Huacatinco was the latest community to partner with the CTTC when it joined the non-profit in 2011. The Ocongate region to the south of Cusco where Huacatinco is located is rich in natural beauty but is one of the most impoverished regions of Peru. Some areas have been abandoned by the government and locals are forced to be self-sufficient, relying on their chakras (fields) and flocks of alpaca, llama and sheep for survival.
What Huacatinco lacks in modern definitions of prosperity, it makes up in culture, tradition and natural beauty. The mountain god, or apu, Ausungate presides over the community and at night the Milky Way stands out as a crystal clear path of white across the sky. Many people only speak Quechua, the local indigenous language, and still wear their traditional clothing on a daily basis.
Before partnering with the CTTC, Huacatinco weavers said that they would travel the three hours to the city of Cusco to try and sell their textiles. It was difficult to find stores or people interested in buying their wares, and next to impossible to find anyone willing to pay a fair price for their hard work. When Huacatinco weavers did find someone to buy their textiles, they often would take the goods but not pay until months later, if they even paid the weavers at all. Today approximately 25 adult weavers and 20 children are members of the Huacatinco weaving association. As they finish construction on their weaving center they are also working with enthusiasm to research and revive their community’s textiles traditions.
About Huacatinco Textiles
As the latest community to partner with the CTTC, Huacatinco is working to recover their designs, techniques and unique weaving style. Both women and men knit elaborately patterned hats called chullo and weave fine scarves in local designs. Men’s traditional clothing is particularly elaborate. Their vests and knitted chullo are covered with small white beads that are sewn on as decoration. Some chullo are so heavily embroidered with these beads that they stand up straight from a wear’s head and end in huge pom-poms of brightly colored yarn.