The Club de Artesanas leaped into action in June and there is a lot to report.
Wonderful news! Noemi Chavez Vargas graduated on Friday, June 27th with a nursing technician certification. She was able to complete a 3 year program thanks to financial assistance via this blog. Last December, graduation was suspended due to a change in a law regarding the certification of vocational institute programs. Following a frustrating 7 month wait she proudly walked on the arm of her father to take her place with her graduating class of twenty young women. The graduation ceremony was held at the Institute for Rural Education (IER) and all the families contributed to the potluck that followed the ceremony. Noemi sends a big hug and thanks to all of you who helped her achieve her dream. She graduated top of her class.
I wrote a blog posting in April asking for assistance for medical care for 5 year old Joel Cachi Chambi who was recuperating from surgery for the removal of brain tumors. Thanks to my parents, Joyce and George Dutcher; my dear friend from Olathe High, Sherry Yeakel; and a member of my Peace Corps group (B-43, ´06-’08) a total of $400 was presented to Joel’s father. Joel’s mother continues to act as his physical therapist daily and Joel’s visits to Cochabamba have gone from once a month to once every two months. The improvement of his feet coordination is not progressing as it should so the family is trying to raise $1,150 for a
battery of tests to pinpoint the problem. I told his father I would put out another request for financial assistance in the hopes that Joel will be able to enter kindergarten in February.
The Club de Artesanas leaped into action upon my return to Independencia following 2 months in the U.S. thanks to the technical assistance of friend Marian Leishman. Her 2 weeks flew by and she left the women with many works in progress. When the women or teenagers in the Club receive supplies to start a new project they must declare what they will learn. Thanks to Pam Perkins and Victoria Johansson who rushed a variety of crochet samples to me before I left the U.S., the Club members have resources they can work from for new textures.
More big news…. The Huancarani weavers will be entering the Spinzilla, spinning contest this year! Irene Schmoller founder of Cotton Clouds, told me about Spinzilla at the 2013 WARP Conference. It was the inaugural year and over 600 spinners competed on 27 teams in the U.S. At this year´s WARP Conference Irene told me Spinzilla 2014 would be open to international teams. Thanks to WARP member Marilyn Murphy our National Needlearts Association sponsoring organization will be Cloth Roads, a Global Textile Marketplace, http://www.clothroads.com who has supported us in past years by purchasing weavings.
It’s taken numerous conversations, but there was definitely enthusiasm last Sunday as a group of Huancarani weavers discussed how to organize potential participants for their team. Doña Máxima will be the team captain, and I´m hoping she´ll prepare the alpaca fleece we purchased in January to spin. National Spinning and Weaving Week, October 6-12, will be the week the teams of spinners compete to see who can spin the most yarn. We will need help to finance the expenses which are $10 per team participant ($250), and $130 for 2 trips between Independencia and Huancarani ($380). An advance THANK YOU for helping the weavers compete in this international spinning competition. Cloth Roads has handled the registration of the Independencia spinners and the registration fee. Thank you!
One last note of gratitude is to my parents. Joyce Dutcher has been our strongest supporter since I began working with the weavers in 2007. This year she added to the fund she began in 2008 which has become our revolving fund for being able to place orders with the weavers and offer them immediate payment. The fund has also been used for the development of new products, and for a few emergencies. Thank you, Joyce. My father, George Dutcher, made a donation with the stipulation that it will be spent on starting the soap making project. He sent me soap making books some years ago when I´d lamented about the inability of the locals to purchase bath soap because it is imported and expensive. He´s right in his assertion that it will go a long way in ills brought about by poor hygiene. Thank you, George. Dorinda Dutcher, June 29, 2015