Monday, February 15, 2010

Otavalo Craft Market, Ecuador


....... A tiny Indian woman shuffled at a snail’s pace along the pavement to the next door with a big milk can on her bent back. The householder offered a kitchen saucepan to receive the day’s milk supply. A few coins change hands.

I watched from across the cobblestone street while having breakfast at a restaurant in downtown Otavalo. Here old people work to survive. Women are beasts of burden, often carrying heavy loads on their backs or balanced on their heads. The division of labor among the Indian community puzzled me.

The women are artistic and creative. They spin and weave at home during the week, look after the children and may run a market stall at weekends. The man’s role is not immediately obvious, but it seems he tills the land, harvests the crops and takes them to market, and does laboring jobs and house construction.

Otavalo is an Indian town of 25,000 inhabitants. It lies on the Andean altiplano at 2800 meters altitude and 95 kms north of the capital, Quito. Its Poncho Plaza is said to be the largest and best handicraft market in South America.
Continue .... here
Foto: Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador

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