Awamaki is an organisation which connects Andean women in with international markets.
It operates out of Ollantaytambo an amazing Inca village in the heart of the Sacred Valley in Peru.
We had been told by someone else about this women’s weaving collective, and were keen to do it – we had a spare day in Ollantaytambo and this was how we wanted to spend it.
Read more about our stay in Ollantaytambo and we loved it and recommend staying there.
Patakancha Valley and Festival of Compadres – Reciprocity
The community we visited was about an hour’s drive up the Patakancha valley behind Ollaytantambo. We loved this valley – following the river that flows through the town, high up into the Andes.
Our driver had the keys to a simple 400 year old church with a bell tower set amongst inca ruins.
This is sually opened once a year to celebrate the Festival of Compadres, when the community gather to celebrate reciprocity – isn’t that a cool idea. At the back of the church some old skulls kept watch over the church.
Several years ago the government set up villages to gather people together from their isolated grazing areas, to provide electricity, education and connect to the outside world.
However it also means that each day they need to walk 2-3 hours higher into the mountains to tend their farms and animals.
Women’s Weaving Collective
Above the village, there was two simple shelters, and a flush toilet (for tourists!) The women gathered together to weave with their pre school children who happily played around us.
We were taught about the old methods of dying which they were recovering, and watched them weave under the Andean sun. Each of us were coached and helped to weave a bracelet for ourselves before the women laid out some of their wares for us to buy.
We shared a delicious simple lunch in one of the women’s mudbrick home, watched by guinea pigs rustling around under the bed.
What was special about this trip?
Being invited in to share the lives of real people.
So it was good to have as our guide – enthusiastic english speaking volunteer Caroline.
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