All at once, I realized the importance of the work that Threads of Peru spends so much time and energy doing.
Only 3 days after landing in Cusco, nestled between the rolling foothills of the Andes, I was on a bus heading up a twisted dirt road to a small community in the Sacred Valley called Rumira Sondormayo. A group of Whole Foods employees from the United States was on an immersion service trip with Apus Peru, and they were there to spend a few days staying with host families in the village and building a new house for future programs. Dana and I spent a morning with the group, doing an overview of Threads of Peru and watching the women do a weaving and dyeing demonstration and selling some of their textile products.
As soon as I saw Virginia sit down on the ground and slip on her backstrap loom, deftly handling the threads like it was second nature, I realized how important it is to help these women keep the weaving tradition alive. So much can be expressed and interpreted through the intricate and beautiful textile designs that the artisans create. They pull subject material from history, experiences in their lives, and the natural beauty that surrounds them. The centuries-old tradition shows us so much about the culture and history of the Andean people, especially because little has changed in the process since its beginnings.
I was absolutely stunned by the experience of seeing the women weaving the complicated and colorful textiles. Not once did they consult a drawing or an example; they were creating intricate patterns and designs of plants and animals simply from memory. They were so talented, and suddenly I felt overwhelmingly proud to be a part of an organization that helps bring their weavings to the rest of the world.
Written by Megan Malley