Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Bye

Today is my last day and it was a busy day, we visited two different artisans worshops to take pictures of their products. Ian and Daniel will update the blog very soon about that. I had good surprises this week, I received an inca neckless from Mario and a bracelet from Martina to thank me for my hard work! It was so nice from them and it touched me a lot! So Tomorrow I am flying back to Lima where I will do hang-gliding... yeah!!! This Experience in Urubamba has been very rewarding for me, it gave me the opportunity to realize the gap between a developing country such as Peru and the westernized world and to understand better what are the day-to-day problems of local people in Urubamba. Thank you all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

El Presidente

Today Ian, Pats and I were invited at Mario's home to take some pictures of his products. Mario produces silver based jewelry and sells his products to retailers in Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Mario is also the president of the association and expressed his doubts about the capacity of the association to take decisions together. For him the main issue is that one part of the artisans are just resellers and not producers therefore their interests does not match with the objectives of the association. At the end of our photos session we enjoyed a delicious lunch with Mario and his wife.

Monday, October 26, 2009

El Profesor

Today Daniel, Ian and I went to Alejandro's home to take pictures of his products. His nickname is "El Profesor" because he is teaching as well in a school in Urubamba. Alejandro produces ceramics but uses an other technique as Orlando which is called "Churros" and he uses a manual potter's wheel.
Alejandro is the owner of a family business called CERAMICAS VALLE SAGRADO. He is responsible for making the products and his wife take care of the artistic painting. He collaborates with tourism agency in Cusco that organize some visit of his workshop for tourists. Tourists have the opportunity to learn and to practice ceramics and then share a lunch prepared by Alejandro's
wife. This concept seem promising and it would be a good idea to encourage other artisans to do so. In addition Alejandro sells his products to companies in Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lima. Obviously his business seems well developed in comparison with other artisans. He told us that his main difficulty is the transport of raw materials from Cusco to Urubamba which is expensive because he does not have his own car and that expect from Nexos more promotion on internet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visit at Orlando's home

We decided to meet each artisan (if possible) at their home in order first to take pictures of their work but also to discuss with them about the organization of the association and about their opinion, doubts and suggestions they might have. These kind of informal meetings are very productive we think as the artisans can confide things that they might not be willing to say in front of everybody (for example during the association's meetings). Yesterday me met Orlando at his home to show us his ceramic's work. Orlando told us also about his concern of the association's future. According to Orlando some artisans are not enough involved in the association because they have other interests. Some artisans are not concern because they does not use the Urubamba Market to sell their products but prefer to have "una tienda" (shop) in Cusco or Pisac. Orlando told us as well about his lack of capital in order to develop his business (for example to travel and visit other "ferias" in Peru and abroad or to buy a larger quantity of raw materials) and his attempt to collaborate with other artisans. We were touched by Orlando's "desperate" speach as he is one of the artisans who is strongly motivated to fight in order improve his business. We took into consideration his opinion and we believe that the best solution would be to start to work only with motivated artisans. We are currently thinking about writing down "Nexos rules" and to work only with people who agree with those rules.

Public Registry

Last Sunday we discussed with Mario about the possibility to register the Association with a Public Registry, the association would appear more legitimate and credible. Mario is currently working on that.

Patty's resignation

Last week happened an unexpected event... Patty the designer who was responsible for teaching the design workshop decided to resign... for personal reasons. Artisans seem to agree to work on some products and then change their opinion one week later. Basically Patty is just tired of the constant change of opinion of the artisans. According to Patty it is a problem of mentality of the artisans. Now the difficult task for the association and Nexos is to find a new designer. Last Sunday during the association meeting, the artisans were supposed to chose a new designer but failed to do so. As a consequence we will need to discuss this issue next Sunday only... In the meantime Nexos will discuss with the Municipality to see what's going on with the Convenio as the design workshop is now suspended.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tibisay Monsalve Restrepo as the Guest Star

Last Friday (Oct. 2) the artisans received a host from Lima. Tibisay Monsalve Restrepo is the representative of Peru Hotel Society ( which is an organization focused on helping developing the hotel activity in Peru. She was looking for products to sell in hotels in Lima in the future. She was just visiting and looking at the kind of products the artisans are working on. She did not make any promise but she let us know that her organization will hire artisans in the Sacred Valley and provide them the funds to educate them in order to improve the quality of the products. Then those products will be sent to some hotels in Lima. This might be a great opportunity in the future that's why all the artisans dressed up traditionally to welcome warmely this "VIP guest". After the visit Tibisay had lunch with the "Junta Directiva" ("board of directors" of the association), the artisans cooked for her a nice trucha a la plancha which is the typical local food. Even if nothing is sure The artisans will be in touch with her.

Concurso para la mejor tienda

Last week the artisans organized a contest to elect the best stores of the market. The idea was to motivate the artisans to clean up and put into order their stores. Each winner earned a basket of local foods.
Nexos Voluntarios was appointed jury of this contest. So Daniel, Ian and I were responsible to elect the three best stores which was not an easy task. After long discussions and debates we finally chose the three best one (Lucia, Americo, and an third one I do not remember...)
Every artisans took this contest very seriously and we have to confess that it was the first time we were proud of this market, it is too bad that it does not happen every market day...

Hotel Libertador

On Monday October 28, about 12 artisans of our association were competing to get a place inside the hotel Libertador for selling their products. The competition was tough as competitors came from the whole sacred valley (Pisac, Cusco, Chinchero, Ollataytambo) but our association did well. Everybody dressed up with traditional clothes which made a very good impression to the hotel's representatives and each artisan presented his/her products one by one. We are now waiting for the hotel's decision but it is important to underline that even if the artisans ran as an association for this contest, only the "artisans producers" will get the right to sell their products inside the hotel. That's why this week Daniel, Ian and I are going to visit each artisans home in order to determine which one of them are real producers and which one are just re-sellers.