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The weather is getting less rainy, more sunny and colder in the Sacred Valley. I worry less about being rained upon during my community hikes. Although, in five months here and over 20 community visits, I have been extremely lucky with the rain. I attribute this luck to positive-hopeful thought, as well as offering coca leaves to the Apus. The Apus are literally sacred mountains that many people make offerings of coca leaves to, I always ask for a safe and rain free trip, and it has worked thus far!

Elena helps Vicentina as she tries out the child's pose for the first time in her life! -Rosa Prieto

Two weekends ago a yoga teacher from The Healing House hiked with me to the community of Cancha Cancha. After our monthly Q'ente meeting and a delicious soup, Elena gave the weavers a 45 min class on how to prevent and treat back pain. The weavers suffer from back pain because of the long hours they spend weaving every day. The class was full of giggles. Even I broke into giggles when a woman tried to touch her toes and lost her balance; her traditional skirt gave a big sigh to one side as she gathered her balance and tried again. After the class the weavers clapped and sincerely thanked Elena. I reminded them that at this year's Encuentro we will be holding another yoga class, so this was just an introduction. The Encuentro is an annual Q'ente event where representatives from each weaving association gather to share ideas and learn from one another. At our upcoming Encuentro we will have workshops on weaving to measurement and yoga for weavers. Furthermore, each community with present their best textiles for the other communities to admire and ask questions about.

On our last Mapacho River Valley trip, Carolina and I decided to record the journey in order to make a short video. Our goal with this video is to tell the story of where, and from whom, we buy Q’ente textiles. With limited resources and time we hope to compile a short 5-10 minute video of the trip that Q'ente volunteers make to the Mapacho River Valley. Recording in the Mapacho River Valley was visually stunning, and we caught some beautiful moments, but it affirmed that the best moments will never be recorded, the most heartfelt laughter and intriguing conversations will still remain in the misty Andes. I will be sure to share the final video in my last blog next month.

In other Q’ente news, last week we put on a textile presentation and sale for the Brentwood student group. For 2 weeks, Mosqoy hosted a group of 24 11th and 12th grade Canadian students from the Brentwood high school in Victoria. They came to Peru to do a service learning project with Mosqoy, which included moving from the old Casa Mosqoy to the new Casa Mosqoy in Cusco. Check out Ashli's next blog to read more about this exciting project! During their visit, Q'ente organized a weaving presentation and sale in order to teach the students about the weaving tradition, as well as introduce the students to a few Quechua weavers that Q'ente works with.

Weavers and Brentwood students during the flower ceremony! -Carolina Aldana

When they arrived at the presentation site at Huaran, the weavers welcomed the Canadian students with a flower ceremony.The flower represents the desire that the person's life upon which the petals land be blossoming and beautiful, like a flower. Afterwards, we had short presentations of 5 different aspects of the weaving process - from spinning to dyeing and weaving itself - and ended the evening with a Q’ente textile sale with textiles from each of Q'ente's six partner communities. It was quite successful, and a pleasure to plan!

One of the Brentwood students, Lindsay, trying her hand at weaving! -Rosa Prieto

Q'ente textiles for sale in Huaran after the weaving presentation! -Carolina Aldana

To end this post, I must mention that I have only one month left of my internship with Q'ente! Although I will be sad to leave, I will carry the experiences I have gained here in Peru forever in my heart.

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