Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday, Feb 15th, Hacienda Chorlavi, Ecuador


Today, our tour took us to the Otavalo Valley.  In early years, the Otavalo Valley was filled with farmers who raised crops in fertile lands where they lived. In the 14th century, the Inca expansion reached north into the Otavalo area. The Caraquis who inhabited the area resisted the invaders. For 17 long years, fierce fighting continued as the defiant Caraquis refused to be subjugated by the Incas. The Spanish arrived a few years after the Incas. They established a Hacienda system of workshops where Otavalenos were forced to work 15 hour days weaving fabrics. Today, this weaving tradition forms the basis of a lucrative industry that has allowed the Otavaleno indigenous peoples to join the world economy while retaining their traditional values and skills.  

We visited a workshop where dough figurines were being made and sold.  It reminded me of a similar craft operation long ago in Santa Rosa using developmentally disabled participants to fashion Christmas tree ornaments.  
Our guide, Diego, has been wanting to show us some key volcanos which surround the valley, and a key viewing point is a small national park visitor center overlooking the lake formed within a caldera.  It was a beautiful sight, and the clouds almost allowed us to see the top of the volcano.

Back in the town of Peguche, we watched a master weaver in her shop demonstrate her fine art.  On the walls were news stories from all over the world, where her family had provided Ecuadorian weaving demonstrations at exhibitions.  
In the same town, we were allowed into the home of one of Ecuador's finest musical families, Los Hermanos Pichambas.  Treated to the opportunity of watching a pan flute being made from scratch, it was followed by a brief concert by three members of the family using guitar, flute, and drums.  I was able to video both, and hope that I can produce two short YouTube videos when I return home.

The afternoon highlight, however, was our cooking lesson and dinner at Alpaca Wais, an Ecuadorian restaurant surrounded by an Alpaca farm, owned by Ivan Viscaino and his family.  Ivan's mom gave us an exquisite Quinoa soup cooking lesson, which followed an introduction to bowlfuls of local fruits.  Then, we sat down to a home-cooked Ecuadorian meal featuring all the ingredients and more.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Friday, Feb 15th, Hacienda Chorlavi, Ecuador

No comments: