I was very anxious to start the day. The agenda was full with wonderful experiences to learn. At 10:30am we arrived at the Sumaka Ahuana women’s groups where we had a very warm welcome by the women who live there. And even though they were shy and the lacked communication skills, they were very friendly. At some point in the morning while the introduction was still going on, I raised my eyes and saw the Chimborazo Volcano. The day was so bright that I could see to the top of it.… I sensed it was going to be a great day.
I have worked with organizations of women in rural areas in the past in my homeland of Peru, but this community is different. They are very organized and dedicated and their products are of good quality. Normally a woman in this community can earn 50 U.S. dollars a month. Our role model, Maria Angelina, who we met yesterday, helped us get to know the community and the women that live in it. We were able to talk to them, hear their stories, learn about the barriers to their success and understand their hopes and aspirations. All the women we met today want to put their daughters into school. They work hard on their land in order to have enough money for their children’s education. They want their sons and daughters to be better off than they are.
As part of our journey and in order to understand their work in the field and the barriers they face to raise a family, we decided to live their life for a day. Our first goal was to learn their routine and replicate it, by shearing a sheep. Then we learned how to weave, cut grass using a hand tool, feed the animals and more. It was impressive for me to cut the wool of a sheep for the first time ever. I have never seen the weaving process from the very beginning.
After the wool is clean and boiled with detergent, the softening process starts by pulling the wool strings one by one to get the dirt out. The wool is then put into the huango for further weaving.
Mission accomplished for the day, and though it was difficult, the women’s dedication, hard work and perseverance are great examples for us.
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