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Giving Pictures: Ecuador Highlands

Written by Raenelle on Saturday, October 25, 2008
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We started chatting to a young indigenous man, Clever, on a park bench in the Otavalo plaza. Before we knew it, he had invited us to his small nearby town (San Roque) to stay overnight with him. We graciously accepted … what a great opportunity to learn more about the highland indigenous culture!

Clever and FamilyClever’s family is decendant from the Incas. His entire family are artisans, and they have a long history of manufacturing hand-woven textiles. At a very young age, Clever watched his mother and father and learned how to weave.

Today, Clever’s entire extended family, including Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers and Sisters are all weavers. It takes about 16 hours to weave a sweater with a simple pattern, which sells for about $10. A more elaborate pattern requires at least 24 hours of weaving.

Clever’s parents do not live in his small town most of the time anymore. They live in a border town near Colombia, where they sell the handicrafts produced by the family. As a result, Clever had lots of space in his house for us to stay. We were shown to our room … a simple space with no door and with two simple wicker beds with no mattresses, lit by a fluorescent light that was turned on and off by hooking together (by hand) a few exposed electical wires. The toilet was outside, and there was no shower. There was no running water within the house … but a concrete washtub with tap outside supplied water from the nearby open-water channel.
Giving Pictures
We all walked to the nearby market and bought some ingredients for dinner, which we made into a delicious chicken stew with rice. Yum. We are already impressed with the amount of vegetables available in this country … far more than we have seen on this trip so far!

We spent many hours talking to Clever, his cousin, and his brother, with his younger cousins always closeby. The following morning after giving Loca a bath, and going for a walk to a nearby sacred Inca burial site, we hit the road again …

Further Reading on South America 2008:
Comment by Daryl Ann Anderson
October 26, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

Re: “His entire family are artesians,…”
I believe you mean that they are “artisans.” Artesian is a type of well!
Enjoyed reading of your experiences. I went to Otavalo and Carabuela in 2005 and would love to return for another visit. Awesome people, awesome place!

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