Last month, the weavers of the Centro de Artesania, Huancarani (CAH), the members of the Club de Artesanas (CdA), and Dorinda reviewed 2022 and discussed 2023. All skill-building workshops were possible thanks to those who supported PAZA this year. Any skill learned or strengthened is an irrevocable gift.
PAZA expenses average around $4,500 a year. The biggest expense is the beloved Spinning Week due to the prizes awarded to the 30 spinners in recognition of their spinning ability. This was the first year that the spinners knew that they would win a prize based on individual not team effort. Since, 2020, the 1st place prize has been a pollera (skirt). The increase in yarn spun this year indicated how coveted a pollera is as a prize. The 2nd place prizes have been a tank top, vest, and this year a sweater knit on a knitting machine. All prizes are made by members of the Club de Artesanas so that they earn income from skills they have learned or honed through Club activities.
Vilma has a monopoly on sewing the polleras, while Deisy and Arminda have made the knitting machine knit prizes the past 2 years. Next year Vilma will teach a 3-day class to Deisy and Arminda on use of the industrial sewing machine and practice in sewing the stretchy lycra pollera material. The final project will be a chica sized pollera. Arminda has 3 daughters, but only Maria Lis choses to don the traditional pollera, blusa, cardigan, and high heeled sandals the days she doesn’t wear the school’s sweat suit uniform. Vilma and Deisy’s daughters only wear polleras for traditional dance programs.
Doña Beatris and Doña Eulalia travel between their rural farms and town and spend less days at the Club workshop. Vilma will give both classes on the portable sewing machine. Doña Eulalia has learned to crochet and knit sweaters with knitting needles this year. Next year she´ll advance in complexity with patterns on the knitting machine. The Club projects allow members to make clothing for themselves and other family members.
The Club chicas enjoy crocheting, and they´re fast. PAZA supplies them yarn and they find patterns on their phones which they acquired for their studies during Covid. During Dorinda´s visits they attend baking classes to provide the Club snack. Jhoselin and Lineth, the 2 oldest chicas graduated to weaving on the rustic loom this year. A sample will be kept for them to refer to as they progress, the rest they´ll cut with help from their moms to make coin bags which will be for sale next year. Sarahi is anxious to graduate to the loom, which should happen during the school vacation early next year.
PAZA activities with the weavers of Huancarani connect them to a bigger world and provide them opportunities to leave the isolation of their farmsteads to gather. An ongoing problem has been workshop/meeting space. The entire adobe brick back wall of the abandoned classroom where their sewing and knitting equipment was stored and where PAZA held workshops in 2021 collapsed and disintegrated back into the earth earlier this year. They’ve been told by the Organización de Varones (Men) that the abandoned schoolroom where the unharmed equipment was moved is temporary. The room has no electricity, and no light enters through the broken windows covered with cardboard. As the Organización de Mujeres (Women) they’ve owned land where they built a clubhouse and operated a grain mill for decades. They haven´t set foot on it in years due to threats from the previous owner who lives next door and wants the land back. Infrastructure is outside of PAZA´s scope. PAZA does offer opportunities for the women to gather so they are able to discuss options. There is a solution, they just need encouragement to know they´re capable of finding it and taking action.
All 2023 PAZA activities including Spinning Week are dependent on donations. ´Tis the season for giving, please consider clicking on the donation button above to help women and chicas to help themselves. Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, November 2, 2022, email@example.com