Country Spotlight: Peru

Country Spotlight: Peru

   

From deep within the Amazon Rainforest to the top of the Andes Mountains, over 5,000 Peruvian artisans work to create some of the amazing products that we have here at Global Gifts.

With a corrupt and unreliable government, a lot of people struggle to find safe work. Since most of the population lives in rural areas, in order to find any work at all, men and young boys will regularly travel great distances to work in illegal and incredibly dangerous mining shafts. Often times, they will either die or get severely injured. This leaves a great number of widowed women to stay at home and care for their families alone.

The meaning of ‘Peru’ is “land of abundance” and it could not have a better name. Not only is Peru abundant in land, but also in culture.

Dating all the way back to Incan times, music has played a big role in Peruvian culture. With Andean, Spanish, and African roots, there is a broad range of instruments and sounds. Some of the most commonly played instruments are the pan flute, pinkullo, and maracas. To the right, a young Peruvian girl is playing a bamboo pinkullo, which is very similar to a flute. The flutes, which originated in the Andes, will sometimes have decorative carvings and can be painted. A group of Andean artisans create these flutes and several other instruments.

                

Llamas, alpacas, and vicunas are some of the most cherished animals in Peru. Since they were used as pack animals in early Inca times, many people give them credit for the country’s thriving culture. Without them, travelers would not have been able to carry as much with them, and therefore would not have been as successful in their travels. Some families still use them as pack animals, but they are also treated as family pets.

       

These animals are loved so much, that a group of Andean women decided to make miniature versions of them using the soft wool from the underbellies of actual vicunas.

Way up in the Andes Mountains, large groups of exceptional women knit year round to provide an income for their families. Without the pressure of deadlines, they have flexible working schedules so they are able to put their families first. Raising their children and being able to support themselves is of utmost importance to these artisans. Most of the winter woolens at Global Gifts are created by these women.

    

In one of the most impoverished places in Peru, along the Huallaga River in the Amazon Jungle, lives the Shipibo Indigenous Community. These artisans are coffee farmers for most of the year. During the off season, they use butterflies to pollinate their crops, then they collect the dead butterflies from the jungle floor and turn their wings into beautiful jewelry. This provides the artisans with enough income to make it through their off season.

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