A message from our Founder

21st March 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As our world is rapidly transforming, I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

I am one week back from the Philippines, visiting our partners in the PinyaHan plant and the T’Boli pineapple farming Co-Operative, situated in the furthest southern point of the Philippines, Mindanao, where the bulk of Piñatex fibres come from.  Another reason for my trip was to map out what I called Kaluluwa, Piñatex Journey to the Soul’, and below is an extract from the Journey plan:

‘To follow the Piñatex Journey body and soul, from the ‘inside out’,
using heart thinking, sensorial impulses and experiences.
To experience people and places; nature, daily rhythms and reflect upon and represent the impact
that these experiences have in our heart and soul, people and the earth.
What are the questions that arise from this?…’

The world has changed so dramatically from the time I wrote these words and started preparing for this journey. It is now clear ‘The Journey’ is now, for everyone, everywhere.

Some of us will be working from home by now, adapting to the new patterns of the ‘new ways’, our personal Journeys. Taking care is key, and we are all very aware of what needs to be done. We need to adjust. New skills and creativity will become the new assets.

However, is there something more than taking care and adjusting that we need to do? I believe so. I see this as a transition period, from what it was the ‘normal’ to the ‘unknown’, but what an opportunity the unknown brings!

We can open our hearts and minds and let not fear take precious time from us.
We can open our hearts and minds and think of the collective possible opportunities, instead of our own self-centred needs and desires.

What will come is already present in an invisible way. The education around consumption and respect are values we must adopt; as the old ways give way to the yet unknown future.

And we need to do this with humanity and humbleness.
And we need to learn how to live with questions and be patient, as the poet Rilke beautifully stated in his poem:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers,
which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

With hope for the future and respect for today. Let’s keep safe and healthy.

Dr. Carmen Hijosa

Dr. Carmen Hijosa (centre) & Cecilia Martinez-Miranda (Ananas Anam Philippines - bottom right) with the women’s team of leaf gatherers at the T’Boli Co-Op, Philippines. The T’Boli Co-Operative is situated in Region XII, the second largest pineapple producing region in the Philippines. It has 20,000 Hectares of planted pineapples. Poverty in Region XII is at 32%.