Toronto, ON - M5E 1J8
WEAVING THE PAST WITH THE PRESENT IN THE MOUNTAINS OF PERU
Spinning yarn and weaving cloth have always been an intrinsic part of the Inca society and to this day Peruvian weaving is unsurpassed anywhere. The finest women weavers were brought to Cusco to weave for the royal court of the Inca Queen named Coya. These women then settled in weaving communities in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, where they worked with wool from llamas, alpaca and vicuna to weave the finest textiles in the world, and where they remain to this day.
In the province of Calca in Peru, there is a community named Accha Alta, home to one hundred and eighty families, and within that community is a smaller community as a sector of Totora,
A place thirty-five families call home. Twenty of these families belong to the Asociación de Artesanas Textiles Pallay Awaq, the weaving association of Totora. The association is mostly composed of women, whose first language is Quechua, proud descendants of the Inca Empire and its weaving tradition. At an altitude of over 12,930 feet above sea level, and forty minutes away from the nearest town, this community relies on weaving and agriculture to make a living and continue in their traditions. It is perhaps one of the most remote communities TFO Canada has ever sought to empower, a challenge that has made their success much more gratifying.
Sabina Mamani Huallpa is one of sixteen women working in the twenty-person association. We met her for the first time in 2014 through our Peruvian implementing partner MINCETUR (the ministry of foreign trade and tourism of Peru) and Brand (Trade). As one of the weavers, she was paired with Canadian designers who with the input from weavers, sought to modernize their designs while respecting their traditional iconography. The pairing resulted in an adaptation of their original designs into designs that would appeal to North American consumers.
The processes of incorporating the new designs to their traditional weaving also included productivity-enhancing tools like learning how to use the metric system, to standardize the measurements of each piece, to increase consistency and improve their quality control. This new standardization also saw the weavers go from the weaving finishing style ‘aguapa’, which was more complex, and more labour intensive, to the faster crochet finished, simpler yet strong enough that it could be used in large pieces too. Sabina told us that while it was hard at first to get used to using the metric measuring system and the new finishing styles, she could see what a difference it made in her work, how it made it easier and more efficient, while reducing waste and thus their costs, she could clearly see the benefits of learning this new system
PERUVIAN COFFEE FINDS SUCCESS IN OTTAWA
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Peruvian coffee was boosted in Ottawa during the event Origin Spotlight Celebration: Peru – held June 15 as part of the work carried out by Incan diplomatic missions to promote flagship products abroad. The event was organized by the Peruvian Embassy in Ottawa and Bridgehead Coffee – one of the leading chains of organic coffee houses.
The Embassy underscored Peru’s coffee characteristics, mainly those of the organic, pesticide-free and fair-trade labelled product imported by Bridgehead, which meets Canada’s standards.
Attendees enjoyed three different types of beans. In fact, coffee tasting skills were assessed during the Great Peruvian Coffee Taster’s Challenge, with prizes donated by Bridgehead. Likewise, the diplomatic mission held a Peruvian dessert tasting and a live musical performance.
The event featured Montreal and Ottawa businesspeople, as well as officials from public institutions, Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Trade Facilitation Office and Fair Trade Canada. Also attending were Bridgehead CEO, as well as the trade promotion and traditional customer team. Cuso—an NGO helping Peruvian communities promote their products—was also present at the event.
ROSA GÁLVEZ, THE PERUVIAN SENATOR IN CANADA WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
The senator said that she came to Canada 37 years ago, but she visits Peru every year. In 2016, she was appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, as senator for Quebec.