Thursday, 13 September 2012

Andahuaylillas, Peru

I have been in Peru for three weeks and I am very, very happy here!

I am living at the Qéwar project, a Waldorf project in a little village in the Andes. The project is run by Julio and Lucy, a couple who were living in Lima and ten years ago made a decision to move to Andahuaylillas and help the people here. Since then they have worked extremely hard and dedicated their lives to this very inspiring project. For ten years the Qéwar project has been making Waldorf dolls. There are now 46 women and a few men employed fulltime and over 20 women from surrounding farms who work on Saturdays. They are all very grateful to have humane employment. There is a lovely kindergarten for the village children and afternoon care for the children of the employees. A ceramics section is also in development.

It is very, very peaceful living here and everyone is sooo kind, friendly and welcoming. Andahuaylillas is very tiny and traditional. There are about 2,500 people living in the village and many farm animals. While walking I often pass cows, herds of sheep and women in traditional dress.  There are a few cobblestone streets in the centre of the village, but mostly the roads consist of dust and rocks. Most of the houses are made from mud bricks. I have heard that it is common for houses to have televisions and music players but no toilet or separate sleeping area for people and animals. Surrounding the village is farmland. Mostly families own their own plot of corn, wheat or potato, and eat it themselves or trade with neighbours.

I pass the mornings in the kindergarten, which is very nice and simple. The children are really adorable and always have big happy smiles!! They all have a great openness to the world, ready to receive and do everything the day has to offer. Today with the children, we planted potatoes, maize, quinoa and wheat in a small plot above the kindergarten.  A few times a week we walk with the children to the farmland. There we watch people working, at the moment they are ploughing the fields to prepare for a new crop. The children love seeing many animals and people working. I am very impressed by how far and competently the children walk, better than many adults in Sydney!!

Then in the afternoons I sometimes return for the afternoon care but I usually sit with the women and knit doll´s clothes. Well, I learn to knit doll´s clothes, I am very far from knitting any clothes of selling quality! I am being taught by a most amazing women, possibly the best knitter in the whole world. She has six grown children, studied knitting fulltime for three years and has been knitting professionally ever since. And she told me she still feels like a little girl when she sees all the beautiful knitted doll´s clothes.

Now I look forward to a visit from my mum, next week!

Just five minutes walk from the kindergarten

Helping the farmers


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