Spring Equinox is
planting season for the Highland people of Andahuaylillas. Corn, quinua
and habas, grains and cereals typical to this region SE of Cuzco, are
planted in anticipation of the summer rainy season that usually starts
late December. Potatoes, another staple for the Andean people, will be
planted in November.
Some 40 women are now involved in the
work of the Q’ewar Project. These women, in the main, are single
mothers. Some are separated from their husbands, others live in an
environment of extreme tension, violence and alcoholism. Extreme
poverty is the common denominator – the life characteristic that the
Q’ewar women all share.
Over the last few months, the Q’ewar
Project has become a place where a social and economic initiative is
taking root. Relationships are forming – in the presence of the warmth
and security of the workshop and the ever-present guidance and love of
Lucy and Julio. These wonderful women are blossoming from within. They
feel the steadying influence of dignified work and receive just wages
for their endeavors. This is an enormous step in the process of raising
their living standard and improving their quality of life.
The doll making is progressing well, and we are grateful to the many
kind benefactors who have already purchased the beautiful Q’ewar dolls.
(In the next update, we hope to give you information on how you can
order a Q’ewar doll. We are still ironing out the complexities of
exporting the dolls.) Eight women are now working Monday through Friday
in the workshop on the doll making. Many Q’ewar women are knitting and
sewing doll clothes from their homes, and this is a great boon for them
– a way to earn honest wages yet still remain with their children. The
processing of alpaca fiber and wool yarn continues in the homes and
fields of the Q’ewar women.
Saturday is “Una Reunion": The
day for knitting classes in the workshop with Senora Isabel (from
Cuzco); for getting together to talk about the Q’ewar Project’s
developments; enjoying each other’s company while sharing a communal
Making sweaters by hand is also continuing, but at
present, only a few women are able to knit with the precision and
quality control demanded by a world market.
development – Baking! Senora Victoria, (from Cuzco) now comes on the
last Sunday of each month to teach the ladies how to bake. This skill
will be helpful for those women who would like to earn money – making
cakes, breads and other sweet delights!
In talking to Julio
and Lucy about the general changes in the women who have been coming to
Q’ewar, we are all in agreement that the women are gradually becoming
more open, more motivated and more confident since the Project first
started. Q’ewar is a social initiative: Its main purpose is to create a
safe environment where the women can find themselves, their unique
capabilities and gifts, and learn skills that will help them and their
families to rise out of extreme poverty.
The keyword in all
this is PROCESS. The Q’ewar Project is creating a movement toward
social change in Peru. Initially it is assisting the women who have had
the courage to seek help, then in turn, they will use their ability to
influence the wider community in seeking a higher standard of living
that gives dignity and purpose to each one’s life. The founders and
friends of Q’ewar are all in accord with these objectives. Social
change is a process, one in which the change of the individual is