The local indigenous people in Ecuador originate from the Inca. Those who come from Saraguro, a city in the province of Loja, can dependently link their lineage all the way back to the Inca. They’re way of life circles the way the Inca were. They use llama wool for many of their textiles such as scarves, sweaters, hats, gloves, beanies, etc. These people hardly use any type of machinery. Their craft is very long and strenuous but beautiful. I honestly have never witnessed a more hardworking group of people.
The woman on the cover picture is a classic indigenous woman from Saraguro. The hat she is wearing is worn only by those who are from Saraguro. If they were one braid it means they are what you call “pure blood” and two braids means they are mestizo. The jewelry they wear is handmade as well. It is mostly bead work but a few is made of metal in different designs.
We spent two days in Saraguro visiting different indigenous homes of very welcoming and proud people. They showed us how they separated the wool by hand and weaved it using this ….
A man showed how he using that same wool, compresses it several times, and irons it to eventually make the special Saraguro sombreros.
We also had a private concert played just for us! We danced and clapped along. It was very interesting and fun music.
We hiked yet again to a sacred cave that the indigenous people use for rituals that cleanse the body and spirit. We were not permitted to take pictures until after the ceremony. The ritual was very moving to say the least. The man leading the ceremony called the gods using a congshell. They had a burning in the middle with lots of flowers around and champagne of flowers. He spit the champagne of flowers on us all because it is suppose to cleanse us. He wished us good health, a good life and spirit. At the end of the ceremony we all gave each other hugs and drank chuquiragua. A few of us were taken back by this but I knew it was not meant in offense, it was simply a way of life in their culture. I was very proud and felt special that they shared this part of their culture to us all.