In a small Chilean town not far from the country’s capital of Santiago, locals make and keep fat little pigs named Chanchitos as good luck charms. Though the origin’s a bit murky, the story we originally heard was that Chanchito was a pig who, along with his friends, was being raised for slaughter. Chanchito lost one of his legs through some sort of accident along the way, making him undesirable when the farmer brought him to market. While the rest of the ill-fated, four-legged pigs were killed, Chanchito was spared and brought home by the farmer where he was welcome by the family. There, that three-legged pig grew old in his happy new life, becoming a symbol of luck in the process and showing us that even things that outwardly seem like bad omens or disadvantages or misfortunes can turn out to be great boons in the grand scheme of things.
We picked up this particular Chanchito a while back on our way through Richmond, Virginia at a store called Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is one of world’s largest fair trade organizations, working directly with artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East to create a fair wage system from which to sell handmade wares and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income.
Long live Chanchito the three-legged pig and all of our animal friends.
Below, Allister saying ‘sup to Chanchito.