On Sunday, we visited the Women’s Weaving Cooperative Vida Nueva in Teotitlan del Valle, which is about 30 minutes away from Oaxaca. It was really interesting to see how different communities are, despite being relatively close by. Almost all women and men there are weavers, and the detailed rugs, scarfs, wallets, bags, and other items are incredible! I even got to do a bit of weaving and it was not an easy task. A rug takes approximately a week or two to make, dedicating about 5 hours a day.
Not only did we get to contribute to the work that they do, but we got to hear the story of how the NGO formed. They first worked independently until they became recognized and accepted as part of the community after many bumps along the way. They became part of a very effective, independent, and well-organized community governed by the people. With the help from other NGOs, they became more educated about women’s topics like sexuality, abuse, alcoholism, etc. They also learned more about weaving, about marketing, business, and many skills that allowed them to become the NGO they are now, supporting women and children through very beautiful projects.
We also saw the process of making the colors for the rugs. Their main ingredient is Cochinilla, which is a pest that grows in cactus. Once they crush it, they release an intense red substance, which is mixed with other things such as lemon, indigo, ash, and many others. The different chemical reactions then produce different colors for the rugs.
The people, the food, the place, and the rugs were amazing! I’m thankful for being able to listen to the story of these special women of Nueva Vida and for contributing to their work 🙂