is celebrated in many Latin American countries, but particularly in the north of Argentina, where it is the subject of special events held throughout August.
The first day of the month is when offerings are made to honor Mother Earth in a ritual of gratitude for everything that She gives us daily. However, there is also an extra day of celebration, at least for Tecpetrol employees: the special blessings ceremony taking place in each community where it carries out its activities.
Olapacato, at 4,100 meters above sea level, lying in the middle of the Salta highlands, or Puna, is the area where Tecpetrol's Lithium Processing Pilot Plant is located—and the scene of this very special ceremony. Andrea Fernández, the HRBP Manager, explains, that “based at Aguarague, where our office is located, we provide services to Olacapato and the Lithium Plant. This means that we have a social management relationship with the local Kolla Quewar community, a bond also born of respect. The Pachamama tradition is deeply rooted in their culture.”
This year’s Pachamama ceremony was held at the entrance to the Plant, a uniquely enriching experience for all those present. For Tecpetrol, as a company which champions diversity, these activities reinforce the profound mutual ties with their neighbors, as they take place within a framework of respect for beliefs and shared mutual learning: a meeting place for different customs.
At the ceremony were Pablo Martellotta, CORE Manager, Luciana Fernández, CORE Analyst, Eduardo Isasmendi, Aguarague Division Sr. Manager, DITE colleagues Gonzalo Argiro, Olacapato Plant Manager, Ticiana Caruso, Business Development Expert, and Federico Sulprizio, Energy Transition Planning Sr. Manager, the Plant Supervisor Gabriela Jérez and Atilio Asón, in addition to the Olacapato medical services.
Tecpetrol is particularly receptive to these enriching meetings, and Andrea explains why it’s so important: “Our work policy, which always puts projects front and center, is all about sustained and sustainable development. That relationship, that long-term bond, is very important to us and strengthens our ties with the communities where we operate.”
Celebrations in honor of Pachamama include offerings of food, objects, and flowers to the deity. Luciana Fernández explains what the meeting was like: “We held a special ceremony to bless the operation, which was both emotional and interesting. We were all there, paying special attention to the cacique, flanked by our CORE Manager. He blessed the land and shared an appreciation of everything that it gives us.”
As the years pass by, traditions change. The advent of technology replaces some processes and creates others. People change, as does the Earth. But what remains the same is the relationship with Her, one that features love, gratitude, and the shared obligation to take care of her, to be sustainable. Because it's our home and all we have.