18 September 2011

Woo Hoo……  Finally, after 8 months, we now have closets!  One “glitch” in our move here was that our cabinet maker in Oregon didn’t make closets for the bungalows or for the master bedroom.  We contracted with a carpenter in Chiclayo 8 months ago to make and install the closets.  This is the same carpenter that did our stairs and our wooden doors to the house.  His work is well done and beautiful….it just took a very long time to accomplish.

              So, we now have closets in each of the bungalows and in the master bath!  We can now finally unpack all of our boxes from our move.

Doug has also asked Lazaro, the carpenter, to make some thresholds for the doors.  As it is now, a lot of dust blows under the doors into the bungalows and rooms.  Dust is a major issue for us….the road out in front is a dirt road and as various trucks and cars go by, they create a lot of dust.  The wind also picks up a lot of dust and it accumulates on our terraces, but also enters the house under the doors and the even under the windows.  We also have a design of ventilation where there are screens under the eaves and a cupola on top of each building with screens.  Screens allow ventilation, but don’t slow down the dust very well.  Everytime we have a windy night, I cringe and think about Juana having to clean up the dust that covers everything in the house!

Our friend Lili, who owns a pharmacy in El Alto, came to visit us today with a friend and his mother.  It was a very pleasant afternoon.  Eduardo’s mother is also a knitter and weaver….she knits sweaters for sale in the US and Europe.  She says she can make a wool sweater in four days.  She says the alpaca sweaters take a while longer because the fiber is finer.  Luz and I had a lot to share and I enjoyed our time together.  I am hoping that I will be able to visit her home town in the future and see what she makes.  Her village, seven hours outside of Lima, is known for it’s artisans; weavers, ceramic artists and  knitters.  What I would like to see is how these women and men can produce products made by hand and sell them internationally.

When I first visited Perú, we would stop at various roadside markets where the vendors were quick to tell you that everything was made by hand.  However, the next roadside market would display the same exact designs as the last and you realized they were not made by hand but had been mass produced by machine.

It has become one of my pet peeves that vendors sell sweaters, scarves, etc. and tell you it was hand made when in reality it is mass produced by machine.  It undercuts those women and men who actually make products by hand.   And then enters in the question of price….so many tourists want to buy “cheap” and not pay the price for actual artisan work.   The more I know about the weaving and knitting in Perú, the more I know about how much effort goes into each and every product.  The issue is….how does a true artisan sell her/his product for what it is worth?  Travelers see products along the highway for prices so inexpensive, they don’t want to pay the higher price for  quality hand-made products.  I know this from personal experience.  I balked at paying fair market prices for tapestries and woven products; but I now know every penny I spent for the genuine article was well spent.

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