This is personal…
If you’ve been following me around the Web for the last three years, you know I’m passionate about Peru. I made two trips in the space of three months, both of which changed my life in many profound ways. You can read about my trek to Machu Picchu and the Peruvian Amazon, but what I want to share with you now is the experience I had on my second visit, to Amaru, what’s become my passion project.
High in the Peruvian Andes, about two hours north of the sprawling city of Cusco, Peru, is Amaru Village, the tiny mountain home of a cooperative of Quechua (pre-Inca culture) women who work together weaving and providing an authentic ‘homestay’ experience for travelers who want to stray off the beaten path.
The ladies of Amaru are budding entrepreneurs, learning how to create and run a hospitality business, as well as sell the gorgeous woven items they create. After spending two days in the village at the home of Rufina Cruz Ccana, president of the women’s’ cooperative, I longed to bring back a little bit of this enchantment and beauty to my friends and colleagues.
During my stay in Amaru, the ladies patiently showed me how to find and gather the special plants they use to create natural dyes for the wool they card, spin and dye, before hand weaving it into gorgeous belts, clothes, and bags. I was simply entranced as I watched them dye and spin the wool, then create and weave their intricately beautiful patterns that unfolded like multicolored magic before my eyes.
In 2013, working with my Peruvian guide, Silver Ballón Valenzuela, and my dear colleague Ellen Britt, we commissioned the ladies of Amaru to create a special woven pouch just for you. This 6” x 10” pouch is made of hand-woven wool dyed using plants native to Amaru.
It’s my dream to help this cooperative of Peruvian women realize their dream of building viable businesses which can help to support themselves and their families while allowing them to preserve their way of life and culture. In 2013, we commissioned 68 pouches. It was the biggest project the ladies had done as of that date.
Peru Passion Project Update 2016
I’m doing it again! I’m going back to Peru. I’ve been in touch with the women in Amaru and they are eager to do another weaving project. This time, I’ll be picking up the pouches in person and bringing them back to California to deliver directly to you. You can help me help my friends by ordering one or more of these special pouches. You can get all the details here.
The offer is only available through Friday, June 10. Then I’ll place the order with the ladies. My goal is to give them an order of at least 100 pouches!
Thank YOU, for supporting these wonderful women weavers as they expand their entrepreneurial skills to provide for themselves and their families! Just go to this URL to get your hand woven pouch and beaded wrap bracelet.
This post was originally published on September 13, 2013, and updated on May 22, 2016.