chawaytiri on the road
The Peruvian district of P'isaq, located 33 kilometres north east of Cusco, in the high Andean mountains of Peru - is the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The twelve Communities of Indigenous farmers of P'isaq who dwell there have a unique way of life passed down from their ancestors. Today one can experience their fascinating and colourful customs like the Ayni, mink'a, rotating traditional agriculture, unique crafts and weavings, traditional celebrations - paying reverence and respect to the Apus and Mother Earth - cult to the water, traditional Gastronomy, art, music and dances.
One such community, located along a trail 17 kilometres from P'isaq, is Chawaytire. Their community have cave paintings dating back 5000 years before Christ as investigated and verified by doctors Jorge Flores Ochoa and Luis Barreda Murillo. According to both scholars, these vestiges are the earliest settling of P'isaqa, the oldest district, and gave rise to the present town of P'isaq. For that reason the area has become extremely attractive for cultural tourism.
Chawaytire is dedicated to the raising of Andean camelids particularly the Llama and Alpaca and the people of the area trade their wool for the preparation of the traditional and beautiful woven fabric.
Since the 1990s the Ayllu community of Chawaytiri has undertaken its own unique project that focuses on the recovery of the wealth of its cultural and natural patrimony. They have been rediscovering the very roots of their culture whilst strengthening and building their own identity. The project stemmed from the desire of the elders and leaders in the community to teach men, women and children about their ancestral wisdom and knowledge whilst encouraging the practice, usage and customs of their ancestors through a wide range of activities.
the culture of the llama
The Llama is very important for Chawaytiri - they consider them as brothers or sisters. The Llama helps in everything and to the Chawaytiriños: they help in the work of the ranch, they load the products they spin their wool which they use to knit clothes; they provide their meat, (in their parties they sacrifice and eat their meat); and they make sandals of their leather.
In the making of the textiles the Chawaytiri have recovered diverse ancestral forms, techniques and designs that were almost lost in the process of the elaboration of the weavings. The process of shearing the wool of the llama and alpaca through spinning, dyeing - using natural plants and herbs and the iconography of their woven fabrics is a deep expression of their ancestral ways and the practice itself creates a heightened awareness of their great value. Weaving products created are diverse and include scarves, blankets, cravats, gangways, ponchos bags, braids & bracelets for children.
Chawaytiri has recovered the rotating traditional agriculture, using natural poultry manure fertilizer in the farming of potatoes, beans, barley, tarwi, quinua to name but a few and they proudly work and feed their families with their totally organic produce. Nowadays, Chawaytiri produces more than 500 varieties of native potatoes like suyt'u, ch'ilkas, qhachun waqachi, puma makin, churuspi, amakhayi; potatoes of quality which are affectionately described as rich and gritty.
CHAWAYTIRI IS A COMMUNITY OF THE LLAMA, CANYON OF THE RED ANCESTRAL LLAMAS, CHAWAYTIRI IS THE “EYE OF THE LLAMA”, THAT IS OUR SYMBOL, OUR STAMP ON THE WEAVING; THAT IDENTIFIES US AS CHAWAYTIRIÑOS. CHAWAYTIRI IS THE LLAMA - - WE ARE LLAMA