Sadly, the number of Guaranis living in Brazil has declined to 50,000, while the number may be twice as high in Paraguay. Only tiny, isolated communities remain in Argentina and Bolivia. The Guarani continue to be threatened, like so many other Indigenous peoples around the world. Ranchers stealing land, exploitation of labor, government neglect, and systemic racism by the now dominant European cultures in South America mean that the Guarani are struggling to survive and will continue to do so for many years to come.
We at Thirsty Leaf believe that the Guarani have valuable contributions to make, not only in South America but across the globe as well. Their culture is deep and complex. People still dismiss them far too often as backward or unimportant when the exact opposite is true. Their respect for the earth, forests, rivers, and jungle is immense; their understanding of the natural world is unparalleled, and their creation stories offer insights that are worthy of further study and inclusion in our lives. We value our relationships with the Guarani people; Yerba Mate is integral to the culture of the Guarani of South America, which is why Thirsty Leaf works with the Guarani people to cultivate Yerba Mate with respect and care. Their integrity is one of the reasons our teas are named after their Gods. Thirsty Leaf’s relationship with the Guarani people and the projects we have undertaken that help them are described in: