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Coming Home. Visiting the Red Yao (It's been too long)

It's been too long since we've had the opportunity to visit the Longsheng region of China and the communities to which we are connected. Now, with travel restrictions easing and the Chinese new year's festive mood, we decided it was the perfect time to visit.

Not much has changed since our last trip. Or perhaps it's just that the Yao people's unwavering warmth and hospitality made everything feel familiar. Despite all our differences in geography, language, culture, and belief systems, the Red Yao always welcomes us as you would family.  

This is what "Home" feels like -- 

 

And here's something exciting to report...

This visit held extra meaning for everyone involved. It marked a milestone in Viori's partnership with the Red Yao. 

We had a chance to personally share with the villagers how Viori was doing as a company and thank them for their support. Their willingness to share so much about their culture and help us understand them on a deeper level has enriched our lives.

They are a constant source of inspiration to live life fully, and we are deeply honored to play a part in their culture's preservation and sustainable development.

Here's What You've Helped Us Accomplish

If you've made a purchase from Viori in the last 12 months, you have directly contributed to our brand new Beautiful Reason Initiative: Naturally-Grown Rice Cultivation. With your help, we've established a formal agreement with 13 Red Yao families and secured the land to cultivate naturally-grown Longsheng rice.  

The decision to launch this initiative came after several rounds of conversation and consultation between our team and the villagers. Overwhelmingly, the community felt the best way for Viori to support them was to help them do one of the things they do best: cultivate rice. So, this year, a substantial portion of the $50,000 Beautiful Reason Fund will be used to launch this initiative.

The project will provide tools and knowledge to support farmers making the switch to naturally-grown rice -- and guarantee the purchase of the rice they grow. We are excited to be working with these 13 families and looking forward to expanding this program in the near future. Stay tuned for more details and updates as we move forward!

After finalizing plans for our first Beautiful Reason Initiative, spirits were high in the village. And we were SO lucky to be invited to a local wedding! How fortunate we were to reconnect with our friends in the village in such an intimate way.

The Yao ladies dressed up in the most exquisite handmade garments and sang beautiful songs. Each one took turns singing about love, marriage, life, and wishes of good fortune.

The relaxed perfection of their singing made it seem as if each verse were well-rehearsed-- not so! To our surprise, each lady improvised, making up lines on the spot! They effortlessly sang about happiness and romance, gracefully stitching the verses together. It was a lovely display of their close-knit culture and happy spirits.  

If this last trip has taught us one thing, it's that human connections, face-to-face, make all the difference. 

While we are incredibly grateful that technology enables us to stay in touch during times we aren't in the village, it's simply no replacement for being there in person. Technology ever be able to compare to the experience of sitting around a fire, laughing together, sharing stories, and dreaming up a better future.

It's a good reminder for us to start planning our next trip as soon as possible!

Until then, you can learn more about Viori's mission and the Beautiful Reason Initiative here

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